The Péquistes are in panic mode.

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois seems to be losing her overconfident grip on things political in her province. She picked the timing. She picked the star candidate. She set the agenda. She screwed up.

It started with Marois’ Charter of Values. That was the most bigoted, ill-conceived, corruption of secular values, we had seen for a long time. And yet it was planned for failure. Marois was using the ingrained bigotry of Quebec’s Roman Catholic heritage to create a spurious fight to take to Canada’s Supreme Court. Knowing that she would lose there was to be her conditions to favour a referendum on sovereignty.

But you can hardly run an election in a hijab. Marois needed more. The weakness in her campaign was that Quebec voters are worried about jobs. She needed some way of showing that she had people on side that can create jobs. It was for this purpose that she introduced her star candidate Pierre Karl Péladeau. That was mistake number two.

Since he had no economic credentials anyway, Péladeau pumping his fist in the air and calling for sovereignty became the poster-boy picture of the campaign. There was a rival picture of her pushing him out of the way when she did not want him giving the wrong answer to the news media. It makes you wonder if Marois has ever considered doing better preplanning.

And then there was the first leaders’ debate. She would not allow one in English but instead is having two in French. If the first one is typical, she should not have agreed to any. Her opponents were hardly reluctant to gang up on her in that first debate. They had her on the ropes in no time. They were obviously better prepared. What she will do better in the next debate is just speculation.

With the last two weeks of the campaign to go, the péquistes have gone into the panic mode. They are adopting the standard mode of politicians everywhere: when in doubt, run and shout. Their funniest attempt at circling the wagons was the claim that McGill students from outside Quebec were registering to vote and were attempting to steal the election from the pur laine Quebecers.

It must have come as a surprise to them that Quebec election law allows Canadians residing in Quebec to vote in provincial elections. In a few ridings in Montreal, that could add a few hundred or so voters to the voters’ lists. It was nice of the separatists to remind the students to register but their numbers are hardly about to win the election for any particular political party.

What we should all care about is that bigotry and divisiveness does not win.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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