With the latest poll from Ipsos Reid showing a decline in support for the Parti Québécois, it is clear that voters are turning away from politicians who seek to divide the people of the province and rely on the fear and fervour created by wedge issues.
The question of the anglophone role in the Quebec elections is more than just a question of how to vote; it is a question of what kind of politics we want to see both now and in the future. To some extent, we should reject the question “What should the anglophone role be?” Politicians have been content to play off of linguistic divisions in order to score cheap political points. While it is not unreasonable to use these electoral cleavages to analyze voting tendencies, asking what the anglophone vote should select presupposes that it should be a bloc.
The risk then is that we, instead of thinking of ourselves as varied individuals defined by a variety of political interests, choose to pit ourselves against each other by the sheer assumption that we care more about our language than the issues that we all face together.
The Liberal Party of Canada has been, is, and always will be a federalist party. This means we support a country that celebrates our differences, unites multiple interests into a national vision, and seeks to enable the achievement of those interests through a strong economy that supports Canada’s middle class. As far as what the role of the anglophone vote should be, it should be to do more than just vote. It should be to have a voice that speaks out against the divisive politics of fear that leaders perpetuate. It should be a voice that demands to hear solutions, not just problems. It should be a voice that seeks to reach out to other communities, and not just shrink within itself in fear of discrimination. For while fear is a powerful motivator, the solutions it provides are often not sustainable.
We do not want to divide our nation. Relying on an anglophone identity performs a disservice to all Quebecers—regardless of their primary language—who have the hope to pursue their ideas for a sustainable future, a strong economy, and are willing to devote the hard work needed to achieve those goals. It’s time we demand an environment that allows us to put those ideas forward.