Young, Gay, Ex-Cokehead Becomes Party Leader

A 39-year-old, who is openly gay, telegenic and an elite university graduate, has become leader of the Parti Québécois, the main Quebec sovereigntist party in Canada.

His previous cocaine use caused a scandal, leading to his resignation as a cabinet minister. But when his rivals tried to use it against him as he challenged for the leadership of the party, it backfired and made him popular with younger voters. He is the first openly gay leader of a North American major political party and is leading a revival of the PQ’s fortunes. He went to Harvard, not Oxford and is no family man, but there is a lesson there somewhere….

Andre Boisclair rolled over his rivals last week, his sexuality never becoming an issue in the leadership campaign. Instead his past cocaine use dominated the race even though Boisclair refused to discuss how often he did the drug when he was a cabinet minister or who supplied it to him.

Shortly before his cocaine use became front-page news, he was confronted over his wild lifestyle while in government. Muttering a few now-familiar lines about youthful indiscretions, Boisclair blushed and just kept quiet. It worked.




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