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Election Nonsense

We're two weeks away from a Provincial election here, called by the government (contravening its own new law setting fixed election dates) when it appeared that the party in power, the PQ, had enough support to form a majority government instead of the minority one it has had since September of 2012. This past weekend, a former election registration worker and some PQ candidates have raised the spector of election fraud, claiming to be worried about there being a big increase in voter registration attempts by "anglophones and allophones" (the latter being people who speak neither French nor English as their primary language) in four or five ridings in Montreal, many of them ridings where numerous university students live. There are just a few problems with this concern:

1. It's not true, period. The chief electoral officer has confirmed that, in fact, there are fewer new registrations in those ridings than there had been in 2012, let alone a spike in alleged "fraudulent" registrations.

2. The implication is, of course, that if you are not francophone, that is if French is not your first and primary language, then you are somehow not a legitimate Quebecer and have no right to vote in Quebec elections.

3. In 2012, the PQ leader made a point of joining with the then-protesting students, wearing the "red square" and banging the "casserole" (pots and pans) in demonstrations against the then-goverment's (Liberals) plan to increase tuition. Once the PQ got into power, they reversed their pledges to the students (whose vote for the PQ led to the PQ winning in 2012) and raised tuition costs themselves. Suddenly, the students don't love the PQ anymore; suddenly, the PQ suggests that "students from Ontario and the Rest of Canada are trying to steal the Quebec election" (yes, that is an actual quote from the PQ Justice Minister).

I might point out that recent polls, far from showing the PQ in majority territory, suggest that they have lost a huge amount of their support and that at the moment it looks like the Liberals might win a minority or even a majority government this time around. This is because, first, the PQ made a fundamental error in recruiting PKP, a very very very rich businessman who is also very right-wing and very anti-union - a large part of the PQ base is and always has been leftist, and including this right-wing union buster as a star candidate was a really stupid move. Then PKP also is a committed sovreignist and said at the announcement of his candidacy that he was running in order to create a new country called Quebec; this of course brought up the concept of yet another referendum on independence, which the vast majority of Quebec voters do not want. Pauline Marois, the leader of the PQ, compounded that by blue-skying what a "free Quebec" would be like for several days (no borders with Canada, no separate passports, we'll keep the Canadian dollar thank you very much, oh and we'll take a seat at the table of the Bank of Canada, which decides financial policy for the country), thereby turning off more and more voters.

All of which is to say, this weekend's flap about the "integrity" of the electoral registration process is an act of panic on the part of the PQ. Let's hope voters are savvy enough to see that, and vote accordingly.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 25th, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC)
The Scots are holding a referendum on their independence from the UK, and that campaign is running into trouble on the currency as well. The Bank of England says Scotland could not use the pound sterling as they would no longer be part of the UK economy. Scotland would have to wait to join the EU, so no Euros. The banks in Scotland issue their own banknotes, but legally they are IOUs. A new Scottish currency would be unstable as it's a relatively small economy. The Canadian government should make a statement so people know where they stand before voting.

Sounds like the PQ have scored some excellent home goals!
Mar. 25th, 2014 08:12 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've read about the Scottish referendum and the flap about not being permitted to use the English pound if it separates. The difference, of course, is that Scotland *is* a separate country within a United Kingdom and *was* independent prior to 17-whatever-it-was; whereas Quebec has been a part of Canada since confederation in 1867 (I think it was).

At the moment, the Liberals are pulling way ahead of the PQ, but with almost two weeks left in the campaign, I'm way too superstitious to start believing the PQ will lose!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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