Yesterday Quebec voted for the lesser of two evils. kicking out the PQ (Parti Québécois) and giving the PLQ (Parti Libéral du Québec) a majority government. Let this serve as a lessons to any politician or political party that hinges it’s success on divisive politics and winning at the expense of certain segments of society. The charter of “values” is now no more… it went down the drain with the PQ defeat.
Many of us worked hard to bring a view representing the actual opinion of the population on the approach that the PQ embarked on. 99media.org, G.A.P.P.A., and Les Alter Citoyens, independent media groups, worked tirelessly to bring La Charte des distractions, a feature documentary that opened up the space for dialogue between communities and became part of the grass roots debate on the matter of countering the ignorance promoting PR propagation (with our tax dollars) by of proposed bill 60 by the PQ.
Yesterday’s defeat of the PQ was a overwhelming rejection of the PQ and their policies rather than an overwhelming endorsement of the PLQ. The PLQ may have won a majority government, but I hope that they understand that they have not been given a mandate. That the only reason they got a majority is because of the infamous strategic vote.
86% of people believe that corruption is a major problem in Quebec. 70% of people believe that the PLQ is corrupt -1- (all one has to do is follow the Charbonneaux Commission to realize how bad this is). yet the PLQ received 41.5% of the vote that gave them a 70 seat majority government. The people voted for the lesser of two evils because the electoral system we have here in Quebec is not proportionally representative and thus encourages one to vote strategically rather by conviction…. but more on that later.
41.5% of voters voted for the PLQ. 41.5% is not a mandate granting majority. It is not even 51% of the votes… 41.5% of just the people who voted, elected the PLQ…. voter turn out was at 71.43% percent… which means that only 41.5% of the 71.43% of eligible voters actually voted for the PLQ…. which means that 28.57% eligible voters did not vote for the PLQ (or anyone else for that matter). and which means that 58.5% of the 71.43% who did vote, did not vote for the PLQ… now my mathematical skills are not the best but anyone can tell that when compared to 100% the PLQ got far less than 41.5% of eligible votes…. that is way far from being a majority, democratically speaking. So my message of caution to the PLQ is do not get too cocky and think that you can run things the way you like now, you are still accountable to all the population… those who voted for you and the overwhelming majority of people who did NOT vote for you. -2-
This is the problem with the electoral system of Quebec. It is not proportionally based and is rigged in a way to force people to vote strategically rather than by conviction. If there are any real politicians out there who truly believe in the democratic process then it is time to implement the more democratic system of proportional representation and update the electoral law to conform to the realities of the 21st century. For those of you whom are not aware of the fight that 99media.org, G.A.P.P.A., and Les Alter Citoyens, had to go through because the DGEQ (directeur général élections québec) censored one of our videos, Charte des élections, on the basis that it was an iligal “electoral expense”, in spite of that we are not funded by any political party (not funded in any way for that matter) and that as a media group we are indeed exempted from said law under article 404. The DGEQ subsequently, after they where hit with a tidal wave of open letters signed by, citizens, intellectuals and media professionals, criticism by both main-stream and independent media, revoked their decision to censor our video, apologized for their error, recognized us as non-traditional media (and thus exempt under article 404), and even invited us for a consultation to make recommendations improving and updating the 20 year old electoral law and make it conform to technological realities of the 21st century and the new emerging form of non-traditional independent internet based media and citizen journalism. This was one battle for democracy that has been won. But there is so much more work to do. Our victory has set a precedent for all the democratized independent non-traditional media groups and individuals. However, this is just one small aspect of the kind of electoral reform that we need to better represent the will of the people and improve upon our collective democratic rights.
So in the end… Who really won the 2014 Quebec elections? Voter discontent with the system. This is why it is of paramount importance that blank votes be counted and given value. Blank votes are a legitimate and democratic right that should be exercised by voters to express their discontent with system and all-of-the-above. the PLQ (or any other “majority” election winner) can not claim to have a majority or a mandate as long as the system does not fully allow us to be proportionally represented (by voting for our convictions rather than strategically for the lesser of two evils) and also, political parties cannot claim to have a majority or a mandate if we voters cannot exercise our democratic right to voice our discontent with the system by voting for “non-of-the-above”.