Well, boys n girls, one week before the election. Advanced polling starts today. After the sparring on Facebook and Twitter with other Quebec Anglos who are progressive as to why the Quebec Liberal Party doesn’t deserve our votes and that yes, there is indeed a choice in voting. Yup, I’ve heard all the typical responses. One I like in particular is that I am a traitor. Traitor to what? The ‘Anglo’ cause? My gawd, is that how we identify ourselves first and foremost? Seriously? Federalism? I’m not exactly enamoured with Harperland these days, are you?
I know that Quebecers — Francophone, Anglophone, and Allophone alike, have often been asked this same tired question: Are you a Canadian first and then a Quebecer? Or vice versa. I have a completely different response. Yes, I’m a Canadian and a proud Quebecer since birth and an Anglo, but first and foremost, I am a progressive feminist who cares about social justice and is fed up with the coddling of big business, big oil and other such lobbyists. My main causes and concerns have been for fighting poverty, keeping health care universal for all, the environment, at risk children, seniors and of course, the plight of the working class. I am also a union supporter and a member. I am not alone (note there is a word document of Ms Ravensbergen’s letter, but I can’t seem to link to it here). I am fed up of parties being afraid to displease corporate masters. Pauline Marois of the PQ did just that when she recruited Peladeau Jr, dubbed the worst employer in Quebec and responsible for 14 lockouts under his watch. Quebec Solidaire is a refreshing change: it is not composed of billionaires or even millionaires, lawyers, and other big business types. It is composed of community leaders and activists. They are not expensive power suit people. In other words, the image they project is who they are: a party that does not cater to the whims of big business, big oil and lobbyists; they seek to actually represent the people. The average working class stiff, seniors, the sick and disabled, etc., yanno, the 99%. A small piece of good news is that ; there are other Anglos catching on. There is a Facebook group for Anglo supporters of Quebec Solidaire.
As a rule, I generally promote strategic voting in order to keep the most evil of the evils out. In this case, we have three main parties that are equally right winged, intransigent, pro-corporation, pro-privatization. Oh yes, and Peladeau Jr is on record for having said that he would sell Hydro Quebec in order to pay down the debt. That will surely drive up the price of electricity.
While all of them say they will create jobs, they have shown themselves up in debates to actually want to cut jobs.
They claim to want to save health care, but what do they mean? Further expansion of private for profit? I would say in particular of the cases of Franky Legault and Dr. Phil, yes, they are ga ga giddy for private for profit. Dr. Phil had actually admitted at the debate on RadCan that he would expand private for profit after being boxed in. After all, they have those corporate health care lobbyists to please. I wouldn’t trust La Marois neither with health care– especially now with Peladeau Jr. in tow should they win and worse, he wins in St-Jerome.
All want to hike up the rates of our popular 7$ per day Day Care. Only Quebec Solidaire wants to preserve it as is.
Legault, Dr. Phil and La Marois all fight over each other as to who can be more fiscally austere, which in the end, increases human suffering and as Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz; two Nobel Laureates in economics have pointed out, doesn’t boost investor confidence. As Krugman had pointed out more than once in his writings, there is no such thing as a “confidence fairy”. The debt! The Debt! They and the right winged chattering classes cry out. I should point out that if we’re to discuss debts and deficits, those all happened under Liberal and PQ watch. Given that Franky Legault held key Pequiste portfolios in the past, he is not without blame himself. Charest, during his tenure increased the deficit significantly before his disgraced party was voted out of office. Where did that money go? It certainly didn’t go on social programs, that’s for sure. In fact, he cut our social programs significantly and hiked up user fees.
As for the environment, all want to go a frackin’ for oil. Dr. Phil is absolutely ga ga giddy for it. Franky thinks our natural resources should be exploited more. Now La Marois who was against fracking for shale gas while in opposition, now wants to go explore it on Anticosti. Fracking is really not good for the economy. I have heard from people who live in areas where tracking is happening and they live with very poor air quality — it always smells horrible. It is also bad for the water table, puts the production of food at risk and increases earthquakes which cost economies far more in disaster relief and clean up efforts. Let’s also remember that if Fracking were so damned safe, why did the CEO of Exxon Mobil, a proponent for Fracking, join a class action suit to keep Fracking out of his neighbourhood?
