By Jason Menard
Maybe, after all has been said and done, we’ll see that Quebec separatists have the right idea.
I’m not talking about tearing the country apart, of course. But, as all signs point to a wide-spread sweep of the province for the Bloc, they seem to have their priorities right when it comes to voting for a federal election.
Many of us have spent these last few days leading up to the election still juggling in our minds which party we should support in Monday’s balloting. For many, the question is not ‘Which party do I like best,’ but ‘Which party is the lesser evil?’
People who once described themselves as staunchly red or blue, are now blinded by shades of grey. There are those who would love to support the NDP or Green parties, but feel that their vote would be ‘wasted’ on the national level.
This is an election unlike any other over the past two decades, and normal voting patterns have been thrown out the window in lieu of strategy and big-picture thinking. But one problem with looking at the big picture is that the smaller details tend to blur out of focus.
So Quebec has it right. For the rest of Canada, we’re so busy looking at a macro level that we’ve neglected our own backyard. Our obsession with determining which head of the Martin/Harper/Layton hydra would end up biting us the least has prevented us from looking locally to see who is the candidate that will truly affect change in our everyday lives.
Maybe it’s a selfish concept, but really, when it gets down to brass tacks most of us heading to the ballot box are not looking to altruistically subjugate ourselves for the masses. We want to know ‘what’s in it for us?’ Quebecers have figured that out and that’s why the Bloc is so popular!
For many soft-separatists or even federalists who vote Bloc, they’re not necessarily casting their ballot for separatism. Rather they’re casting their ballots for a party that has Quebec’s best interests at heart — and really, what’s wrong with that?
Many of us complain that our elected representatives seem to vote along party lines, rather than by what their constituency wants. But that’s what the Party system has bred – the ruling party has to be as palatable and inoffensive to the masses in order to keep their hold of power. So instead of working on the micro level, they’ll take a macro view – and that’s when the details start to blur.
This election offers us a chance to take back some of that power! We’re so firmly entrenched in this Party system of government that, chances are, there’s no going back. However, as we look to a probable minority government, our local representation becomes that much more important.
As a governing party looks to build consensus, they’ll need to negotiate and offer concessions with those sitting across the Parliament floor. In the absence of a dominant Party able to force a collective view through the system, the smaller, regional groups can rise up to fill the void. Put it this way, with a block (no pun intended) of seats estimated to number in the 70s, do you not think that Quebec’s interests will be well represented in a minority government?
So as you deliberate as to whom will receive your vote, spend more than a fleeting moment thinking about your local riding. When we go to the ballot box, the names on the ballot aren’t of the leaders, but rather those of our local representation. So let’s take this opportunity to hold them accountable.
More than ever, each vote in this election matters. By voting for the candidate you feel will best represent you and your community you can send a message to the federal government that Canada as a whole can’t be painted with the same brush. Rather it has to be appreciated for the rich social and cultural mosaic that it is!
So, in an ironic twist, maybe the Bloc will strengthen this country after all! If we vote for strong regional representation, like Quebecers do, then our elected officials will have to work in the best interests of all Canadians!
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