by Mathew Anania
Pictured (left to right): Anglade, Duhaime, Legault, Nadeau-Dubois and St-Pierre Plamondon. Courtesy of Global News.
Author’s Note: This article contains mentions of racism, sexual assault, Islamaphobia and systemic racism, which may be upsetting to some readers.
In just under two weeks, it will mark four years since the Coalition Avenir Québec formed a majority government and gathered seventy-four seats in the 2018 provincial election. Consequently, the National Assembly was dissolved just over three weeks ago, and each party’s platform has been released just in time for a fast-approaching election.
Polls are indicating that François Legault and his party, the Coalition Avenir Québec, will likely “Continuons”. The party responsible for the proposal of Bills 2, 21, 40 and 96, can anticipate a landslide victory, demonstrates a poll conducted by CTV News Montreal. As coordinator of the Law, Society and Justice profile and political science professor, Dr. Dónal Gill puts it, “Polls are showing that the CAQ will win the election. What is up for debate however, is what happens between the rest of the parties, and how the division of the seats will play out. A major realignment of Québec politics is a genuine possibility.”
The CAQ government maintains a center-right platform, and continuously projects sovereigntist values, yet have made it clear that they do not plan on cutting ties with the federal government. Recently, Legault’s campaign has associated the terms “extremism” and “violence” with reasons to limit the flow of immigration in the province. Legault has also denied the presence of systemic racism in the wake of Joyce Echaquan’s death, an Indigenous woman who died of a treatable condition, yet was mocked and belittled by her on-duty caregivers. Legault has apologized for his impulsive and insensitive comments yet, where does one draw the line?
The party has revealed the Blue Fund, an environmentally-focused plan which is their commitment to sustainably managing the waters of Québec. The six hundred and fifty million dollar plan will be funded through the collection of royalties on those who use the resource. Legault is also increasing the anti-inflationary cheque: Quebecers who make under $50,000 will receive $600, while those who make between $50,000 and $100,000, will receive $400. Finally, the party plans to recruit more medical professionals and create two private healthcare centers.
Dominique Anglade will lead the Parti libéral du Québec in the upcoming election, and wants Quebecers to “Votez vrai”. Anglade, a former president of the CAQ, left after she no longer identified with the party’s attitudes towards identity and the flow of immigration in Québec. She won the riding of Saint-Henri Sainte-Anne in a by-election, and slowly made her way up to running as the leader of the party. However, a poll recently conducted by CTV News Montreal is demonstrating that the PLQ’s Anglophone support has dwindled in ridings they notoriously once held. Most notably, the PLQ, have unveiled an economical and ecological plan titled the ECO project, which would invest one hundred billion dollars into reaching carbon neutrality and using cleaner sources of energy over the following thirty years. Furthermore, they’re proposing income tax cuts for the middle-class while implementing tax increases for the upper-class and removing the QST from electricity, basic necessities and over-the-counter medication. They plan on eliminating the Welcome Tax, which requires buyers to pay an extra tax to their respective municipality, and are also promising the construction of affordable housing. Impressively, they’ve put forward a $6B plan to open four thousand new beds and are planning to collaborate with private clinics to squeeze more patients through the system. Anglade, who is adamant about protecting the French language alternatively, promised to remove the notwithstanding clauses on Bills 21 and 96. Ultimately, this means that provisions of the bill that derogate from Charter rights would no longer be protected. Although the PLQ has identified itself as a center-left platform, the privatization of healthcare and economic liberalism are some topics found in the PLQ’s platform that are synonymous with a right wing platform.
Co-spokespeople of Québec Solidaire, Manon Massé and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, wish to “Changer d’ère” with their environmentally-focused and far-left platform. The party has released Vision 2030, an ambitious and credible plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, and ultimately reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Québec solidaire supports Bill 96, but has been vocal about the adverse effects it will unleash on the Indigenous community. Moreover, they’ve promised to dismantle discriminatory provisions of Bill 21, but have refused to remove sections which ban individuals from keeping their faces covered while delivering public services.
