A recent trip to Montreal and the home of the Canadiens at the Bell Centre was proof to me that the rally for “separatism” by ex-PQ premier Pauline Marois was a miscalculation.

In today’s news editorial, Washington Times columnist and former speechwriter for Stephen Harper – Michael Taube – wrote that the Monday election in Quebec “was supposed to have been the defining political moment for ex-PQ premier Pauline Marois.  She was riding high in the polls and had an air of confidence.

Her major policy plank, the controversial Quebec Charter of Values – a direct attack on religious freedom and symbols – had won over may Quebecers.  A majority government seemed to be in the cards.

Then something unexpected happened.

Marois reached into her bag of tricks, and inexplicably pulled out the dreaded “s” word: Separatism.  She clearly wanted it to be a campaign issue, and grinned like the Cheshire Cat when her star candidate, former Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Pleladeau, said he wanted “Quebec to become a country.”

At the Montreal hockey game – the crowd cheered as decorated Sochi Olympic Quebec athletes were introduced at centre ice.  The crowd sang the Canadian anthem a cappella in French and in English with energy and aplomb – a huge indicator to me about how Quebecers feel about Canada.  Talking with store owners in Montreal – they want to move forward – to make the Quebec economy and prosperity a main objective.

At the home of hockey in Montreal, one can get a pulse of real Quebec sentiment.

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