Andrew Cohen: Many bigoted leaders have championed minorities once in office

Perspective and looking at the record:

A year ago, the United States Senate was divided over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, tainted by allegations of sexual misconduct when Kavanaugh was in high school and college. The Republicans limited – and rushed – the FBI investigation into Kavanaugh. It never even interviewed some of his critical old classmates. But the Republicans called the whole affair a smear campaign and confirmed him.

Now there are more allegations. Leading Democrats say he should be removed from the court. If they regain control of both houses of Congress in next year’s election, they could try.

Before that, they should consider the dangers of holding a public figure accountable today for the thoughts or actions of a youthful yesterday. Senate Democrats in Indiana, Missouri, Florida and North Dakota who opposed Kavanaugh lost their seats last year. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who supported Kavanaugh, won.

The suspicion: Democrats in red states (which Donald Trump won in 2016) were punished for their votes on Kavanaugh, suggesting there’s a penalty for this kind of politics. Rather than celebrating their courage, skeptics suggest that voters either didn’t think that Kavanaugh was guilty – or that if he was, it was long ago and didn’t emerge in his career as a jurist.

This is the question raised by Justin Trudeau and blackface, which has generated much sanctimonious comment in the United States. Trudeau has his defenders, though. Conservative writer and columnist Andrew Sullivan, for example, says pillorying someone for their former self is absurd.

In Trudeau’s case, wearing blackface was cavalier, crude and ignorant. But he isn’t a racist. And even if he were in his deepest thoughts two decades ago, would it matter?

Judging public figures by their private behaviour is complicated. Can we really hold people to account for what they said or did before they were fully formed? And can we judge them by their views (or acts) in the face of their public record? In Trudeau’s case, wearing blackface was cavalier, crude and ignorant. But he isn’t a racist. And even if he were in his deepest thoughts two decades ago, would it matter?

In its composition and its policies, Trudeau’s government is diverse and progressive. His cabinet comes from both sexes, many faiths and colours. His immigration and refugee policies are relatively generous. For those who dislike Trudeau, his fondness for shoe polish will only reinforce their antipathy. But there is nothing racist about his government. Nothing. And that’s why the reaction of the élites may be harsher than that of the people.

All prominent people have misjudgments in their past. A young Pierre Trudeau flirted intellectually with fascism and the anti-Semitism that shaped the conversation in Quebec in the 1940s. Did it matter? Trudeau as an adult was defined by his commitment to personal freedom. Patriating the British North America Act and entrenching the Charter of Rights was the single greatest act of statesmanship in our history.

Lyndon Johnson was a racist. He blithely used “n—–” in private conversations, even as president. It was earthy and offensive to blacks in his circle. The same Johnson drove the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. No president since Abraham Lincoln was as important on race.

Harry Truman also used “n—–” privately but it didn’t stop him from integrating the military. Richard Nixon was an anti-Semite who saved the State of Israel when he sent it planeloads of arms during the Yom Kippur War.

For each, did racism, anti-Semitism or bigotry, matter? Not if you believe that their public deeds negated their private thoughts.

Kavanaugh is more complicated. He should remain accountable for what many conclude was sexual assault. One reason is that as a high court judge, he is one of America’s nine moral arbiters, appointed for life; many judges beyond suspicion could fill the job. Another is that he apologized for nothing and was intemperate in his hearing, unbecoming of a judge.

But had Kavanaugh simply disliked (not accosted) women, as those presidents disliked blacks or Jews, why should we care what’s in the human heart – and in the past – if that is where it stays?

Source: Cohen: Many bigoted leaders have championed minorities once in office

Change in Tone: Highlights of PM-Elect Trudeau’s Victory Speech

Excerpts from PM-Elect Trudeau, signalling a major change in tone with inclusive language and reaffirmation of multiculturalism, as well as a rebuke to the politics of division (as the election itself was as well):

Conservatives are not our enemies, they’re our neighbours. Leadership is about bringing people of all different perspectives together.

You want a Prime Minister who knows Canada is a country strong, not in spite of our differences, but because of them, a PM who never seeks to divide Canadians, but takes every single opportunity to bring us together. You want a Prime Minister who knows that if Canadians are to trust their government, their government needs to trust Canadians, a PM who understands that openness and transparency means better, smarter decisions. You want a Prime Minister that knows that a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples that respects rights and honours treaties must be the basis for how we work to close the gap and walk forward together.

