Alternatives International fights for governance which respects social justice in Quebec and around the world, and for policies which protect the environment against ideological myopia that would sell out the ecological and social welfare of future generations for the benefit of the few.
As such, it fights an uphill battle, yet we are heartened by a turning tide in the collective political and social consciousness of the next generation, particularly in the youth of Quebec. This student strike, as well as the grèves of the past, has demonstrated that citizens can successfully demand more from those who govern them. The elections of September 4th are an opportunity to fulfill this vision for a better world, and Alternatives whole-heartedly endorses Québec solidaire.
Pauline Marois may have sported a red square and recruited former student association president Leo Bureau-Blouin as one of the Parti Québécois’s candidates, but her support is rhetoric only: as education minister in 1996, Marois herself presided over an attempted 30 per cent tuition increase. Her proposed Charter of Secularism reveals her to be both intolerant and divisive, and a distraction from the important issues that her campaign has failed to address in an appropriately thorough manner. The populist tone which Marois has adopted – see “public daycare for every child!”, and “a one thousand dollar tax credit for every child!” – comes with a proposed budget which invests much too little in education, in health, and in clean energy, and which would leave Quebecers deeply short-changed in the long-run.
Whereas Jean Charest has consistently disregarded the rights of ethnic minorities, undermined accessible education, and advocated the pilfering of our natural resources for unsustainable financial gain – a financial gain which would enrich overseas corporations rather than reinvesting in prosperity of the province – Amir Khadir and Francoise David have shown a relentless and uncompromising dedication to social justice, minority rights, and ecology. Québec solidaire may not yet have a legislative legacy (though their legislative projects are ambitious), but they do have an important legacy of activism uncommon to most politicians.
For your vote, the Liberal party promises a balanced budget for Quebec, but one balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable, and which makes no demands from those who stand to gain the most. The PQ attempts to make both the fiscally responsible and the socially progressive argument – and makes both badly.
Québec solidaire, on the other hand, proposes genuinely creative and ambitious solutions. They would provide universal prescription drug insurance, as create a provincial production, research, and development centre for pharmaceuticals to partner it. The project would make drugs more accessible, and save the province over two billion dollars in health costs. Their Plan Vert project – like Charest’s Plan Nord – would create over a hundred thousand jobs. The jobs created by Plan Nord, however, are likely to be (given the nature of mining and extraction) short-term and badly-paid. Instead, Plan Vert is centered on the development of clean energy, the development of electric transportation, and a general reduction in the consumption of energy.
Québec solidaire has begun to write a new blueprint for Quebec – and we’d love to see them build it.