Quebecers of all shapes, sizes, races, languages and creeds will head to the polls next Tuesday, and decide the future of the province together. How the day will play out is anyone’s guess, but one thing remains perfectly clear: there has never been a more important time to vote. Maybe you’re a member of the silent majority, eager to put the mess of the student boycott behind you. Maybe you’ve decided the incumbent government is beyond repair and due for a transition. Maybe you’ve decided the PQ’s politics of divisiveness aren’t to your liking. Maybe you feel the Coalition Avenir Quebec’s spending promises are too unwieldy and cannot be reconciled with the economic realities we currently face in this province.
On Sept. 4, we – yes, Mme. Marois, all of us Quebecers no matter the language we speak, the colour of our skin and whether or not we listen to Marie-Mai or not – will vote to decide the stewardship of the province for the foreseeable future and what a job we have ahead of us.
Questions still abound on the economy (the Parti Quebecois still haven’t revealed their spending priorities and have said they won’t, other than to commit more millions to language enforcement), last winter and spring’s student uprising (although the boycott of classes hasn’t quite had gotten the traction it might’ve had the vote been held last May, amid the identity and nationalism discussions that have dominated the campaign thus far.
The four incumbent West Island MNAs, Liberals Geoff Kelley, Yolande James, Francois Ouimet and Pierre Marsan held a press conference last week, with their initial emphasis landing on getting the vote – no matter who that vote supports -- out.
And they’re right.
The future of the province, and possibly our country, depends on it. Yes, those sound like alarmist notions, but the reality is that a PQ government will commit to a referendum as soon as its leader thinks one is winnable, and thus, anglophones find themselves at a crossroads, faced with voting for a leader who has consistently sided with nationalism over individual rights every chance he’s gotten in Jean Charest, a former PQ minister who has painted over his separatist stripes in Francois Legault, Marois, whose rhetoric of ‘nous’ vs. ‘les autres’ has inflamed the regions and will likely help her gain power. Other fringe parties remain, such as left-wing Quebec Solidaire, a sovereignist party that embraces left-wing values and inclusiveness, the Green Party of Quebec, Option Nationale and the Union des Citoyens de Quebec (UCQ). It’s your choice, and you don’t have to vote, but as the old saying goes, ‘you get out of something what your put into it,’ and if you don’t bother to vote, don’t complain when the government does something you don’t like.
On Sept. 4, get out and vote. It’s your future. Might as well have some say in it.