Au cours des trois dernières années, j’ai passé beaucoup de temps à aller à votre rencontre et à vous écouter. Vous m’aviez dit que vous vouliez un gouvernement ouvert et transparent, un gouvernement qui fait confiance en ses citoyens, un gouvernement au service de tous les Canadiens et les Canadiennes. Ce soir, c’est l’engagement que je prends devant vous : je serai le Premier ministre de tous les Canadiens. Nous formerons un gouvernement intègre qui respectera les institutions et qui fera de la collaboration avec les provinces le principe premier de ses actions.

There are a thousand stories I could share with you about this remarkable campaign, but I want you to think about one in particular. Last week, I met a young mom in St. Catharines, Ontario. She practises the Muslim faith and was wearing a hijab. She made her way through the crowd and handed me her infant daughter, and as she leaned forward, she said something that I will never forget. She said she’s voting for us because she wants to make sure that her little girl has the right to make her own choices in life and that our government will protect those rights.

To her I say this: you and your fellow citizens have chosen a new government, a government that believes deeply in the diversity of our country. We know in our bones that Canada was built by people from all corners of the world who worship every faith, who belong to every culture, who speak every language.

We believe in our hearts that this country’s unique diversity is a blessing bestowed upon us by previous generations of Canadians, Canadians who stared down prejudice and fought discrimination in all its forms. We know that our enviable, inclusive society didn’t happen by accident and won’t continue without effort. I have always known this; Canadians know it too. If not, I might have spoken earlier this evening and given a very different speech.

Have faith in your fellow citizens, my friends. They are kind and generous. They are open-minded and optimistic. And they know in their heart of hearts that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.

Mes amis, nous avons battu la peur avec l’espoir. Nous avons battu le cynisme avec le travail acharné. Nous avons battu la politique négative avec une vision rassembleuse et positive.

My friends, we beat fear with hope. We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together. Most of all, we defeated the idea that Canadians should be satisfied with less, that good enough is good enough and that better just isn’t possible. Well, my friends, this is Canada, and in Canada better is always possible.

Full text can be found here: For the record: A full transcript of Justin Trudeau’s speech

Statement by Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau on the anniversary of multiculturalism

To note the language used (have not seen comparable statements by Conservatives and NDP – 44th anniversary after all is not a significant milestone save for the election!):

The Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the 44th anniversary of Canada’s official policy of multiculturalism:

 “Today marks the 44th anniversary of Canada’s adoption of an official policy of multiculturalism.

 “Since 1971, our policy of multiculturalism has proudly reflected Canada’s unique cultural diversity. Canadians are united by our shared values and steadfast commitment to freedom and equality. Multiculturalism reaffirms our belief that individual and cultural community contributions enhance and enrich our national fabric.

 “Canadians have proven that a nation can be strong not in spite of our differences but because of them, and we all have a responsibility to be custodians of this country’s character. Canada’s success is rooted in its unique approach to liberty through inclusive diversity. While we have built vital institutions like the Charter, sustaining this liberty requires continued political leadership.

 “On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, I join Canadians from coast to coast to coast in celebration of the anniversary of Canada’s official policy of multiculturalism.”

Source: » Statement by Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau on the anniversary of multiculturalism

Justin Trudeau, Steven Blaney and Godwin’s law of Nazi analogies – From the author of Godwin’s Law

For those accusing Justin Trudeau and Minister Blaney of inappropriate Nazi and Hitler references, an interview with Mike Godwin, the coiner of Godwin’s law that whoever first invokes an (inappropriate) reference has lost the argument, to set the record straight:

Let’s start with Mr. Trudeau. Did you think what he said was appropriate? 

Yes I actually do I think that it’s served Canada well to remain aware that the singling out of people on the basis of their ethnic or religious background is not something that Canadians have totally been a stranger to. That in the run up to World War Two certainly Jews in Canada had that experience …. I think that Canada of this century is a better place and I think what Mr. Trudeau is saying is in line with what I think majority of Canadian values are today.

You are aware that some people did criticize him for that comparison perhaps unconsciously thinking of Godwin’s Law. 

I am aware of it and I think that the thing that I would say in defence of Mr. Trudeau is that he is not saying that anyone who is afraid of people of different cultures or people of different ethnic groups is inherently going to act like a Nazi or be like Hitler. I think what he’s saying is look, let’s be aware of history, we should remember our mistakes and not repeat them.

Let’s look at minister Blaney who seemed to draw a line between certain kinds of speech and the Holocaust. Do you think that that comparison was acceptable. 

