Nasty personal dispute over candidate's cancer has ADQ in damage control

MONTREAL - Leadership races often turn ugly, but the race to become the next leader of the Action democratique du Quebec has set a surprising benchmark.

MONTREAL - Leadership races often turn ugly, but the race to become the next leader of the Action democratique du Quebec has set a surprising benchmark.

A candidate's cancer has become fodder for a political attack by an opponent.

The provincial party moved swiftly today to quell the intensely personal dispute between presumed front-runner Gilles Taillon and his main rival.

Taillon, the right-hand man of former leader Mario Dumont, will stay in the race as he undergoes treatment for prostate cancer this fall.

That has prompted rival Eric Caire to wonder aloud whether a party already in intensive care should choose a sick man as leader.

The ADQ has seen its prospects evaporate after falling from the official Opposition to a rump in barely a year.

Caire is also planning to seek an opinion from the party's election committee to see if Taillon should be allowed in the race if he misses some campaign activities while undergoing radiation treatment.

The party is seeking to calm down the dispute, saying only that Taillon is still being invited to an upcoming leadership debate.

Caire has since put out a statement saluting Taillon and pointing out he had merely been stating he would have withdrawn under similar circumstances.

A spokesman for Taillon says the ADQ candidate won't be doing any interviews for a few days in order to allow things to calm down.

The spat is not the first personal attack between the two.

Earlier this week, Taillon called for Caire to withdraw from the race because his CV mentioned a non-existent bachelor's degree.

 
 
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