Monday, June 18, 2012

With Upcoming Elections in Quebec, These Are My Choices. What Would You Do?

Democratically speaking, Canada is a third world country. Case in point, the upcoming general election in Quebec and my fairy tale constitutional right to effective representation and meaningful participation in the electoral process.

In our crown-in-parliament political system, elections must be held before the end of a five-year term. It is, of course, the royal prerogative of the Premier of Quebec to decide when. For all their bitching about everything British, les Québécois steadfastly hang onto the Westminster parliamentary system. Elsewhere in the Dominion elections are held on fixed dates. But not here.

Sorry, I digress.

For more than fifty years, either the Liberals or the Parti Quebecois form a government. It's one or the other. No exceptions. So where does that leave me?

Between a rock and a hard place!

I can't vote for the Liberals since a vote for them would be to endorse the most corrupt and inept government I've ever had this misfortune to live under. Likewise, to vote for the Part Québécois would be an endorsement of ethnic nationalism. I could vote for a third party candidate that has a snowball's chance in hell of winning, but what's the point, my vote is completely wasted, unless you call the consolation prize for losers, the 75 cent per vote state subsidy, a sufficient reason for going to the polls.

Fuck that! It insults my intelligence that each vote cast generates income for a political party, meaning that each vote is effective financially and carries equal weight, but when it comes to representation, I'm shit out of luck if I vote for a losing candidate. In other words, the political parties created an effective fund raising mechanism to help finance their activities at tax payer's expense based on the aggregation of votes, but when it comes to granting representation, it's a winner-take-all proposition in each electoral district.

What's up with that?

In what is surely a perversion of the concept of the constitutional right to effective representation, each political party is effectively represented in the financial scheme, but as a citizen, like hundreds of thousands like me, I am denied effective representation because I don't live in close proximity to a sufficiently large number of fellow citizens who share my political preferences.

To put this in perspective, one of my female colleagues at work voted in the last Tunisian election for the first time in her life, and her vote was not wasted even if she cast it in Canada. Tunisia uses a proportional voting system so all the votes are used in determining the distribution of seats, and my colleague is effectively represented even though she lives thousands of miles away.

Evidently, Tunisia has cast off its colonial status while Canada and Quebec cling to their colonial past, yet we consider Tunisia to be stuck in the third world.

Returning to my dilemma as a disenfranchised voter, I seem to have several options: I could abstain from voting; I could spoil my ballot by writing none of the above; I could try walking out of the polling station with my ballot in hand saying that I am withdrawing it from a unjust electoral process; I could try swapping my vote with someone from another electoral district where my vote had a greater chance of being effective; I could vote my wife's voting intentions; or I could move to a country that uses a proportional voting system.

These are my choices. What would you do?


  1. Part of the confusion for Anglophone Canadians right now is that most of us aren’t prepared to have Pauline Marois and a Parti Quebecois government be elected on Sept. 4th, 2012.

  2. I hear you on that one. Why should someone be forced to vote for a party that despite its social democratic tendencies endorses a type of ethnic nationalism in order to get rid of a corrupt government? Which is the lesser two evils? Perhaps, it's time that the NDP formed a Quebec provincial party.


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