…  I want to say, in defence of Mr. Blaney, that in fact bad ideas can lead to bad real world outcomes. That is certainly true and nobody can dispute that. But what free and open societies like Canada’s and like those of other developed nations really try to do is not attack the ideas by suppressing them.

For all the Canadian pundits, politicians and interest groups who condemned both, worth reading and reflecting upon, and appreciating the nuance in Trudeau’s remarks in contrast to the less sophisticated remarks of Blaney.

Justin Trudeau, Steven Blaney and Godwin’s law of Nazi analogies – Home | Day 6 | CBC Radio.

Michael Den Tandt: Justin Trudeau’s manifesto stakes a claim for pluralism and liberty

By far, the best commentary on Trudeau’s Toronto speech on the politics of fear and the reaction:

What’s most novel about Trudeau’s thesis, at root, is the claim it lays to upholding individual freedom against the encroachments of the state. It’s intellectual ground the Harper Conservatives have been pleased to occupy, virtually without competition, since their Reform Party days in the early 1990s.

Most curious of all: Monday’s speech and the strategy underlying it have been in the works for months, according to Liberal party sources. But the hook was a series of recent Conservative missteps — ­from a Facebook post caterwauling about a non-existent imminent attack on the West Edmonton Mall, to Immigration Minister Chris Alexander’s conflation of the hijab (headscarf) and the niqab, to Conservative MP John Williamson’s facepalm-inducing recent musings about “whities” and “brown people” –­ that together convey the impression that, contrary to all its careful messaging of the past two decades, this Conservative party may not be friendly to minorities, after all.

Clearly, the PMO now perceives some peril here: Late Monday, staffers sent out an email reiterating past assertions by Jason Kenney and by the PM of warm support for Canada’s million-strong Muslim community.

The question is whether it will be enough. Intolerance of minorities is a 35-year-old chink in the Western conservative movement’s armour, which long held it back in Ontario. It’s odd indeed to see this dialectic re-emerge now, long past the time when most had thought it dead and gone.

Michael Den Tandt: Justin Trudeau’s manifesto stakes a claim for pluralism and liberty

Other interesting commentary by Aaron Wherry, notes the contradiction between the public position and the one argued in Court:

It would seem useful here to turn to the actual ruling of the Federal Court, in the case of Zunera Ishaq, that overturned the government’s attempt to ban the wearing of the niqab during the citizenship oath. What undid the government’s position was simple incoherence—the policy directive by the minister, Jason Kenney in his previous portfolio, conflicted with the regulations that govern the citizenship process. So while the directive demanded that the niqab be removed during the saying of the oath, the regulations instruct the citizenship judge to allow “the greatest possible freedom in the religious solemnization or solemn affirmation thereof.” The regulations also do not require visual confirmation that an oath has been sworn—only that the applicant sign their name to a certificate bearing the oath. In the case of a discrepancy between the minister’s directive and the regulations, the judge ruled that the regulations took precedence.

And then there is paragraph 30 of the ruling: ”The Respondent argues that this application is premature. In its view, the Policy is not mandatory and citizenship judges are free not to apply it.”

Unless the judge has misunderstood the arguments, this seems a remarkable concession by the government. One imagines the government’s lawyers might’ve thought they had a novel argument for the case’s dismissal—that the ban on the niqab was not mandatory and therefore “there is no way to know what would have happened had the Applicant attended the ceremony and refused to uncover her face.” But, as the judge noted, this clashed with both the public statements of the minister and private statements of government officials.

On those grounds, the government’s claim of an option was dismissed by Justice Boswell. But that doesn’t quite absolve the government of the contradiction. In the House today, the Prime Minister said, “We do not allow people to cover their faces during citizenship ceremonies.” But in the court the Prime Minister’s government would seem to have argued that we do allow for people to cover their faces, so long as the presiding citizenship judge agrees. So which is it? And if it’s the former, why were the government’s lawyers arguing the latter?

(I’ve asked Immigration Minister Chris Alexander’s office for an explanation on this point and will post what I receive.)

Justin Trudeau and the niqab What Justin Trudeau says and what the Federal Court said

Terry Milewski of the CBC provides the play-by-play of  the political jousting back and forth over Trudeau’s remarks:

Niqab controversy: Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau wade into culture war over the veil

Jewish group CIJA says Trudeau made ‘unfortunate’ comparison in speech

CIJA’s defence of the Government’s rather mixed messaging on Canadian Muslims rather than acknowledging some of the uncomfortable if imperfect parallels made in Trudeau’s speech:

In a written statement, Fogel said that Trudeau was raising a concern about a “growing atmosphere of Islamaphobia in Canada and around the world, the unfair result of violent, extreme acts of terrorism committed by a minority within the Muslim community.

