The thing with elections

The thing with elections in countries that I don't care about is that the result is exciting. Just take the vote in Japan last week and Germany, yesterday. In one, polls predicted a reelection of the LDP, ruling party for, like, 50 years, except for a year break in the mid-nineties. A passionate vote, where people had "lady assassins" and young unconventional entrepreneurs going after old farts of the old LDP guard no longer in the plans of the party. And in the other, for month people predicted a crushing victory of the centre-right-ish CDU then-opposition party to top the 7-year rule by the centre-left SDP. Hmm, not that Canada doesn't have interesting elections (Canada is like the UK, a 100% first-past-the-post system). Mind you, the previous one had the most improbable of all results, not handing the Liberals and the NDP a clear majority together (the predicted arrangement in case of a minority government people started expecting during the campaign), but instead gave the balance of power to a bunch of independents. We're supposed to have an election (they were saying in the Fall, but probably going to be next Spring), and depending on whether the Gommery Report is going to damage the Liberals. If we had the elections today, Liberals would have a majority certainly (and one would say it's b/c the opposition parties keep a low profile while it's not election time yet). To me personally, going to vote is non-happening. My riding is one populated with Anglos in a French-speaking province and city. While the rest of the Province has the Bloc Québécois as an alternative to vote for, it's unthinkable for anglos to vote for a "separatist" party (pejorative term), even it has re/defined itself as a left-leaning one.

I was listening to the 10th anniversary of the 1995 referendum. The sovereignists (as they like to be called) lost by a margin of a percent, another one of those closest, exciting races. I remember, as a 15 year-old kid back then, wishing they voted in support of sovereignty, just because a change would be nice. Currently, I enjoy Quebec's distinctiveness, but would not go as far as offer it a city. Word from a Chinese-born Canadian. XD In fact, I was told (b/c I've known of just a few instances) that ethnic Chinese, usually Anglophones (we're an exception, as even my parents speak a better French than English) living in Montreal, flocked out of the country in the years of instability surrounding the referendum. I was listening to the documentaries, and one thing that they recalled was Parizeau's (then Premier of Quebec, and leader of the Parti Québécois) impassionate speech the night of the defeat, remembered for the wrong reasons to the eyes of sovereigntists, because it was then that he blamed money and the ethnic vote. Probably that the ethnic vote counted, and as a recent movement I didn't single out until watching it on TV, was the multiplication of ethnic candidates for the Oui camp, either as Bloc Québécois on the Federal scene or PQ candidates on the Provincial scene. Many French-speaking ethnic groups (Haitians, Maghrebians, Greeks - no Vietnamese or Chinese or other Asians yet - we're either not numerous enough or not so overly interested in the politics of the country we emigrate to) have their elected poster boys and girls rooting, not for the usual federalist parties, but rather for those who are portrayed as country-breaking parties. As a reuninting force is the French language and culture.

But in any case, I personally seek statu quo. Let Quebec be French, and preserve itself that way, but it isn't worth declaring independence (what they want is a common economic zone, but with sovereignty over foreign affairs and tax collection, say). I might have remembered that the soon-to-be-crowned (until the press decides he more evil than he is young-ish and charismatic - a gay man who doesn't identify himself by his sexual orientation, but by with his nation and countrymen) leader of the PQ said he did not believe a referendum was in the immediate plans of the PQ, despite sovereignty is the "Article Un" (first point) of the party's consititution. Just isn't worth breaking a couple for, b/c, has anyone thought of the children?

On the other hand, people like to vote for the PQ, because of the alternation thing. If you dislike the current Provincial Liberal government, you vote them out by voting PQ (except in the anglo suburbs of Montreal, where people vote for the Liberals no matter what - except when there was this anglo party, the Equality Party, back in the 90s).


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This page contains a single entry by Cedric published on September 18, 2005 4:12 PM.

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