Why You Should Vote Bloc and Why I Will Not
You’re all going to accuse me of being a bourgeois socialist so let’s just make one thing clear right away:
I am. Big time.
I’m from the very bourgeois NDG and given we are exactly the same age, I came just this close to being bourgeois pinup Justin Trudeau’s classmate at the very bourgeois Collège Brébeuf. In my youth there’s been yacht clubs and brunches at the Hôtel Bonaventure. I’ve owned plenty of penny loafers and polo shirts.
That said bourgeoisie doesn’t always rhyme with money and I’ve got more working class patches than most of you bitches. I’ve got a taxi driver’s pocket number and I’ve hauled big rigs all the way down to MS and BC. I’ve been union. I’ve even been a Teamster.
(Although looking back at my trucking days, cruising in New England in my Volvo, sipping allongés from my in-cab coffee machine and listening to René Homier-Roy on my satellite radio, I have to admit I was still pretty bourgeois…)
As we head into worldwide financial apocalypse, all indicates that on next Tuesday Canadians are going to re-elect a Conservative government determined to avenge the memory of Herbert Hoover, who was kicked out of the White House in 1933 just as his Great Depression action plan of doing absolutely nothing for four years and letting the markets sort themselves out was just about to show some results, or so he said.
Great Britain is about to nationalize British banks and George W. Bush nationalized AIG, Freddie Mac and Fanny May. It doesn’t matter what your political ideology is or what Stephen Harper thinks about it, this is the new world order.
No other party than the Bloc has as many people who have first hand experience with the Québec tradition of using the state as an economic and financial agent with institutions like la Caisse de Placement et de Dépôt du Québec, Hydro-Québec, la Société Générale de Financement and the like. No party has as much knowledge on how such institutions work and how they fail. Conservatives are hostile to government intervention. The Bloc has people that understand government intervention.
Québec’s Quiet Revolution was Canada’s most wide-ranging, most recent and most successful attempt to use the state to manage and reform an economy. No other party can claim to represent the legacy of the Quiet Revolution better than the sovereigntists and the Bloc. The Bloc can’t form the government but we need their knowledge and expertise in Parliament and in the committees.
By definition sovereigntists have not been afraid of overhauling institutions. At the root of the sovereingtist movement there are people who spent their whole lives taking on corporations for the benefit of people who had no capital and limited power.
The Bloc’s left is not the old left. More than any other party, even more than the NDP, the sovereingtist movement counts people who have been at the front lines of novel and progressive ways of thinking about the markets and capitalism. Think of Yves Michaud (goolge’s sad translation) and what he’s done for shareholder activism or of Parti québécois vice-president François Rebello and his work for socially responsible investing.
The Bloc can’t make Québec an independent country without another referendum. You can support the Bloc without supporting sovereignty. Don’t let your Canadian nationalism stand in the way.
That said, I ain’t voting for the Bloc.
I vote in the riding of Westmount Ville-Marie and in my riding the MP is not chosen by the voters. It’s chosen by the members of The Party. Over here, as in the Soviet Union and in China, people don’t vote for ideas or candidates, they vote for the colour red. In 2006 the Liberals had an 11 000 vote majority. In 2004 it was 16 000.
The Conservatives are not a threat here. Our only hail mary hope for some change is for the riding’s sizable progressives (like myslef) and the handful or separatists (also like myslef) and the enviromentalists (that’s me) unite together like they did in neighboring Outremont and elect the NDP’s Anne Lagacé-Dowson.
In last Wednesday’s Gazette – Montreal’s Anglo newspaper – Lagacé-Dowson and Thomas Mulcair, the NDP MP from Outremont defended their support for a Bloc québécois bill that would’ve extended bill 101’s protection of the right to work in French to the federal service in Québec and to other federally chartered institutions.
“To give you the simplest possible example, a woman working at the Royal Bank doesn’t have the same linguistic rights as her colleague working across the street at the Caisse Populaire”, Mulcair told the Gazette.
He did qualify his support, saying he only wanted to extend the debate to committee, but you can’t deny it takes a serious set of mexican huevos for a pair of Anglos to defend the expansion of the Charter of the French Language in an English newspaper in the middle of an election campaign.
Armchair socialists of the world unite!