Sunday, September 2, 2012

J’ai voté Québec Solidaire, but why?

Mohamed Kamel*
September 1st, 2012

When Jean Charest called for election, Quebecers wondered if he was going back to office or not? And most of us started to question if we were going to vote and if yes, to whom? Are we waking up on September 5th to a minority or a majority government?

We entered this election with one question.  Are we ready to accept Charest’s bill 78 that for the first time in Canada, curbs people’s rights, curbing on freedom of speech while raising tuition fees and introducing his conservative views?  Charest governed for 9 years, shaded with corruption that involved many figures and he is not clean from it yet. He called the election to avoid negotiating with the students after issuing his undemocratic bill. For me when a party fails to listen to the new generation and their logic, they wrote their own death certificate.

On the other hand, there is Pauline Marois who has been trying to lead the Parti Québécois (PQ) for years, only succeeding once the party failed in all attempts to gain power.  Marois is the leader of the opposition who shyly supported the student movement in refusing the tuition increase and opposing bill 78.

We imagined that she could govern, until she returned to the stone age and started fighting the windmills by not recognizing today’s society.  Marois is still dreaming of creating a confrontation between the old and the new Quebec, so she can win a separation referendum. She is re-introducing her party’s vision of a pure white catholic society that pretends to be secular just as a tool to refuse the others.  At the same time, she helped in shifting the party’s policy far from the left, disconnected the movement from the labour movement.

By refusing to accept the others and living in the past through her hard secular dream, Marois wrote her own political death.

Even her own team fragmented into two other parties, Option Nationale (ON) a new small party supported by one of PQ’s old guard, Jacques Parizeau, and Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).

Competing with both the Liberal party and the PQ came the new political party, Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).  When François Legault exited from the PQ, he formed his new movement representing the far right capitalizing on the remains of Action démocratique Québec (ADQ), a party that was born and died in less than 18 years.  CAQ, similarly to the ADQ, is a soft sovereign movement.  CAQ supported the Liberal in passing bill 78 and is calling for abolishing school boards, which will minimize the participation and the role of taxpayers and parents in managing the education system.  Another party that I can’t support!

Not being able to vote for any of these parties brought me back to the basics of democracy.  Why are we voting strategically? Why don’t we go back to the principals and vote for what we believe in?

I prefer a minority government because it is the only way to allow people’s voice to be heard.  When a majority governs, they became a sort of dictatorship.  They don’t fear people and don’t bother with people’s needs or their point of view.  They only serve their own close circle of beneficiaries, and that is proven by the corruption that has shaded our life for a while.
Some might vote for one of these parties based on one issue to avoid the others.  Some might vote against referendum, others might vote against Marois’ citizen chart and some might vote against bill 78 or the corruption.

I am sure that Quebecers are not looking for these votes.  Our children deserve better than that. We should come back to the principles. We need a strong party that can raise our concerns and represent the general population.  Québec Solidaire (QS), as small as it is, is co-lead by Françoise David and Amir Khadir, both long time activists for people’s rights and community development, believe in a soft secularity of the state that creates a state without a religion but maintains and respects people’s right in practicing their own believes. 

I voted for QS because they support all people’s rights, because their political stand is my political stand. 

Are they going to govern? Most properly not now, but maybe some time soon. If this vote didn’t help QS to govern, it will help us magnifying the need to apply the proportional representation.      

One day, we will be able to achieve our goal in recognizing the proportional representation, a basic democratic principal that big parties are afraid of applying, because it will bring power back to the people instead of corporations.

* Mohamed S. Kamel: is a Freelance writer, he is a professional engineer, a LEED Green Associate and a recognized project manager professional, he is Member of several civil society organizations, a co-founder of the Alternative Perspective Media (APM-RAM), , Quebec Antiwar movement “Échec à la Guerre”, Canadian Egyptian for Democracy (CEFD), National Association for Change in Egypt (Taghyeer – Canada), Association of the Egyptians of Montreal (AEM). He could be reached at


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