Jacques Duchesneau's career in provincial politics was less than 24 hours old, and already he was taking his political lumps Monday.Did Legault turn into Pauline Marois all of the sudden? The man hasn't even gone through an election yet and already he's had to clarify that he's the boss, not others.
The corruption whistleblower, hired as a star recruit by the Coalition for Quebec's Future, had to be publicly contradicted by his party leader.
Duchesneau told a Montreal radio station that he would be responsible for naming ministers in different departments that would be involved in the fight against corruption.
He said Legault had offered him a future role as minister of public security — but that he refused. He said he's not interested in handling forest fires and floods and other things that might pop up under that portfolio.
He said his agreed-upon future role would see him serve as minister responsible for fighting corruption; he would oversee the file in various government departments, even picking the ministers who run those departments.
"If I'm entering politics it's to attack corruption — nothing else," he told the radio station 98.5 FM.
"I want to be the conductor for all the ministers that deal with it."
The comments forced party leader Francois Legault to issue a quick clarification. He told reporters that he, as premier, would choose his ministers.
"What I said to Mr. Duchesneau is that I would consult with him on (appointments to) four ministries," Legault said. "It's the prerogative of the premier to choose his ministers…
"There will be only one boss."
I mean, really, given the group that will likely make up any CAQ caucus, be it in government or opposition, Legault's probably going to need to say this more often: Duschesneau, former ADQ leader Gerard Deltell, former ADQ leadership contender Éric Caire, and those three former péquistes who rebelled against Marois in the first place.
Frankly, you can't blame Duschesneau anyways. Legault said that he would consult with the anti-corruption crusader on appointments to these four ministries, and that frankly can be construed as "can I get your blessing on these folks?" I would believe it.
It also speaks volumes about Legault's leadership, the fact that he said that to Duschesneau, that he didn't say to Duschesneau "don't mention this," or if he did, the fact that he actually trusted the guy who is a bit of a camera hog. Then to backtrack in such a sad way - "There will only be one boss!" - as to hand Charest and Marois a picture-perfect quote to paint his leadership with, the very fact he had to say that, is not a good sign.
I may regret this prediction, but I have a feeling François Legault won't be a noteworthy name following this election, much in the same way that Mario Dumont disappeared after his failure in 2008. He just isn't appealing.