Francois Legault will most likely win Monday’s elections, but he lost the campaign. From the start he seemed nervous, uninspired. However, rarely has an executive launched a campaign in such good shape.
François Legault was extremely clumsy on the issue of immigration, which is vital to the nation of Quebec. A question that seems to obsess him, but which, paradoxically, he does not master. Whether through strategy or ignorance, he risks sullying the nationalism of which he nevertheless claims to be the proud bearer. It wasn’t that of Camille Laurin, Gérald Godin and René Lévesque and others, for whom nationalism meant creating a welcoming melting pot in Quebec, in French.
We are hearing these days that despite everything, Dominique Anglade managed to run a “good campaign”. Let’s admit that despite the daily tiles, the Liberal leader remained unswervingly smiling and energetic. Totally normal state of denial for a political leader. Did she have other options if she wanted to save the furniture and avoid demoralizing her team?
Still, smiles, TikTok moments are cosmetic. To qualify as “good,” a campaign must not have a $16 billion failure in a financial framework; a completely wrong assessment of the electricity requirements for an ecological showcase project; an almost total about-face on a subject as important as the French language. The PLQ is looking for itself. Only a real transition into purgatory would allow it to find itself.
The 2018 campaign took place at the daisy level. For example, the PLQ’s only social project was to “make life easier for Quebecers”. In 2022, QS and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois came up with bold proposals that (whether we agreed or not) sparked debate: taxing the richest, buying houses by the state; climate plan. Even if the Orange Party has become more professional, some of its proposals are still hanging. For this reason, the term “orange tax” has stuck. In order to experience the “orange peak” that her entry into official opposition status would represent, she probably would have needed to refocus even more.
Cinderella in slow motion
The PQ and Paul St-Pierre Plamondon had self-proclaimed “Team Cinderella”. We will say that they could only go upstairs. But PSPP pleasantly surprised, especially in the two debates. It was the best way for him to make himself known. His program also surprised, especially in the environment. To help fate, Qsiste Rancourt’s withdrawal could allow for the election of the chairman, which seemed utterly impossible a week ago. By the end of the campaign, however, the PQ is a bit of a sprinkler with their leaflet thief in Masson and their borderline candidates. That can put a strain on his final sprint.
Started from nothing
Éric Duhaime has already won a lot: he managed to integrate himself into the Quebec party system. He owes much, if not everything, to Claire Samson. In addition, he ran an amazing campaign for a party that started from scratch. Ubiquitous Ad; several proposals that allowed the formation to stand out radically from the rest. Granted, they’re often cartoonish, like those on mountain bike speeds. And how certain positions of some of his candidates.