The PQ and Liberals agree on one thing: It's 'For Us to Choose'

It's not quite as catchy as "Ross for Boss," or "I Like Ike," but the slogan pitched by the PQ and lobbed back by the Liberals will have to do.
"À Nous De Choisir" has become as much Charest's slogan, as it is Marois'. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

It's not quite as catchy as "Ross for Boss," or "I Like Ike," but it'll have to do.  

"À Nous De Choisir" is the campaign slogan for the Parti Québécois, and translated it means "For Us To Choose".  


Now to be fair, it's not a bad slogan. Or a bad song.

There have certainly been worse.  

And as far as the line itself goes: it's short, simple, inoffensive, inclusive, and intuitive.

But is it all those things, to a fault?  

Turning the tables

Jean Charest has been relentless when it comes to turning his opponents' words on them.  

He'll listen to what they have to say, zero in on one or two statements he can exploit, and ride that horse clear outta town.  

So perhaps it should come as no surprise that "À Nous De Choisir" has become as much Charest's slogan, as it is Marois'.  

Watch the video link below for two examples from the same stump speech (en français):  


At nearly every campaign appearance, he's used those four words against Marois.  

He positively glows each time he says them.

You can see him savouring every second, stretching it out, telling the crowd how, finally – FINALLY! –he and Marois agree about something, 100 per cent.  

"For us to choose? Why yes! Absolutely, it is for us to choose! And Quebecers will choose Liberal!"

Twisting the knife

Only in very exceptional circumstances are elections made or broken on slogans.  

For the most part, they're simply a catchy little peg on which a leader can hang their argument, or end their speech.

It's claptrap – something symbolic that people can rally around without thinking too much about it.  

But when Charest uses Marois' slogan against her, he twists the knife just a little bit.

It's taking what her team has worked diligently on, and trying to make her feel foolish for having agreed to it.  

Does it affect how voters vote? Probably not.  

Does it affect Marois' state of mind, after an 18-hour day? Maybe.  

The ultimate irony

The funny thing about this whole matter is that Charest's slogan is just as generic.  

"Pour Le Québec" might as well be the tagline for Bombardier, or Rona, or hey – the CBC or Radio-Canada.   

After all, it doesn't exactly suggest anything we don't all already, implicitly, agree on.  

But herein lies the fun and games; it would take a truly skillful act of political posturing for Pauline Marois to appropriate that, without sounding petty.  

That boat has sailed. It would be like thinking of that great comeback – only, two days after the fact.

It's happened to the best of us, and it just happened to Marois.

Follow Andrew Chang on Twitter @AndrewChangCBC