It should be added that La Marois has intention to start a cement company in beautiful Gaspesie that would create only 400 jobs but cause a significant amount of pollution while (I heard) that about 1800 jobs were lost in the region of l’Assomption.
Therefore, there is no way for a progressive to keep lesser evil out.
While progressive Anglos I have sparred with have all come up with the same argument for voting liberal: No referendum! They’re federalist! They are best for Anglo rights! I’d like to explore those themes. At the same time, I hear much grumbling about how progressive Anglos don’t have a choice but to vote Liberal largely because of those themes. Yup, they’re corrupt, pro-fracking, pro-privatization of services we have proudly built since the Quiet Revolution not the least of which is our health care system. They serve only corporate masters and ask us to sacrifice so their friends in the business community can enjoy all sorts of privileges like lower taxation. But by golly gee, they’re federalist, they won’t hold a big bad referendum and they are the only ones who maintain Anglo rights.
Really? If all this were true, why were they the first party to come up with language law Bill 22, in 1974, the pre-cursor to Bill 101? Forget fun history facts for a moment. Do they really support Anglo rights? What exactly do they do to support Anglos? The truth is that they don’t do more or less than the Pequistes do or have done. However, we must keep in mind that this is a French province where we do have access to more services in English than a Francophone in other provinces like Alberta and BC can access in their own mother tongue. Sometimes, while listening to the staunch angryphones of Montreal’s west end rant on, I get the feeling that they want to force Quebec into being as Anglo Saxon as Ontario (west of the Ottawa River that is), Alberta and BC. By the by, I think we’ve all seen that the Liberals take Anglo votes for granted as they feverishly continue to court Francophone votes — a demographic they usually don’t do too well with.
Unlike La Marois, Francoise David actually does interviews in English and the Quebec Solidaire website with their program published in English as well as French.
Sure Quebec Solidaire is a sovereigntist party; there is no ambiguity regarding that. Unlike La Marois, Quebec Solidaire have been very transparent on this issue. Also, in an interview with CBC’s Daybreak’s Mike Finnerty, she says that if elected, they would hold an elected assembly with two mandates: To create a Quebec Constitution and to ask all Quebecers how they see the future of Quebec — within or without the rest of Canada. Yes, Quebec Solidaire would say what they think, but ultimately, people of Quebec would decide (by the by, it was a great interview. I recommend you catch it here). Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, to hear the mantra of Liberals and their apologists, folks don’t want to hear of referendum talk. Well, not talking about it doesn’t make the issue go away. Quebec is indeed in limbo. Leaving it in limbo is no solution. I have said this many times before; something must give; either Quebec separates or it must be repatriated into the constitution once and for all. The issue could and have remained dormant for years at a time, especially when the Bloc Quebecois was in Ottawa playing watch dog, but it always comes back like a boomerang. What Quebec Solidaire is proposing is very democratic.
Unlike the PQ, who’s raison d’être these days is referendums and Charter of Values — that big shiny distraction media love to flash around, Quebec Solidaire actually has policies regarding all things important to average Quebecers. Unlike the PQ, who has decided to make the stupid move of being divisive and exclusive, Quebec Solidaire is inclusive of all Quebecers and they do try to reach out to all of them. Oh, and as a reminder, before anyone goes all how Quebec is xenophobic, much of Canada really isn’t much better. Rachel Dacoste has pointed this out with linky Dinks to boot. In fact, in the rest of Canada, particularly amongst Conservative circles, they can put Quebec to shame on that score. Remember Sun Media’s “lock and load” as a ‘solution’ in dealing with Tamil migrants coming off the Sun Sea? I digress, but I simply wanted to make a point that we’re no better or worse on that score.
It must be noted that referendums on sovereignty have become nothing more than political dog whistles for both the Liberals and the PQ to use to exploit the voters. To scare them. The Liberals exploit it to get the federalist votes, be they right or left leaning. Like the PQ, they too tend to make it the most important issue in any election platform. It’s a trap that many Anglo / federalists fall into. Therefore, the Liberals can and do get away with implementing regressive policies – because we allow them to do so, because, hell, they’re federalists and they’ll protect us from a big bad referendum.
