To Vote or Not to Vote, that is the Question... Isn't It?

Anglophone or Francophone, federalist or sovereignist, everyone from La Belle Province can agree that politics has been no short of a roller coaster in 2012. While the issue of cynicism still asphyxiates our society, there is no doubt a certain wind of change is occurring.

"What's past is prologue."

There is the usual bickering that overshadows other voices, mainly because the media gives more exposure to brown envelopes than integrity. The opening debates of August 19th proved so, with the night being divided by old and new.

On one side stood Liberal leader Jean Charest and chief of the CAQ Francois Legault who mainly used past issues such as a scandal from 1996 as leverage to avoid matters of today, like the recent Charbonneau Commission. Rather than focus on their own mandates, the constant finger pointing remained usual as any other election campaign.

Charest, in his usual strategy of ad nauseum, didn’t forget to target Pauline Marois for the symbolic red square she wore several months earlier, even though she is not the only politician to wear it. His avoidance of answering questions was reminiscent as to what Quebec has seen for nine years.

Legault’s position on separatism is questionable, as his career did begin with the Parti Québécois, but let us discuss about today. His Reaganesque-style politics promises one family doctor per person within a year, and he also wants to do a major “nettoyage” in abolishing school boards, with the partnership of former police chief Jacques Duchesneau.

On a lighter note, the CAQ’s mandate involves reducing the tuition increase- by $200 per year instead of $250, for the next seven years, as proposed by the Liberals. An extra $50 in the pockets of students could have bought a month’s worth of groceries… decades ago.

To the other side, there is proof to the quote, “If women ruled the world there would be no wars, just countries ignoring each other.” Two politicians that merit a debate face-to-face are Québec Solidaire’s Francoise David and Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois. How they would interact in the National Assembly is to be discussed another day.

These are the only two prominent parties that have a slightly clearer mandate on education, the French language, and the environment- and by observing the state of our planet, this is much to be concerned.

In April 2012, Parti Québécois helped pass a motion to prevent the Federal Government from reopening the abortion debate, preventing a step backward in time. Their present mandates involve abolishing the tuition increase, a neutral society without religious symbols, and they also seek to make Plan Nord within the interest of First Nations.

Québec Solidaire’s goal is to invest in collective transportation, and not only abolishing the tuition increase, but striving toward free education. They also want to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% in 2020, and focus on mainly local development.

Promises that look attractive on paper, the only concern is to ensure our future government doesn’t behave as a babysitter to the current generation and keeps to their word by listening to voters.

With today’s young Québécois gawking at the fact there was little mention of the movement that shook the streets and wrote history books; no one should question why only 37% of people between 18-24 years old voted in 2008.

Nevertheless, cynicism is not an excuse, since every ballot has a purpose, even though transforming a society goes beyond politics. One thing is clear, no matter who is elected on September 4th- Quebec has a long way to go.

We will not move forward by constantly looking over our shoulder. It is important to remember history, since many are keen on forgetting the past (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriote_movement). We will not move forward by bickering or pointing fingers over who is better, either the left or the right, since both can sometimes be wrong.

In the good ol’ days where politicians were interested in the people, Abraham Lincoln said, “What has once happened will invariably happen again, when the same circumstances which combined to produce it, shall again combine in the same way.”