The Quebec parties are gearing up in preparation for a day that will shape the province’s political landscape for the next four years.
The Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), Coalition for Quebec’s Future (CAQ), Solidarity Quebec (QS), Quebec Party (PQ) and Green Party of Quebec (PVQ) are currently all in full election mode: new star candidates have been introduced in multiple major constituencies; presentations and promises on social and economic projects have been made; party leaders have visited different districts across the province.
All this activity demonstrates how competitive this election has become.
At the moment, it appears that CAQ leads, followed by PLQ, according to surveys. For the first time in a while, the PLQ is facing a formidable political adversary who has been climbing the ladder of popularity in the polls. The CAQ is trying to present itself as the alternative choice for both the traditional supporters of both the PLQ and the PQ.
The challenge that both PLQ and PQ are facing by the rising political power, the CAQ, is that it presents itself as a party that believes in keeping Quebec within the Canadian confederation — it is a federalist group competing with the PLQ on its traditional political territory. In parallel, the CAQ competes with the PQ in its own sphere by demonstrating a “nationalistic” ideology, the term that Mr. Legault, the party. chief prefers to use instead of being labelled a sovereignist who’s tough on the language issue, immigration policies and on the civic rights of the province’s minorities.
By having the sovereignty off the elections table for the first time in decades, the focus has turned to immigration as substitute.
Liberal Party of Quebec
Founded July 1, 1867, the PLQ believes in social democracy and is considered centre to centre-right. It is a federalist provincial political party and has been independent of the federal Liberal Party of Canada since 1955
In reflecting it’s rhetoric of inclusion and diversity, the PLQ, in the current elections, has chosen many candidates from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds to run in order to be elected as members of the National Assembly in Quebec City.
The PLQ has traditionally supported Quebec remaining within the Canadian federation, while also supporting reforms that would allow Quebec a substantial level of autonomy. The party believes in a strong governmental role in the economy and supports socially liberal policies.
The PLQ has its marks in Quebec politics since the beginning of the Quiet Revolution, which dramatically changed Québec society. It has literally formed all governments in the province since 2003, whether minority ones or majority, with the exception of 2012-2014 that was formed by the PQ.
In October of 1967, the former cabinet minister René Lévesque’s requested that the party endorse his plan for sovereignty association , which the PLQ refused to do. As a result, some Liberals, including Senior Cabinet Minister René Lévesque, left the Liberals to join the sovereignty movement, participating in the founding of the Parti Québécois (PQ) under Lévesque’s leadership.
Coalition for Quebec’s Future
The CAQ is considered a centre-right provincial political party in Quebec. It was founded by former Parti Québécois cabinet minister François Legault. Although party opponents question Mr. Legault’s position on Quebec sovereignty, he continually denies his eagerness for any referendum over the subject.
On the other hand, the party has engaged in what many consider “divisive” policies and rhetoric against new arrivals and other cultural communities within the province. The party has capitalized on the fear surrounding identity and independency as citizens of Quebec.
In recent statements, Mr. Legual, clearly expressed vision on cutting on immigration and the obligation on all newcomers to learn French. By creating an uneasy atmosphere, CAQ is risking more alienation of the new comers which may lead to their departure to other provinces. However, it seems that Mr. Legault’s, at this time, eyes are more into getting more votes in the elections that analysing the well-being of the new immigrants and their positive contribution to Quebec society .
The Québec solidaire party (QS) is a democratic socialist, sovereigntist, left-wing political party in Quebec. It was founded by Mrs. Françoise David, a renowned feminist icon in the province.
The QS shares the same ultimate goal as other Quebec political parties: to separate from Canada. However, the party doesn’t carry the flag of separation at all times; rather, they focus on the social aspects of society in Quebec. The QS believes in what is thought of as more “fair and just “economy policies. In its published program, QS spoke about fighting poverty by granting minimum income for those who are in need. Furthermore, the party has promised to work on humanizing work place by reducing working hours, fighting discrimination and strengthening unions.
A crucial and positive difference between the QS and some of the other parties is that the QS chooses not to use the stigma surrounding the cultural, racial or religious communities the province as a weapon. The party has pushed for some initiatives to achieve inclusivity in certain areas.
In 2015, during the first session of the school year, Mrs. Francois David visited a Muslim community school. Following her visit, she was bombarded with an Islamophobic smear campaign targeting her personally. In spite of that, on Oct. 1, 2015, Quebec National Assembly witnessed a symbolic milestone motion presented by Mr. David which saw an unanimously agreed upon condemnation of Islamophobia in Quebec.
The QS has recently provided various community activists a chance to run in the coming general elections.
The PQ is the provincial political party in Quebec. The PQ advocates for national sovereignty for Quebec which involves independence from Canada and establishing an autonomous state.
The PQ is the result of the 1968 merger between former Quebec Liberal Party cabinet minister René Lévesque’s Mouvement Souveraineté-Association and the Ralliement National. Following the creation of the PQ, the Rassemblement pour l’Indépendance Nationale held a general assembly that voted to dissolve the RIN. Its former members were invited to join the new Parti Québécois.
In 1976, the Quebec elections witnessed the first-ever formation of a provincial government by a sovereign political party. At its start-up, the PQ labelled itself as progressive left wing. However, they have created very tense and shaky relations with the cultural communities in Quebec. The party has always been seen doling out very tough and harsh policies and rhetoric against Quebecers of different cultural and religious backgrounds.
Although, the party is facing true challenge in this coming elections be being ranked far third in the recent polls, however, it’s clear that it misses the momentum to adapt its political platform to the general population in Quebec.
When it comes to how the party view its relation with other cultural groups in the province, the “chart des valeurs” presented by the PQ is considered the manifestation of such policies towards diverse Quebecers. After their outstanding defeat in the 2014 elections, the party has witnessed tremendous political blows whose waves are felt up till now.
Green Party of Quebec
The PVQ is a Quebec political party whose platform is based on promoting greener values. They are orientated towards the promotion of sustainable development and participatory democracy. The party wants to differentiate itself from other political parties in Quebec by representing the left federalists of the province.
The PVQ is a coalition of activists and citizens for whom environmental issues are a priority. They believe that the government should help form a greener and more equal and democratic society. Their main principles are inspired by the Global Greens Charter which revolves around six main ideas: ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability and respect for diversity.
The PVQ has promoted diversity in the province by promoting women candidates from different Quebec ethnic, cultural and religious groups.
This blog is intended to give a brief general idea of the main political provincial parties participating in the Quebec general elections, which are to be held on Oct. 1, 2018. As we draw nearer to this date, it must be reminded that Quebecers have proven time and again that when it comes to the moment of truth, politically, their love, unity and harmony has trumped many attempts at fear-mongering and disillusionment.
Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF).