Why I’m Voting Green This Election

So I had this plan all week to write a dense, point-by-point argument for voting for the Parti Vert du Quebec. But then I remembered that my ability to write long, intellectually rigourous blog posts began to wane, oh, about four years ago. Did I mention my kid’s fourth birthday in a week?

But, for what it’s worth, I’m voting Green this time. Here’s why:

Have You Noticed How Freakishly Hot It’s Been?

Yeah, we as a species did that. And I don’t believe exploiting shale gas or pulling more oil out of the north is going to help matters. The Parti Vert du Quebec proposes the most serious and ambitious environmental platform of all the parties.

And I’d like to live in a society where our stewardship of the environment takes priority above all else because, well, I’d like to leave a smaller mess for my own child to clean up.

The Liberal Government’s Record

The Quebec Liberal Party is liberal in name only. A liberal party does not throw money at an asbestos mine to export a substance known to cause cancer. A liberal government doesn’t legislate things like Loi 78.

I used to like Jean Charest. Or, rather, I liked the guy who stood before a massive Montreal crowd in October of 1995 and gave a spirited defence of Canada. They used to think he was going to be prime minister of Canada. Whatever happened to that guy?

But the fact is, I’m a centre-left progressive kind of guy and the Liberal Party of Quebec has never really fit that bill.

There is More Than One Federalist Option

Let this be the election where we can forever bury the idea that federalist anglophones vote as a block for the Liberals for lack of any clear alternatives.

I have considered Quebec Solidaire. While Quebec Solidaire may have much in their platform that I like, the fact remains that they’re an explicitly pro-sovereignty party and I’m not pro-sovereignty. It’s not just that I’m a federalist. It’s that I’m Canadian. In Nova Scotia, I feel at home. In Toronto, I feel at home. In British Columbia, I feel at home. In Montreal, while, yes, it’s different, I still feel at home. And all of that is something I want to continue. My conception of my country is that Canada includes Quebec and Quebec includes Canada. Now, I do like Quebec Solidaire’s more inclusive approach to sovereignty than that of the Parti Québecois. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’re sovereignist. I’m not.

The PQ, QS, and ON all see Canada as something they want to opt out of. It doesn’t matter how relevant or possible a sovereignty referendum is in the next four years, I will always vote for the party that wants to stay in Canada. To change that would fundamentally change the way I view my own citizenship.

All that to say: we have choices. And they’re not between order and chaos, as Jean Charest would have us believe. All we have to do is choose to make them.

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4 thoughts on “Why I’m Voting Green This Election

  1. Canadian “identity” and Federalism is pure jingoism selling citizens on a unifying identity in order to better control and manipulate them. Proof of it is how time and time again Canadians make political decisions against their own best interests (or the interests of Québec’s citizens) in order to do nothing more than uphold this fully marketed flag-waving idea of ‘Canada’ against the imagined evils of Québec independence. And while Canadians fall all over themselves spoiling their votes in an attempt to protect their Federalist ideals, politicians use this state of political distraction to rape the environment and satisfy any and all corporate interests.

    If you really love something, you let it become whatever it is meant to become while it is thriving. That’s a good piece of advice for all Federalists in Québec voting in this particular election who claim they “love” Québec, and for parents in general. There is absolutely no point in Québecois Federalists continuing to vote against their own best interests and electing corrupt political parties that are suffocating Québec’s natural evolution all for no other reason than because these parties can promise the Federalism which Federalists all so absolutely and blindly demand.

    Whether or not Québec eventually leaves Canada is not the issue in this election. If you’re a Federalist living in Québec your responsibility is to vote for the party that will help the province thrive in every way, from its economy to its social programs and everything in between. You are to choose the least corrupt and most responsible forward-thinking viable party for the citizens of Québec regardless of their stand on Federalism. To simply vote for any party that doesn’t turn your stomach while promising you your precious Federalism is not only lousy, it’s bad citizenship.

    That said, like you, I usually vote Green or NDP because here in the Maritimes we have absolutely no alternative and the NDP at least is a viable option. But, I would not vote Green in Québec because it’s a wasted vote and the Green party there is not even remotely viable. The closest viable option that holds nearly the same platform as the Green party in Québec (and has a very real chance of effecting very real positive changes in Québec) is Québec Solidaire to which the Green Party of Québec should have joined years ago, when they were repeatedly asked to do so.

    1. Wow, Rachel. That response was almost Aaron Sorkian in the breadth of its condescension.

      I thought you had a higher opinion of my intelligence and ability to make decisions.

      I think it’s possible to come to a decision about how I feel about Canada without being “manipulated.” I’d like to think I have more about me than that.

      And I’m not sure why it follows that “what Qubec is meant to be” is an independent country or why that’s automatically in the best interests of Quebeckers. Or that Federalism = Corporatism.

      Quebec’s “natural evolution” just might actually involve staying in Canada to make it a better country.

      And I will never agree that any vote is “wasted.” If I were to agree to that, then I’d have to agree that voting for Qubec-Solidaire in the riding of Jacques-Cartier is “wasted.” They got 1.4% of the vote in this riding in 2008 . The Greens got 7.5% and came in second.

      Qubec-Solidaire has little interest in the rest of Canada. I still do. Please don’t ask me to give them my vote.

  2. If I were able to vote, I would have likely voted for Quebec Solidaire. I have extreme reservations about the sovereignty issue. The version put forth by the PQ seems to be pandering (or maybe they actually believe it) to a xenophobic element of the pro-sovereignty movement. If that is the primary force behind sovereignty, then that makes me worried. That said, QS seems almost a perfect fit on all other issues. Same goes for the Green Party, but I would like to see a bit more of their leader before casting a vote for them.

    1. I totally get that and I suppose I should get over my issues with the sovereignty thing. Given that support for outright independence is polling at record low numbers and a minority PQ government means we’re unlikely to head out for another referendum any time soon. But it’s not like it’s a plank in a party platform that I can say I disagree with like a taxation or energy policy. It’s “Do you consider yourself Canadian or Qubecois?”

      I respect that for a lot of people, the answer to the question is the latter but it will always be the former for me.

      QS does have what I think is a more progressive, inclusive approach to sovereignty than the PQ which still seems stuck on the whole identity thing with its proposed “Secularism for thee but not for me” charter.

      In the meantime, we have our new government and we’ll see what that brings.

      I’ll just have to hold out hope for the promised provincial NDP.

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