August 28, 2012

The 2012 Quebec Election, or Why Democracy Is Beautiful Even Though You Don't Always Have Your Way

The 2012 Quebec election has got me thinking a lot about democracy.

For those of you who don't know about Quebec, let me explain; Quebec is one of the 10 provinces of Canada. The concept of a province in Canada is equivalent to the concept the state in the U.S., although a province has little less independence than a state. Although they operate under the federal government, each province has its own provincial government. The provinces regulate their own healthcare and education systems, for example.

Politics is a touchy subject everywhere, and especially in Quebec. Quebec is a diverse society that has many social and political cleavages, and a particularly divisive issue: the debate over sovereignty.

Simply put, sovereignty is the idea that Quebec should be a country of its own, not just a part of Canada. This has been a debate for decades; there has been 2 general referenda, and in both cases, Quebecers decided they wanted to stay within Canada.

In this 2012 election, there is much at stake, and it is very hard to predict what will happen on September 4th. It is very easy to criticize the political parties or leaders we disagree with, especially during an election campaign. Ideologies are exposed, scrutinized and discussed, but they are also condemned and scorned.

Everyone has their own opinion about how society should be run and what government should do. We try to figure out which party is closest to our ideals, and eventually, we go to the polls and vote on what we think is the best option out there.

Obviously, as individuals, we don't always have our way. In Canada, governments are generally elected with about 35% of the popular vote, which means that about 65% of voters don't have their way. This is how representative democracy works, and even though this system has its flaws, it is still democracy.

Whichever party is elected, I am grateful for living in a democratic society. I am blessed to live in a country where every citizen has a right to vote and decide what party is in power. Unlike many countries where fundamental rights are restrained or suppressed, Canada ensures freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of association and free elections.

I hope that a large number of Quebecers will vote on September 4th: No vote is lost, every one of them counts. I encourage Quebecers not to vote strategically, but to vote according to their own conscience. Even if the political party you are supporting ''does not stand a chance'' of forming government, your vote gives it funding for the next election.

Whatever happens next Tuesday, let us accept it as the will of the people, whether it is change or status quo. Let us be thankful for a wide array of parties to choose from and free elections. Let us be thankful that the results will be truthful, not corrupted.

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Quebec National Assembly

1 comment:

  1. Alex what do you do besides blog ?( I read that you work at a small coffee cafe?..this could be wrong ha ha).. you NEED to be writing professionally if you are not already doing so! :) Loved this one (along with all posts that I read)


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