On the question of corruption, Dr. Phil does nothing but skirt around the issue. According to this Grope & Fail article, the Liberals are the only party that have absolutely nothing to offer to correct the systemic issues that cause corruption. The Liberals have 18 candidates who were part of that disgraced government of Johnny Charest’s. Largely in part, I would have to put blame on fearful federalists who will race to the Liberals come election day. Is the fact that they won’t hold a referendum and that they’re ‘federalist’ the reason to give them a free pass on corruption? As Anglo progressives, we deserve better. We should vote the only progressive option — Quebec Solidaire. Not saying the Pequistes are squeaky clean and yes, the same question holds to sovereigntists; because they are the main sovereigntist party, are you going to vote them back in?
It should be noted that in Francoise David’s interview with Mike Finnerty, she spoke of having chatted with an Anglo ‘left winged guy’ in her riding who was also federalist who wasn’t sure how he would vote. She advised him that he should vote for her and QS and then when and if a referendum comes along, he is certainly free to vote as he sees fit. It is what I have been saying all along — take the referendum question off the table when deciding who to to vote for. I have said many times that we are voting for a government not in a referendum on sovereignty which is a completely separate event.
On that score, Nora Loreto had this to say to Anglos who will run to the Liberals simply because they are federalist:
Anglophones who vote Liberal based on their support for federalism need to have their heads shook. What good is federalism if our environment is destroyed, if we can’t afford to take care of each other and if our politicians are corrupt? No amount of Canadian flag waving should be enough to hide the fact that the Liberals are promising to open private health clinics across the province. No level of masterful Molson Canadian-esque nationalist rah rahing should convince anyone to vote for Couillard, a man with deep support for for-profit, private medicine.
I will take it a step further. To Anglo progressives: take a long hard look at Canada now. If there is one promise Stevie Spiteful kept was that we wouldn’t recognize Canada after he got through with it. Indeed we don’t. It’s turned into a nasty petrol state where benefits for the wealthiest, the banks and big oil rule the day at the expense of the rest of us. An intransigent, corrupt and unethical prime minister who has dragged this country down a path of destruction.We are kidding ourselves if we believe that Canada is a unified country. It has always been divided and no one has exploited this more than Stevie and his friends.
Debts? Deficits? It also bares reminding that Stevie Harper put us in the largest deficit in history. Again, it wasn’t through expanding those “risky” social programs that the Harpercons so detest. They put us through austerity which was and still is of no help to most.
Yes, we progressives can and will do everything possible to make sure Stevie does not win the next federal election, but I am a realist, with the unfair elections act, Bill C-23 (how democratic is that? About as democratic as his everything but the kitchen sink omnibus bills) and the newly gerrymandered redrawn electoral map, along with their unshakeable base and money, they can and would likely win again and further continue this path of destruction they’ve started.
I’m not saying that you should vote yes or no in a potential referendum when and if that may be. Again, that is a completely separate event and for the time being, we should concentrate on voting in a government that suits our best interests. I was merely providing something to think about.
For those who claim that Quebec Solidaire is “communist” or “socialist”, may I suggest that you look up the proper meaning both of those words? They are a social democratic party. If they were so pink unicorn unrealistic dreamers, why is it that Francoise David in leaders debates (including that of 2012 election campaign) always owns the other 3 leaders with facts, figures and data and pointed questions in a very calm and reasonable demeanour? Why is it that pundits, whether or not they agree with her party’s platform, proclaim her the winner of all debates she’s participated in? Why is it that she’s the only grown up in the room surrounded by a bunch of hyper barking dogs?
I should also add that social democratic countries such as Norway, Sweden, and Finland have never implemented austerity. They have robust social programs that are the envy of the world. Yet, they were never negatively affected by the recession? Something to think about.
For the above reasons, I am proud to have voted for Quebec Solidaire in 2012 and will not only do so again, but I have taken out a membership. At the very least, Anglo progressives, I hope you will join me in not voting for the Quebec Liberal Party and Dr. Phil and voting for Quebec Solidaire and Francoise David and Andres Fonticilla.