“We share the belief that as Canadians, we must be vigilant and not allow prejudice and racism to take root in our society. It represents an important message, one all Canadians should heed.”

However, Fogel writes that Trudeau made an “unfortunate” comparison to the “none is too many” policy that has distracted from his “important message.”

“We view this comparison as inaccurate and inappropriate, and we will communicate that sentiment to Mr. Trudeau’s office.

“Canada’s decision to restrict Jewish immigration prior to the Holocaust was the product of an era in which Jews faced extensive social and institutional discrimination in Canada,” writes Fogel.

“Jewish Canadians were subject to quotas restricting admission to university programs, as well as outright bans from numerous social clubs and corporations. Signs in public parks went so far as to declare: ‘No dogs or Jews allowed.’”

By comparison, Fogel said that discrimination today is “rightly countered – rather than fostered – by the vast majority of Canadians.”

“This includes discrimination experienced by Muslims who, like all minority groups, unfortunately face a degree of prejudice from some elements of Canadian society. When it comes to racism and bigotry in Canada, there is little to compare between 1939 and 2015.”

Fogel writes that the federal government has consistently distinguished between “marginal, extreme, terrorist elements of the Muslim community and the broader Muslim community.”

Jewish group says Trudeau made ‘unfortunate’ comparison in speech.

Conservative senator: Tories getting bad rap with Muslims, but need to work harder

Good to see some signs of internal debate on the wedge politics strategy:

The messages being sent by the federal government and the Conservative party that form it may be having a negative impact on the country’s Muslim community, a senior Conservative senator acknowledged Monday.

While Sen. Marjory LeBreton said she feels the government is “getting a bad rap” on the issue thanks in part to the media, she told a luncheon crowd she regrets the fact some Muslims are saying they feel unwelcome in Canada.

In recent months, the prime minister has explicitly linked mosques to terrorism and the party has circulated fundraising pitches uses menacing images of Muslim men.

There has also been ongoing controversy over the government’s decision to ban full-face coverings during citizenship ceremonies, as well as a Quebec judge who recently told a Muslim woman she’d have to remove her head covering in order to testify.

Many Muslims have the sense they don’t belong, patent agent Sheema Khan told LeBreton during a luncheon in Ottawa celebrating the political achievements of women.

Khan said her daughters no longer aspire to such achievements, thanks to the government’s approach to Muslims.

“As Muslim Canadians, we are part of this society but we feel that the messaging that is coming out is making us feel a little bit excluded, somewhat under suspicion,” Khan said during a question-and-answer session at the event.

“I have two daughters; I want them to believe that they can be prime minister one day, but they don’t feel they can. They feel they have no voice in politics because they see a political framework where their religion is suspect, where their presence is not perhaps fully welcomed.”

LeBreton said she has many Muslim friends and knows they are just as concerned about radicalization within their communities as non-Muslims, echoing comments made by Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney over the weekend about how integral Muslims have been in working with security officials to thwart potential attacks.

“They have every right to be completely respected like all other Canadians,” LeBreton said of the community — and the fact they feel otherwise is unfortunate.

“I very much regret that that is a view and we’ve got to work very hard to dispel that because it happens not to be true,” she said.

Conservative senator: Tories getting bad rap with Muslims, but need to work harder –

Liberal leader Trudeau correctly recognizes the politics of fear:

“These are troubling times,” Trudeau told a gathering organized by the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. “Across Canada, and especially in my home province, Canadians are being encouraged by their government to be fearful of one another.

“Fear is a dangerous thing. Once it is sanctioned by the state, there is no telling where it might lead. It is always a short path to walk from being suspicious of our fellow citizens to taking actions to restrict their liberty.”

Trudeau compared the Conservative government’s approach to Muslims today to Canada’s restrictive immigration policies for Jews during the rise of Hitler’s Nazis.

“We should all shudder to hear the same rhetoric that led to a ‘none is too many’ immigration policy toward Jews in the ’30s and ’40s being used to raise fears against Muslims today.”

Trudeau also castigated the prime minister for his comments last month in the wake of a court ruling that struck down the government’s policy that forbid Muslim women to wear the niqab, a religious garment, over the face during citizenship ceremonies.

