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Quebec Minister Responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship Bernard Drainville ponders a reporter's question after presenting the Charter of Quebec Values Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Politicians typically consider it their duty to conduct a clear-eyed analysis of the causes of defeat and learn from them. Failure to do so isn't ordinarily a cause for celebration, yet here we are.

The Parti Québécois is involved in a lengthy leadership campaign and one of the candidates, former cabinet minister Bernard Drainville, this week issued a pledge: In early 2015 he will put forward version 2.0 of his xenophobic Charter of Quebec Values. Oh happy day.

The new document, he said Monday, will be more "supple" and "consensus-based" than the original. It's a low bar.

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Quite how Mr. Drainville concluded re-tooling a self-inflicted political disaster is a good idea remains a mystery; it also illustrates the curious, vaguely self-destructive internal dynamics of the PQ.

The Charter was always a solution in urgent need of a problem, which doesn't mean the grassroots of Quebec's declining sovereigntist standard-bearer isn't keen on it.

Mr. Drainville is trying to elbow his way into the picture alongside front-runner Pierre Karl Péladeau, and it always helps to reinforce one's bona fides on "la question identitaire." It also creates distance with rival Jean-François Lisée, a Charter advocate until the PQ was unceremoniously booted from office earlier this year. He has since reversed course.

At this point, Mr. Péladeau is the clear front-runner with Mr. Drainville and the left-leaning Mr. Lisée the likeliest compromise candidates (this equation is subject to change without notice).

As they do battle, the leadership aspirants might remember their arguments have real-world consequences. The Institut de la statistique du Québec's latest demographic figures show that in 2013, 13,000 Quebeckers decamped to another Canadian province, a 60 per cent year-over-year rise and the largest interprovincial out-migration since 1998.

Correlation isn't causality, so perhaps it's coincidence it happened in a year where the most divisive policy proposal in Quebec's recent history was slapped in the window. Or perhaps not.

Here's something that wasn't happenstance: the PQ's heavy electoral defeat, just 18 months after gaining power, was a function of the Charter and of Mr. Péladeau's raised-fist ardour for holding a third sovereignty referendum.

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That both are front and centre in the leadership race is good news. For federalism.

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