This will be my first time voting in a Québec election, and as everyone who reads this blog knows, (all four of you) I take my democratic franchise very seriously.
Given my lack of first hand knowledge of Québec politics I thought it would be best to inform myself as much as possible and to not dismiss any one party automatically, including the separatist Parti Québecois. In fact I was giving serious consideration to Pauline Marois' and the PQ until recently and explained my reasons with the following post:
The PQ lost this voter on several issues, one big one being citizenship. Mme Marois' party wants to bring in a form of citizenship for Québec residents, with facility in the French language being a requirement. She proposed at one point precluding non-French speakers from being allowed to run for political office in the province. She's been all over the map, seemingly making up policy up on the fly, and later back tracked saying all current Québec residents would automatically have citizenship under her proposed plan.
What really scares me is the thought of a potential referendum, and then finding out that those who don't fit the PQ definition of Québecois(e) being disenfranchised.
Sorry Pauline, I believe in democracy. If voters aren't happy with a candidate because she/he doesn't speak French, (or for any other reason) then they don't have to vote for that individual. C'est simple!!!
There were some Pequiste ideas I really liked though. Term limits for Premiers and mayors being one, and limiting political donations to $100 per individual with no tax credit being another.
As for the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and leader François Legault, I find them far to wishy washy, trying to be all things to all people and as a result they end up being nothing as far as I'm concerned. Is Monsieur Legault separatist or federalist? It strikes me he is trying to be both, and that doesn't cut it with this voter.
Finally that leaves the Liberals and Jean Charest. But it isn't good enough to be voting against individuals or parties, you also have to be voting FOR something, and there's plenty that I like about Québec's current 1st minister.
His handling of the student strikes and his willingness to make tough decisions is one prime example.
While I think the law banning protests was over the top, Monsieur Charest showed genuine leadership in my opinion. Attempts to negotiate and to be conciliatory were made, however too many of the student groups were totally intransigent, a point even made by a member of the PQ.
And of course his forthright and unwavering commitment to federalism is another. In this election we have the PQ for those who want Québec to separate, the Liberals for those who want a united Canada, and the CAQ which wants both....or neither.
There's no perfect party, and certainly no perfect platform. But this newly minted Québec voter will be marking an X next to the Liberal candidate's name with zero hesitation.