At the time, Harper said his government would appeal the ruling because wearing a niqab is “offensive” and it’s “not how we do things here.”

In subsequent days, the Conservative party reinforced that message to its supporters and financial donors, as the Tories gear up for an election campaign.

“We all know what is going on here,” Trudeau said of Harper and the Tories.

“It is nothing less than an attempt to play on people’s fears and foster prejudice, directly toward the Muslim faith.”

Trudeau said people can dislike the niqab and refer to it as a symbol of oppression.

“This is a free country. Those are your rights. But those who would use the state’s power to restrict women’s religious freedom and freedom of expression indulge the very same repressive impulse that they profess to condemn.

“It is a cruel joke to claim you are liberating people from oppression by dictating in law what they can and cannot choose to wear.”

Trudeau said Canada is a land of a million Muslims who should be allowed to thrive in a free and open secular democracy.

“Keeping these freedoms safe from those who would undermine them through violence is a vital national responsibility.

“What we cannot ever do is blur the line between a real security threat and simple prejudice, as this government has done. I believe they have done it deliberately, and I believe what they have done is deeply wrong.”

  Justin Trudeau says Stephen Harper sowing fear and prejudice against Muslims  

Jonathan Kay: Sun News’ cynical attacks on Justin Trudeau have crossed the line into anti-Muslim hysteria

Kay nails it:

Moreover: If indeed it is true that al-Sunnah al-Nabawiah mosque remains a religious home for unassimilated Muslim immigrants with radical, un-Canadian views, shouldn’t that be all the more reason for Canadian politicians to let those congregants know that if they want to live and flourish in this country, they need to adapt to our values?

Justin Trudeau’s riding of Papineau is one of the poorest and most diverse in Canada. It is full of immigrants who are wrestling with the process of integrating into Canadian life. What sort of MP would we want for such a riding — one who brags to Sun News viewers about how he wouldn’t set foot within 50 feet of this or that house of prayer, lest he be tainted by association with the teeming Muslim hordes who pray therein … or someone who actually seeks to engage with these people and draw them into the political mainstream?

Jonathan Kay: Sun News’ cynical attacks on Justin Trudeau have crossed the line into anti-Muslim hysteria

Andrew Lawton, also in the National Post, piles on this critique:


When the PMO arranged my interview with James, I was looking forward to hearing what the government had done or was doing to address the radicalization alleged at the Al Sunnah Al Nabawiah mosque. Shockingly, what I presumed was the most relevant question to the discussion, appeared to dumbfound James, who skirted it no fewer than three times, offering up only scripted condemnations of Justin Trudeau.

“I think it was completely outrageous. I think it’s completely unacceptable that the leader of the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau, would associate with a group that allegedly radicalizes Canadians to join al-Qaeda and has even been listed by the Pentagon as a location known to them,” James told me during the live interview.

I asked, “Why is this a politics question and not a question of Canadian public safety and intelligence?”

I was expecting anything but the answer she gave.

“I thank you for that question, but as you know, I probably —I cannot comment on operational matters of national security, Andrew,” she said. “But I think the real question is here — Justin Trudeau knew about this. He knew about this and instead he went into this mosque, did a whole lot of handshaking and trying to win votes. He will stoop at nothing to try to win over terrorist organizations. I can’t believe this.”

Embarrassing. But even intelligent MPs sound stupid when they have to stick to stupid talking points (e.g., Chris Alexander defending the government’s handling of the F-35, among others).

Not sure this helps them.

Andrew Lawton: If Trudeau is schmoozing with terrorists, why aren’t we arresting any?

In Justin Trudeau’s world, Christians need not apply

An odd post by Rex Murphy on religion and politics, prompted by Justin Trudeau’s decision that Liberal party candidates and MPs must toe the party line on abortion:

What kind of politics are they which require an MP to renounce his deepest moral commitments; indeed, to go beyond renunciation and declare himself positively in favour of ideas and actions that his faith condemns, his Church forbids, and his conscience cannot abide?

Religion, under these conditions, cannot survive political engagement. An understanding of politics based on an exclusion of thoughtful and engaged religious people — on the rejection of ideas and understandings offered by the great religious teachers and the massive legacy of thought our churches have to offer — is radically incomplete.

As things now are, a truly religious person must actually stay out of politics — must forgo an active role in democratic government — because in our brazen and new age, he or she will be faced with irreconcilable moral choices. If elected, he or she will be required to betray their faith and themselves, and on those very issues that matter most: issues of life, family, autonomy and the dignity of persons.

