Denis Coderre says he's stepping down as Québec lieutenant because Michael Ignatieff preferred to listen to his Toronto advisers in reversing a decision to nix the candidacy of Martin Cauchon in Outremont.
The problem with this analysis is that we know that a very prominent Quebecker, Jean Chrétien, intervened on behalf of Mr. Cauchon. And, as L. Ian Macdonald reminded us on Saturday, we also know that, like Mr. Chrétien, Mr. Cauchon has deep links to the Desmarais family from his time working as a butler at the family estate. Also not to be overlooked the unusual public intervention last week of previously-loyal Bob Rae - another man with deep links to the Desmarais family through his brother John - in favour of Mr. Cauchon's candidacy.
All of which is to say that a deep fissure has re-appeared within the Liberal Party. And that Michael Ignatieff - already smarting from unfavourable polls and the big loser in Mr. Coderre's decision - had better watch his back.
UPDATE In the wake of Denis Coderre's announcement, several officials of the Liberal Party's Quebec wing have also resigned. They include the Party's chief Québec organizer, Pierre Lajeunesse, the president of the candidate approval committee, Éric Simard, fund-raiser Jean Rizzuto and a cousin of Coderre, Jean-François Coderre.
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