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quebec solidaire

I have a lot of friends — federalists, minorities, anglos, even — who say they are voting Quebec Solidaire this time around. In many cases, I can even understand why. In this cynical era of politics, they’re the “feel good” option — a vote for the environment, for equality, for reduction in poverty, etc.

But if this includes you, I urge you to read their platform first before you cast your ballot. Here are just a few things that they stand for, which you may not even realize:

1. Sovereignty. Yep, hardline, hardcore Quebec separatism. Even harder-line than the PQ these days. And sure, you can always be that person who says “I’ll just vote for the party now and vote no if there’s a referendum”. But galvanizing momentum towards a referendum is dangerous — if you haven’t lived through October 1995, maybe you don’t remember how much. Not to mention, how much do you trust the judgment of a supposedly post-colonial, forward-thinking party that believes separatism is necessary to achieve its global aims?

2. Slashing doctor salaries. By a lot. Because in Quebec Solidaire’s book, doctors make good money and therefore they’re the bad guys. Never mind that their income isn’t just their salary, but their entire business income for their practice — out of which they must pay staff, rent, heat, administrative costs, you name it. Never mind that they study for years longer than other professions, incurring debt in the process. And never mind that slashing their salaries dramatically would make them leave Quebec in droves, worsening our doctor shortage. After all, who needs doctors anyway when you can have CLSCs, right, Mme Masse?

3. Massive tax hikes for the “wealthy” (anyone making over $100k/year) and corporations. And I do mean massive; they want to make them “pay their fair share” in order to fund the utopian ideals of universal free everything for everyone. Because they clearly don’t seem to understand that we already have a progressive tax system where the wealthy pay the most, and that the wealthy and corporations are the most mobile and able (and, if QS wins, motivated) to relocate elsewhere, taking their tax dollars and jobs with them. This isn’t Soviet Russia; people are free to cross provincial borders. And they will. Far from being able to afford everything, QS’s plan would bankrupt Quebec, leading to us being able to afford nothing.

4. Forced francisation laws for businesses with at least 10 employees (up from the current threshold of 50). This would effectively mean most SMBs would be forced to apply the Charte de la Langue française at work, leading to mountains of paperwork, and causing hundreds or even thousands of companies to relocate to Ontario or elsewhere.

5. Scrapping Uber (and AirBNB) in order to, respectively, appease the taxi lobby and eliminate “illegal” hotels. Not regulate them, but entirely scrap them.

That’s just to name a few. But please, read what you’re voting for and seriously consider whether it makes sense before you cast your ballot.

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There will almost certainly be a recount in my home riding of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques, won by QS’s Manon Massé by a margin of only 91 votes over Liberal Anna Klisko.

Obviously, I would have preferred a Liberal victory over a Quebec Solidaire one here. The QS is staunchly pro-sovereignty, militantly anti-English, and has pie-in-sky ideas about economics and policy that only a party at no risk of ever having to govern can afford to hold. Furthermore, Manon Massé, while I’ve no doubt is a nice enough person, is a social justice activist who also happens to be an anti-Israel activist who joined in the Gaza flotilla of 2011 and is a member of a group that calls itself “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid”. (Whether or not any member of this group has any idea that Israel is the only state in the middle east where gay rights are even defended is another question… I’ve learned not to expect any logic when arguing with people like this. But I digress.)

Manon Massé (left) and Françoise David of Québec Solidaire awaiting the results of the close race in Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques

The Liberal candidate, Anna Klisko, a housing and real estate lawyer, daycare owner and mom, seems like a much better representative for this riding.

But the truly amazing thing is that she’s come so close to victory at all. The Liberals were expected to come a distant third in this riding, which has been solidly PQ since its creation in 1989. Instead, Daniel Breton of the PQ is sitting in third place, some 600 votes behind Massé. And it’s Klisko who has challenged for the lead. Her strong showing caught everyone by surprise, even her political rivals.

The truth is, Liberal voters in my neighbourhood do exist, though many tend not to broadcast it. And even if some of the votes that the Liberals got this time around were more anti-PQ votes as opposed to genuine support for the Liberals, there’s also the fact that some folks may have voted Quebec Solidaire instead of Liberal because they viewed them as the best PQ foil. Whatever the case, hopefully this means that our riding will be more than an afterthought in the next PLQ campaign, and that we’ll get some actual attention for once.

Whatever the recount shows, I’m glad to no longer be living in a PQ riding. I hope that if Massé is confirmed as the winner, that she will represent the interests of all her constituents with honour. And either way, I’m happy to know that my vote really meant something for once, that it came close to making a real difference in my riding, and that I no longer have to feel like a lone red voter in a sea of blue.

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Resign, resign, they shall resign

11.04.2012

Quebec Solidaire co-spokesperson (and general pain in the ass) Amir Khadir has stepped down from his party’s co-leadership role, though he will remain MNA for his riding of Mercier. I’ve narrowly escaped being represented by him by about half a block — though my local Pequiste MNA on this side of the street is not […]

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Quebec political donations: By the numbers

08.16.2012

Polls are one thing; money is another. What can we gauge from the fundraising of the major Quebec political parties, and what can it tell us about the possible election outcome? According to the Directuer général des élections du Québec, there have been 33,547 donations in 2012 to date to Quebec’s political parties, totalling just […]

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