Charest offers welcome to ADQ defectors
With the Action Democratique du Quebec still reeling after the departure of defeated leadership candidate Eric Caire and former house Marc Picard from its ranks, Jean Charest has evidently detected the opportunity to lay the ADQ to rest for good.
He's offered Picard and Caire -- as well as any other ADQ MNAs -- the opportunity to join the Liberal Party in the National Assembly.
"Politics is the art of inclusion," Charest announced. "For us the door has always been open, from all time. It is an open party and we will not change, but we will respect the choice of each MNA."
However, Charest has made no move to formally recruit Caire, Picard, or any other member of the ADQ.
"I can tell you from experience that if a member decides to make a change in his situation, whether to become an independent or to go elsewhere, if has to come from him," Charest added. "We are putting no pressure on the ADQ MNAs and yes we have known one another for a long time and that doesn’t prevent us from encouraging one another."
Not that Charest hasn't been talking to any of them.
"In fact I spoke to Mr Caire after his defeat," he said. "I also spoke to [Christian] Lévesque to congratulate him."
But one has to wonder whether or not all the members of the ADQ would be welcome to join Charest's caucus. After all, Charest has been threatening former ADQ interim leader Sylvie Roy with a libel suit for claiming that three of his cabinet ministers had met with a controversial construction magnate aboard the man's private yaught.
Then again, for the opportunity to put his conservative opposition to rest permanently, Charest may be willing to swallow his pride, and see if Roy is willing to do the same.
Rarely before has a long-established political party collapsed so quickly after managing to become the Official Opposition. But the ADQ has managed to accomplish this task.
The ADQ has evidently reached the end of its story, and Jean Charest is perfectly content to write its eulogy.