A provincial election has been called in Québec for April 2014. Although I'm sure she wouldn't like the comparison, premier Pauline Marois is taking a page from the Harper handbook by promising fixed election dates but not just yet, instead waiting for the moment when the polls point toward the possibility of a majority government for her party.
This will be my first election in Québec -- I was here for the municipal elections last fall but I hadn't yet been a resident for the minimum six months. I already find myself between a rock and a hard place: I want to vote based on the issues, which for a provincial election in Canada should be education and healthcare. In fact, the main issue in the previous Québec provincial election was education, in particular the conflict around postsecondary education highlighted in the carré rouge student protests.
However, the two top issues so far in this election are separation and the controversial Québec charter of values (officially, the Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests). For my take on the charter (plus some good snarky videos), click here.
A person who believes that Québec should remain a province of Canada rather than an independent nation is a federalist (the opposite is a sovereignist). In my move to Québec, I have acquired a new label to my identity, one which will become the primary axis which determines how I will vote. And, let me tell you, there are not very many federalist candidates from which to choose. I am feeling frustrated already by this limitation and it is only my first election. To be clear, this election is not so much about "should Québec separate" as "should there be a referendum." My answer to both is non.
If federalism versus sovereignty is the rock, the hard place is a party or candidate's position on the charter of values. The major federalist party, the Liberals, are pro-charter (with the obligatory waffling of "with some changes"). The only Muslim member of the National Assembly, Fatima Houda-Pépin, left the Liberal caucus over this issue and will run in the election as an independent candidate. I suppose we could always move to her riding, except that we already live in the federal riding represented by Maria Mourani, who was kicked out of the Bloc Québecois for her opposition to the charter of values.
The charter of values engenders strong feelings and opinions among institutions and individual Québeckers. I am strongly opposed. But I am also strongly opposed to separation. How do I choose which of these two issues is more important?
I will be keeping my ears wide open and my fingers crossed to find a candidate or party which represents my points of view. It will be a bonus if he or she also shares my views on education and healthcare.
Your comments are very welcome.
|Charter of Values||Printemps Erable||Bilingualism|
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