Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Losing conditions

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Pauline Marois and her separatist party are quickly writing the manual on how to squander the advantage of incumbency by misreading a public too sharp to fall for the ploys of a desperate party. This is good news for Canada.

The Parti Québécois, in a poll conducted by Leger over the weekend, fell to 33 per cent of support as the Liberals rose to 40 per cent. The party fell noticeably after the PQ alleged university students from Ontario had fraudulently registered in some ridings to thwart Ms. Marois' party. The claims were discredited by elections officials.

The PQ's slide confirms Quebecers simply are not on the same page as the PQ, whose popularity began to slide early when talk turned to separation -- star candidate Pierre Karl Péladeau dubbed his entry as a vote for turning Quebec into a country. The latest poll shows the PQ has maintained its hold in strongly separatist regions, but urban centres are moving further away from them.

The PQ's defeat would spare Canada the spectre of the nationalist agenda of a party whose raison d'être is to prepare the "winning conditions" for separation.

Quebecers appear to be tiring of the vaulting nationalist ambitions, and little wonder. After the April 7 election, they will face the more immediate challenge of repairing the social damage done by Ms. Marois' proposed "charter of values," which would marginalize minorities by banning religious garb and symbols in provincial offices. That work can only begin with the PQ's defeat.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 26, 2014 A6

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