Whatever one’s views on abortion, the broader issue, as Rex points out, is the relationship between religion and politics. But his view breaks down when we look at other religions, where I suspect he would be less absolutist.

Would Rex support a party allowing an Islamist candidate opposed to equality for women? Advocating for sharia?

What about traditional Sikh or Jewish candidates who disagree with equality for LGBT persons?

What is different about Catholic orthodoxy compared to other orthodoxies that makes it more unchallengeable?

In the public arena, one has to temper one’s personal religious beliefs with the reality of living in a diverse, multicultural and pluralistic society. Most leaders get this and it is no accident that PM Harper has kept his social conservatives in line on abortion and other issues.

This is not to diminish the moral, ethical and faith dilemmas that abortion and other social issues pose for politicians, but it’s part of the “job description.” And there are plenty of ways to live your faith on a wide variety of other economic and social policy issues.

Rex Murphy: In Justin Trudeau’s world, Christians need not apply




Le ministre Kenney appuie le projet de charte de Couillard | Charte de la laïcité

Federal reactions to Premier-elect Couillard’s proposed Chartre de laicité. Minister Kenney focussing on the proposed ban on receiving government services for women wearing the niqab/burqa, other federal leaders expressing general confidence that a reasonable approach will be taken without commenting on the specifics:

«J’ai toujours dit que ce serait inadmissible pour un fonctionnaire fédéral de traiter un client, un citoyen à visage couvert», a déclaré le ministre fédéral du Multiculturalisme.

M. Kenney dit n’avoir jamais entendu parler d’un tel cas au fédéral, mais qu’on lui avait rapporté que des personnes avaient prêté serment de citoyenneté canadienne le visage caché. Il affirme avoir ensuite publié une règle pour interdire cette pratique.

Le ministre de Stephen Harper avait dans le passé été cinglant envers le projet de charte des valeurs québécoises du gouvernement péquiste. Il avait même dit que le fédéral irait devant les tribunaux pour protéger les droits des minorités religieuses si la charte ne respectait pas les droits et libertés des citoyens.

Quant à savoir pourquoi l’interdiction du voile le choquait et non pas celle d’interdire le visage couvert, il a expliqué que l’usage pour les femmes musulmanes de cacher leur visage n’est pas une pratique religieuse, mais bien une «coutume culturelle».

Minister Kenney’s position evolved over time; initially, he appeared to give more weight to religious freedom when the niqab issue was first raised in the 2007-08 Quebec debates on reasonable accommodation (I cover this in chapter 5 of my book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism).

Le ministre Kenney appuie le projet de charte de Couillard | Stéphanie Marin | Charte de la laïcité.

Within the PQ, the start of some reflection regarding the Charter, and it will be interesting to see how they position themselves with respect to the upcoming Liberal version, and whether they use that to turn the page on what was a cynical and divisive election strategy:

Le problème qu’a posé la Charte des valeurs en campagne électorale est abordé de front dans un texte rendu public hier par Jean-François Lisée sur son blogue. Hier, le ministre sortant refusait de préciser sa pensée en entrevue; le texte suffit, a-t-il expliqué. Dans son texte, Lisée relève que les stratèges péquistes auraient pu centrer davantage la campagne sur les questions identitaires comme la Charte et la langue. Le projet de charte aurait été mieux accueilli avec un bouquet de mesures favorables à l’immigration. Surtout, la proposition aurait nécessité «un ensemble cohérent et plus attractif».

Accessoirement, comme l’ex-ministre Joseph Facal, Lisée estime aussi qu’il aurait fallu encadrer étroitement la sortie de Janette Bertrand en fin de campagne. Mme Marois, qui a louvoyé et dit que des femmes congédiées pour leur voile obtiendraient de l’aide du gouvernement pour se recaser dans le secteur privé, n’a pas aidé. «Une meilleure gestion, en amont, de la question des congédiements n’aurait certes pas nui non plus», observe Lisée.

Dans l’analyse la plus fine jusqu’ici des causes de la déroute péquiste de lundi, Lisée explique que les stratèges de la campagne péquiste, dont il ne faisait pas partie, prend-il soin de préciser, étaient convaincus que l’entrée en scène de Pierre Karl Péladeau allait attirer des sympathisants caquistes au PQ. Une «présomption raisonnable», observe Lisée.

Les langues se délient au PQ