The pair plan to combat the increased cost of living by raising the minimum hourly wage to $18/hour, while temporarily providing tax cuts on goods and halting the rising electricity prices. Notably, the team has planned the construction of 50,000 social and affordable housing units to combat the housing crisis. They are advocating for an increased presence of long-term healthcare facilities, increased funding in the public healthcare system and universal dental care. The party is also proposing increased accessibility to childcare services, free education at the entry-level, and promises to welcome sixty thousand to eighty thousand immigrants, yearly.
The QS have committed to the question of Québec sovereignty by promising a referendum during their first mandate, which they believe will facilitate reconciliation as well as economic, ecological and cultural prosperity.
The Parti Quebécois, led by Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, has put their fight for sovereignty at the forefront of their campaign with a clever slogan, “Le Québec qui s'assume. Pour vrai.” As opposed to the CAQ’s results, the PQ are showing a significant decrease in the popular vote, and are expected to win one seat in the riding of Matane-Matapedia. Nonetheless, the party is carrying one with their campaign.
The PQ, a center-left party, have been adopting normalized plans for the environment, economy and healthcare, struggling to firmly plant themselves in their campaign for sovereignty, says political science professor Valeire-Anne Maheo. The party has taken a strong stance against federalism and believes that sovereignty is the catch-all for the protection of the French language and culture.
In terms of their economical plan, they are promising purchasing power allowances of one thousand and two hundred dollars for those earning under fifty thousand dollars, and seven hundred and fifty dollars for those earning between fifty thousand and eighty thousand dollars. The PQ is proposing the abolition of the private daycare system, and will open up an additional 15,000 spots, culminating in a grand total of 150,000 new daycare spots. Moreover, they plan to invest $3B into at-home senior care, and plan to slowly remove long-term healthcare facilities. They have also released an ecologically-inclined plan, costing $21B in spending over a period of seven years, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030.
Erstwhile Radio X host Éric Duhaime, is leading the far-right Parti conservateur du Québec, and is advocating for the freedom to choose, citing “Libres chez nous”. The slogan skilfully represents the party’s nationalist values by putting a play on the slogan from the Quiet Revolution, a period of social, political, economic, prosperity and nationalism in Québec’s history.Éric Duhaime was a radio personality for several far-right radio stations, where he made an array of racist and insenstive comments: he compared sexual assault to car theft, dismissed Islamophobic hate crimes, denied the existence of systemic racism, and said the Black community has “ few Heroes it can be proud of”. Éric Duhaime fully supports Bill 21, but believes that there are other ways to protect the language in response to his disapproval for Bill 96. Furthermore, Duhaime has also vowed to abolish the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, and replace them with a Minister responsible for Equality.
The PCQ’s plan for the economy includes proposing tax cuts on income and gasoline. They are also planning to increase the tax exemption bracket to twenty thousand dollars. In addition to supporting the abolition of the Federal Carbon Tax, the party is in support of a project entailing the construction of a seven hundred and fifty kilometer pipeline to transport liquified natural gas, titled the LNG project. More notably, they are proposing a hybrid healthcare system model as part of their call for reform of the Public Healthcare Act, and are also increasing accessibility of the childcare system. The party has shown a large increase in the polls, and is slowly starting to become a serious contender in the race.
Gill proposes an alternative to researching the dominant party in your riding according to polls : “You're better off doing your homework by reading the policies and platforms of parties, and rewarding the party that best represents your values and offers credible and feasible solutions to the problems that Québec will face in the future.”
Furthermore, he also mentions that voting for the party of your choice will never be a waste of a vote, “Since party funding by the government is largely on the basis of the percentage of the popular vote, you can help the party by recuperating more of their electoral funds for the next election.”
Regardless of where you may stand on the political spectrum, your vote matters. As cliché as it might sound, if you are a citizen over the age of eighteen, it is your duty to exercise your democratic right to vote. If you’re not eligible to vote, make sure to take note of the promises the parties are making, and hold them accountable during their next campaign. Before October 3rd, make sure you are registered to vote on electionsquebec.qc.ca. On Election Day, get out the vote and choose the party you best identify with.