What You Need to Know About the Québec Elections

Take note and brace yourself for more Peppers rioting in the streets of Montreal.

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Aug 30 2012, 4:13pm

Not since the 1995 Referendum has there been as serious a discussion about Quebec’s separation from Canada, as there is right now. To make matters worse, there’s a provincial election next week and the Parti Québécois (PQ), the traditional separatist party, is leading the polls promising Quebecers the opportunity to break away from Canada once again. While the rest of the country’s arms are tired from all the yawn stretching they do listening to constant threats of separation, never mind the more than six month student protest in the streets of Montreal, the reality is that Canada can’t afford to have one of their richest and oldest provinces pull-chute. Beyond being the country’s second most populace province, its economy still contributes nearly 20% of Canada’s total GDP, while its hydroelectric power supplies most of the Northeastern US and Canada. In short, while the global economy is teetering in between depression and apocalyptic meltdown, having Quebec leave would be a knockout blow to Canada.

As a service to our fellow Canadians, we’re going to try and tell you what you need to know about each of the credible parties and how it would affect the rest of Canada (ROC) if they were elected September 4th. Take note and brace yourself for more Peppers rioting in the streets of Montreal (especially if Charest wins).

LIBERAL PARTY OF QUÉBEC
Currently in power with a majority government, the Liberals, under Jean Charest, are slightly (by Québec standards) right-winged and federalist, which is to say they think people should go to work five days a week and pay taxes. Part of their political platform has been to raise university tuition fees, this led to rioting and now an election. Of course the best way to maintain the rule of law is to send riot police after everyone, which is what they’ve been doing for the last six months. Not to mention, Charest basically flipped the bird to student leaders during tense negotiations in the spring causing most people to be highly critical of his regime for mishandling a crisis. There’s also been a series of allegations that they’ve awarded fixed construction bids to their buddies. In fact, the provincial anti-corruption squad claims that the, “construction industry was bilking the public purse and using some of its cash to illegally fund political parties.” Basically when it comes to re-election, the Liberals have about as good a chance of being re-elected as butthole tattoos becoming the next big thing.

What their election would mean for ROC:
Meh, no big deal. Quebec would most likely stay in Confederation, and the status quo of bribery and corruption would remain. However with a minority government we might just be back in this situation again three months down the line.

PARTI QUÉBÉCOIS
Since the 1970s the Parti Québécois have tried to take back the land that once belonged exclusively to French Canadians (because Natives never existed). They’re basically still butthurt about their ancestors losing to the English at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and being subjected to the rule of the British crown, which was also around the same time electricity was still considered witchcraft. In other words, they should probably get over it.

Led by an angry blimp named Pauline Marois, the Parti Québécois is a throwback to the fascist days of yore. Defending the rights of pure-Québécers (pure-laine as they call themselves), Marois vows that under her government no public servants will be allowed to wear turbans, kippahs or hijabs – but crucifixes are totally fine.

The PQ somehow see themselves as representing a leftist discourse who have supported the student protesters since the start of the conflict, even though Marois stopped wearing the red square mid-summer when public attention waned from the protests. Much of their support has been through opportunistic politics–so much so, that they’ve incorporated Leo Bureau-Blouin, one of the student leaders (who also looks like, ten), in their sovereigntist yoke.

What their election would mean for ROC:
Remember 1995? Well, Pauline Marois, the PQ leader, plans to “take back” all federal powers and bring them to the provincial level to eventually be a separate entity from Canada. She’s even admitted a new referendum will happen. The problem with that is that most of the natural resources that would fuel Quebec economy is on Native American land and the Cree have no interest in joining the PQ, making the reality of separation a bit of a clusterfuck.

COALITION AVENIR QUÉBEC
So before asking, they’re ambivalent on their federal-independent stance. They just want to have a good economy… and then probably separate. After all, their leader is ex Parti Québécois Minister Francois Legault of the National Assembly (the provincial assembly is called the National Assembly just to confuse everyone).

This brand new party is trying to appeal to the youth and boot out the Liberals and Parti Québécois. The irony is that they’re for the hike in tuition fees. Again, it’s all about the economy and cutting debt. But that’s all for the greater good, Francois literally wants Quebec to get to Asian Level. Nonetheless, these guys may still cause a surprise and have recently slid into second place in polls with 28% of the projected vote. Although no one is sure how many people will actually be able to admit they voted for CAQ (pronounced “cack”) with a straight face.

What their election would mean for ROC:
Francois Legault is for Québec’s independence, but believes it should be done in an economically feasible fashion and maybe never. Therefore, during the present economic lull, it is not the time to talk about sovereignty or independence. Strangely CAQ is what most pundits consider Stephen Harper’s choice to be.

QUÉBEC SOLIDAIRE
Where to begin? Down with the current government, the institutionalization of corporations within the government and all that is not ecologically friendly. They’re basically calling for liberation and a revolution of the current Québec state; exactly like the French Revolution, but with a banana (not a topless anarchist). These cheese-eating liberals are one of the most left leaning parties in North America. Whenever somebody rolls their eyes when they hear about idealistic twenty somethings that just discovered political opinions and have white guilt, they’re most likely thinking of this party and its main supporters.

If elected they promise to cap any individual’s salary to 5 million dollars per year. This begs one essential question: How the fuck are the Montréal Canadiens ever going to perform without any of these guys? Plus, isn’t that how you begin a society’s brain drain? At least they’re promising to build a spiffy electric train connecting Québec City to Montréal. Too bad both cities would probably become some sort of weird post apocalyptic leftist wasteland sort of like Burning Man but with even more clowns, if these guys got elected.

What their election would mean for ROC:
These guys are not down with beavers. In fact, one of their priorities is to make Québec sovereign along with its own constitution and whatever the fuck, half-baked, childlike dreams they have for a nation. Listening to these people is like listening to Sean Penn drone on about “greed,” “capitalism,” and “the man holding us back.” Anyways, they don’t have a hope in hell of being elected so don’t worry about it.

OPTION NATIONALE
This party’s sole purpose is to get the fuck out of Canada, as soon as the election is over. Of course their shot at a political victory is far from reality, but they’re still worth talking about. At least, and unlike any of the other sovereigntist political parties, their stride towards sovereignty includes all (even Anglophones) and isn’t a big hate speech towards anything that does not represent Québec culture. Just like the CAQ, this will be their electoral début. Their chances of victory are quite slim seeing as they virtually represent the same ideologies as the Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire. Yet somehow they all think they’re unique and wonderful?

What their election would mean for ROC:
In this cute and informative video, their candidate Catherine Dorion, explains that history is like walking through time. Right now Québec is walking with a rock in its shoe, one that creates a malaise and must be removed–that rock is Canada. My question is, how are you walking around with such a massive fucking rock in your shoe?

That pretty much does it in terms of political parties you could vote for in Quebec without supporting some libertarian who lives in his parent’s basement, which means you have the choice of three separatist parties that are basically the same (PQ, OP, QS) or two austerity parties (CAQ, Liberals). If you want to vote for something more obscure here’s where to waste your ballot: Parti Unité Nationale, Parti Conservateur du Québec, Parti Marxiste-Léniniste du Québec, Parti Vert du Québec, or the always endearing Bloc Pot.

Whatever happens, count on a corrupt party being elected, or, some sovereigntist asshole that’s going to beat a political dead horse with another referendum. Either way, get ready to riot.

Follow Mathieu on Twitter @Matt_Caron

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