With the Parti Quebecois (PQ) calling for elections on April 7th, all of Quebec’s provincial parties have hit the campaign trail with the hopes of gathering as many votes as they can. From old, recycled one-liners to promises more empty than an eighteenth-century pirate’s handle of rum at sunrise, Quebec politicians of all stripes will be pandering for support. While politics is generally a dirty, phony game all across the globe, Quebec’s political situation – with one (major) party intent on destroying the province’s economy and converting it into a full-blown welfare state – stands out from the pack.
But while the PQ has rightfully taken much flack for wreaking havoc on the province’s economic prospects, prompting many to call for a concerted effort to keep them out of power, the reality is far more dire than anyone would like to admit. Indeed, with all of the political debate revolving around nonsense such as separation and the Charter of Values – rather than on issues that actually affect people on a day-to-day basis – none of the parties have developed any sort of original, practical and/or efficient platform.
Little time and attention need be paid to separatist politics’ direct effect on the health of the province of Quebec. By consistently practicing a reckless form of divisive politics, the PQ’s raison d’être is to destroy all forms of potentially fruitful relationships with the rest of Canada with the aim of ensuring that its children will grow to become monolingual buffoons, dependent on the political elite’s handouts to stay alive. Regrettably, no matter the outcome of the election, the PQ’s sovereignty utopia has already significantly handicapped the province by polarizing political opinions and rendering alternative choices virtually as useless as Pauline Marois.
The sad reality of Quebec politics is that instead of a truly free voting system, Quebecers must be rational and vote strategically. Regardless of whether one supports the (Coalition Avenir Québec) CAQ’s political agenda or prefers Option Nationale’s approach to obtaining sovereignty, voting for any party other than the Liberals or the PQ is a waste of a vote. If you are a Federalist, you must vote for the Liberals to keep the PQ out, and if you long for separation, then you must vote for the PQ. There are no alternatives; voting for the CAQ favours the PQ and voting for Option Nationale or Quebec Solidaire divides the sovereignist vote, helping the Federalist Liberals.
While it certainly is fashionable to mock the PQ for its insistence on destroying the province, one would be remiss to ignore the fact that the Liberals and the CAQ are composed of equally intellectually derelict individuals. As a consequence of the PQ’s determination to break up Canada and the population’s refusal to look beyond the poorly thought-out idea of creating an intolerant francophone ghetto, other parties have had no incentive to field remotely competent candidates. Rather, the current Quebec model of politics is predicated on pitting three fools against one another, with each promising different kinds of handouts and measures to protect la langue française. As a result, the voting comes down to being pro-sovereignty (PQ), pro-Canada (Liberals), or undecided (CAQ). This is our democracy.
As the traditional option for Federalist voters, the Liberals are a complacent, disorganized party, with little leadership and no credibility in the wake of numerous corruption accusations. On the other hand, the CAQ seems to be creating its platform on the go and have been remarkably ambivalent on the topic of sovereignty. True, the CAQ does not want to have a referendum within the next five years, but its leader and ex-PQ minister François Legault has yet to fully repudiate his nationalist tendencies. While it is undeniable that the PQ poses the greatest threat to the province, it is extremely disheartening to witness the near-universal absence of competence and relevant debate in Quebec’s provincial politics.
As long as Quebecers allow political elites to control their destinies by encouraging monolingualism, promoting xenophobia, extorting tax money and driving business out, the province does not stand a chance to bounce back from its status as North America’s backwaters. Unfortunately, none of these issues are likely to be addressed any time soon, as the only debating topic and decision factor in provincial politics is sovereignty. Until that changes – and there is no sign of that happening in the foreseeable future – the province is unlikely to evolve from its current decrepitude. Instead, it will surely continue to lag increasingly further behind the rest of the continent, suffocated by its senses of self-pity and hypocrisy. As a mere sign of recognition for living in a democratic society, Quebecers should all report to vote on April 7th – as for participating in a truly democratic one, they shouldn’t get their hopes up.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Bull & Bear.