Gazette journalists share their memories of 2012.
MONTREAL — In a strange twist, the most tips I’ve received from readers this year was over a story that turned out to be completely false.
Verifying rumours is an integral part of a reporter’s job and just before the Sept. 4 provincial election there were no shortage of calls and emails from readers insisting that Pauline Marois and her husband had purchased a condo downtown at the Ritz-Carlton Residences. And I mean really insisting, even though not one of the readers I spoke with claimed to have heard this fact directly from our premier, or her husband Claude Blanchet, or even from the supposed source of the wild rumour.
My guilty confession: like many of these readers, I personally hoped the rumours were true. We already knew the Parti Québécois leader and her husband enjoy living well, given the state of La Closerie, their former 12,000-square-foot mansion on Île-Bizard.
While I normally don’t think a politician’s private home is necessarily newsworthy, the idea of a sovereignist premier living in a posh, mostly English-speaking building, in a neighbourhood that’s home to several former federalist politicians, would have been quite startling. And the description of the renovated hotel and residences with $1,000 toilets and rubber ducks with the Ritz logo was contrasted fiercely with images of Marois banging on pots and pans during a “casserole” protest.
Sadly, the facts did get in the way of what would have been a very good story. While her spokesperson refused to confirm it to me during the campaign, Marois and Blanchard were looking — and, according to La Presse, are still trying — to buy at the posh St. Regis in Old Montreal.
Apparently the deal for her former home, La Closerie, has yet to close.
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois's husband was misidentified in an earlier version of this story that also appeared in the Saturday Gazette. Marois is married to Claude Blanchet. The Gazette regrets the error.
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