Québec solidaire is the most morally conscious party in the upcoming election
While the other major parties appeal mostly to the majority—the white, middle class of Quebec—Québec solidaire is dedicated to protecting visible minorities and lower-income people. They have been consistently open about the core of their plan: to increase taxes on corporations and the mega-rich, and increase social services for the lower classes. They’ve stated that they will raise taxes for citizens earning more than $97,000 per year, and lower taxes for those earning less than $80,000, while those between these income brackets would see no change.
With this new tax system as well as other initiatives—such as lessening our dependance on big pharmaceutical companies by buying drugs in bulk and selling them to individual citizens at a lower rate—Québec solidaire said it will free up $12.9 billion in taxpayer money to invest in public programs.
One of the party’s goals is to make dental insurance free and accessible to all. Their mandate is to offer a 100 per cent rebate for people with low income and citizens under 18 who visit the dentist. Other citizens will get an 80 per cent reimbursement on cleanings and preventive care, and 60 per cent for curative care.
The party will launch an inquiry into systemic racism in the province, and will implement a strict quota to ensure visible minorities represent 25 percent of new employees in Quebec businesses until an overall representation rate of 13 per cent is achieved. They also plan to gradually change the organization of our educational system, from kindergarten to university, to make it free for everyone in the next five years.
These are only a few of the party’s plans, but I hope it gives a sense of their core values. Other initiatives that I don’t have the space to list here have demonstrated the party’s unwavering dedication to issues of environmental sustainability, women and LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous peoples, immigrants and Quebec’s homeless population.
They believe that these ambitious goals are incompatible with the values and organization of Canada’s federal government, and so they are promising a referendum in their first term. While I am personally not sure where I stand on this, I would be very surprised if the overall vote was in favour of separating Quebec to be its own country, so it is not an issue that I am particularly concerned about.
Many of the party’s critics claim their figure of $12.9 billion in savings is an overestimate, but in my opinion the actual figure is less important than the intention behind it. The bottom line is that Québec solidaire is going to take from the rich and give to the poor. If you are among the higher-income classes, it is not in your self-interest to vote for this party. But self-interest is the very mentality that Québec solidaire attempts to confront. They are more interested in the communal good, and that is what sets them apart from other parties in the race.
Another common critique of the party is that they are going to drive wealthy people and corporations out of the province. Although, in my opinion, this is probably not true. Assuming it is: What makes that such a bad thing? Why do we insist on protecting the interest of the wealthy over the survival of the poor? To preserve jobs? Are we really so dependant on corporations that we need to keep their profits in the millions or billions so their CEOs can buy yachts, private jets or a Westmount mansion while we work all week to barely make rent?
If many corporations did leave the province under Québec solidaire’s government, wouldn’t smaller businesses step up and take their place? We should be saying good riddance to massive corporate hierarchies rather than begging them to stay.
The biggest problem Québec solidaire faces in this election is that the majority of its support comes from the demographic that is least likely to vote: young people. Our parents and grandparents will continue to vote Liberal as they always do, therefore it is up to us to go out and make our voices heard.
Quebec residents can vote in the LB building at Concordia on Sept. 25, 26, and 27, but only from their electoral district on Oct. 1.
Graphic by Ana Bilokin