The hustle and bustle of the election will finally come to a halt on Monday evening as the polls close and slowly the votes start to trickle in. This will mark the end of one of the most divisive and “dirtiest” electoral cycles in Quebec’s modern history. For those that see a sliver lining in the clouds with the victory of Couillard’s Liberals and the ousting of Pauline Marois’s short-lived administration, be careful for what you wish for.
On Tuesday morning as Quebec awakes to a new government and a premier, one thing will not have disappeared. The dismissal of the PQ will not dismiss discrimination. If there’s but one prognostic I will make for Monday night it’s that roughly 80% of the new occupants of the National Assembly will be aligned with the right and will full-heartedly push for more austerity and more cuts, thus pushing for further inequality and economic discrimination.
The most fascinating aspect of this election for me was that discrimination or the fight against discrimination was a central theme of this campaign. In the end it seems that many of my fellow electors are quite alright pushing aside the allegations of corruption that have been made against the PLQ in past years to fend off the threat of “ethnic nationalism” under the auspices of an hypothetical PQ government. And yet few who follow this logic have taken into account the most brutal form of discrimination: inequality.
According to the polls (they might be wrong but let’s say they’re right) Mr. Couillard will become the next premier of Quebec and the Liberals will form the next government. Quebec will elect yet another Liberal administration with a mandate to dismantle every social safety net they can, battle unions and the economic gains that were fought for during generations and generations, liberalize the economy and slowly hatchet the social fabric of Quebec society. Well, at least we’ll have the consolation prize of having defeated “institutional discrimination” at the ballot box.
Unfortunately we might wake up sooner rather than later to the gruesome reality that the phantoms of discrimination still roam freely and unhindered by the results of the election. When the Charter became the central theme of the campaign, it threw a veil over many important issues, making them non-existent specters within the political arena.
But most importantly, the Charter had the direct consequence of making inequality, the most recurrent form of discrimination within Quebec society today, invisible. From the start of this campaign the PQ gave victory to the Liberals on a silver platter, for it’s the Liberal trademark to make discrimination solely an affair of individual liberties while on the other hand promoting economic discrimination and the denial of fundamental economic rights.
Those that will vote PLQ “strategically” Monday to chase away the ghosts of discrimination that have haunted this province for the past six months will assure these specters merely a stronger place within our society. A vote for the PLQ on Monday could be compared to a morbid ghostly dance, a clear invitation to the phantoms of discrimination to make themselves at home in a society that will protect the principal and not the practice of equality.
During the campaign we heard the PQ say that a vote for the CAQ was a vote for the PLQ, we heard the PLQ say that a vote for the CAQ was a vote for the PQ, the truth is that a vote for the PLQ is a vote for the PQ if you’re voting against discrimination. A vote for the PLQ, PQ or CAQ is a vote for discrimination, do not fool yourselves.
Inequality will always be the worst form of discrimination, because poverty is the worst form of violence.
A luta continua!