The Quebec provincial election was straight out of a dystopian movie. Besides the anxiety of having my giant face on signs on every power pole in town and the outcome of the elections, many things went wrong.
Premier François Legault and his colleagues spent their whole campaign making fun of everyone and everything – literally. Their targets included immigrants, Indigenous peoples, climate change and youth who are concerned about climate change, anglophones, the poor, as well as the citizens of Rouyn-Noranda poisoned by the Horne copper smelter.
I wish I could explain the CAQ’s political strategy in great depth, but I can’t. Whether in televised debates, on the radio or in press conferences, the CAQ kept on making statements to mislead and antagonize the population. Bogus claims, like “80% of immigrants don’t speak French and don’t work” or “Joyce Echaquan’s case was dealt with in Joliette and is closed”, were quickly debunked by experts and media, but their misinformation was appealing enough to a large portion of voters. I guess the bad education system in Quebec is catching up to us.
There were also irregularities at the polls. Unlike federal elections, you cannot add yourself to the provincial voting list on-site if you aren’t on it. It’s mind-boggling that provincial poll workers can prevent citizens from voting even if they bring proof of residency and an ID.
Active suffrage is a right every Canadian has under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but the Electoral Act in Quebec states that your name must be on the list to vote.
Plus, people who were previously on the provincial list were suddenly not, polling stations changed locations up to two times without notice in some communities, and the advanced poll dates changed in Ungava even if they had started.
Quite a sketchy roll-out for such a democratic process. It fits Quebec’s narrative to say Indigenous communities don’t vote anyways, but even when we want to there are unnecessary hurdles. Voting shouldn’t be complicated.
Legault once promised he would reform Quebec’s voting system. If we look at the election results, CAQ got a majority government with 41% of the votes. That means 59% of voters did not support Legault and his party.
A new voting system of the mixed-member proportional representation type would allow a much different scenario from the one we got on October 3, but for obvious reasons Legault now dismissed the possibility of any reform.
I dread the fact that we will have to deal with Legault’s government for four more years, especially after making provocative statements on building new dams up North, without having talked about it with our leadership. I also dread all the hate against marginalized communities that transpires from their policies. I hold on to the fact that Crees are resilient and when times are rough, we resist.