Monday, March 26, 2007

Why I voted

Faced with the ballot my knee jerk reaction kicked in and I voted for the PLQ this morning. All the best to Jean Charest, I hope that he delivers this time. Given reports of low voter turn-out, I suspect that the PLQ will do rather well tonight because, for whatever reason, Quebec Liberals get out and vote.

Charest had to confront an interesting problem during the election with Mario Dumont’s vague concept of autonomy. It appealed to me as it does I suspect for many people because it represents popularly and in the short term "none of the above" with regard to separation. The real challenges for Quebec, health care access, competitivity, educational funding, an overwhelming national debt to name a few, have been masked by an old and bitter language (religious/class) dispute. Separation… another exhausting referendum… vote for us just to avoid another referendum… good Quebeckers only vote for us… traitor… faux frere… I am tired of it all. Of course the hard core federalist says: eventually autonomy will take a concrete form and you don’t know what you are getting into. Well, I respond: that is not what it means today. It means, to me at least, a rejection of the never ending talk about the constitution, language rights, the manifest destiny of the nation.

And then I voted Liberal… sigh.

Now as for how this will help Harper. I suspect it won’t or least far less than the great manipulator might think. The vote buying was a cheap trick and I don’t think many are grateful for receiving what Stephen Harper has convinced most Quebeckers is, in any event, owed to them. In addition, Harper's comments about how he would only negociate with a federalist provincial government made it apparent that Harper is not adept in Quebec politics.

Pssst… Steve Harper if you are listening. Is it alright if I call you Steve like your friend George Bush does. Steve, you will deal with whoever we decide to elect as our government. Period.

Stephen Harper’s overtly nationalist Bloc imitation attack ads certainly did not help the Liberals in this election and may have much to do with my feeling of being drawn back into the federalist/separatist vortex. As a Quebec federalist, the ads gave me the creeps for reasons which the creators of the ads could probably better explain.


Saskboy said...

I too think Harper's chances aren't really improved by this, so much as everything has changed in Quebec. It would be nice if Quebec dealt with issues, instead of creating them [ie. separation].

Aaron said...

The immediate referendum that the PQ were offereing has been dealt a stinging rebuke, though it is difficult to see how this will all fall out. The idea of autonomy has to be fleshed out. Indeed, the entire platform of the ADQ needs to be brought into reality. This will give Charest some breathing space even in a minority position. Unlike the federal situation the next (provincial) election in Quebec is at least two or three years away.