Quebec voters go to the polls today after what has been a pretty interesting election. Charest looked strong going in, but it really is a three way race, even at this late date.
I am not going to speculate on the results of the election, the question that I have is 'if you are a federalist social democrat living in Quebec, who do you vote for?' I've heard voters complain about having to choose between the lesser of all evils, but the lack of decent choices in this election is obscene.
Those living in Quebec know all about how difficult it can be to figure out where to park your progressive federalist vote, but I will attempt to spell out, for all of my non-Quebec readers, how dismal the Quebec provincial elections can be for us NDP types. Here are the options:
The Quebec Liberal Party: Under Jean Charest's leadership this party reminds me of a certain provincial Liberal party that we have out west. They are big fans of the public private partnerships and they want to lift the tuition freeze.
After Charest announced that they would take the new federal money from the budget- the money that Quebec has asked for for a while to address the fiscal imbalance- and spend it on tax cuts, voting for them would be really hard to stomach. No, the QLP is not really an option for social democrats.
Le Parti Québécois: This party has attracted many social democrats in the past, and they have been responsible for some progressive government programs like universal childcare, and electoral reform. They can be credited with getting 'big money' out of politics, but they have changed and they no longer resemble the party of Rene Levesque.
Also, the PQ platform may dance around the whole referendum issue calling for a "public consultation" but Boisclair has made it clear that, should they form government, the PQ would see a referendum on sovereignty as part of their mandate- even if they were a minority government. A federalist living in Quebec may have been able to, in good conscience, help elect a PQ government in the past- because they could count on them to bring forward progressive change- but not today.
Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ): These guys aren't even near the realm of possibilities for left-wing voters. They have many regressive policies; among the worst is turning Quebec's renowned child care program into something more like Harper's abysmally unfair and unhelpful child care plan.
As well, they are on the way wrong side of the controversial Reasonable Accommodation debate, a debate on what kind of consideration should be given to ethnic minorities and their cultural practices. Many progressive groups find the debate itself insulting, and the fact that the ADQ are surfing the wave of backlash against ethnic minorities is despicable. Also, the ADQ aren't sovereigntists but they don't seem to have a very solid plan for keeping Quebec in Canada. If these folks win, especially if they win a majority, I predict an exodus of progressive Quebecers.
Québec Solidaire: This was supposed to be a shining beacon of hope for social democrats in Quebec but they have not managed to amount to much. They merged all sorts of marginal parties but still could not move out of the margins. Dual leaders is an interesting political experiment, I am not sold on the idea yet, but it certainly is progressive. But alas, they are sovereigntist and their membership is often more pur et dur than the PQ. However, one of their candidates is the guy, Bill Clennett, who was choked by Jean Chretien. If I lived in that guy's riding he would sooo have my vote.
The Quebec Green Party: More progressive than their federal counterparts, as they have very minimal links with the federal greens, but who really wants to vote for a party that doesn't amount to much more than a brand name? Although they do score some federalist points because they refused to merge with Québec Solidaire over the separation issue. I would still sooner vote Marxist-Leninist than Green- Quebecers of the world unite!
No, I don't envy New Democrats in Quebec and the tough choice that they have to make today. Just keep in mind my Québécois brothers and sisters, if the ADQ wins a majority, we have plenty of room for you all out west.
14 hours ago