Gilles Taillon wins lacklustre leadership campaign
When Mario Dumont resigned the leadership of the Action Democratique du Quebec, the party was left with the dual tasks of rebuilding from its disastrous defeat in the 2008 provincial election and choosing his replacement.
Now that the ADQ has chosen Gilles Taillon to lead the party, it must focus on the most important task to emerge out of the leadership campaign: proving it deserves to survive.
The ADQ leadership campaign turned out to be an utter disservice to the party. The disqualification of a candidate, another candidate's alleged inflated credentials, and the illness of Taillon -- who will soon be undergoing cancer treatment -- became issues in the campaign.
But, sadly, ideas weren't a central preoccupation of the campaign.
The ADQ's leadership campaign focused almost exclusively on personal attacks and acrimony, and painted a picture of a party with a disease at its very core -- of an exhausted organization with no sense of purpose, or even of its own futures outside the personal aspirations of Taillon and his principle rival, Eric Caire.
In order to get on with the task of simply surviving, the party will need to put the deeply personal nature of the leadership campaign behind them.
Taillon seems to understand this.
"I accept this victory with humility," Taillon announced. "Especially since I won with such a slim majority. We all have to work together for the ADQ to triumph in 2012, 2013."
Caire seems to share that understanding.
"I conceded victory, whether its over two votes or 150," he said. "I believe in democracy."
"Our team needs to rally around our leader," Caire added. "The decision was made by our members."
Taillon's and Caire's ability to work together in rebuilding the ADQ will prove the answer to the question of whether or not anyone other than Mario Dumont can lead the ADQ.
Gilles Taillon and Eric Caire will have to work together, without acrimony, to prove that the ADQ deserves to survive.