I still have not found, in garage sales, one of the t-shirts produced by the Bloc Québécois in 1993 which read: “This is the first and the last election of the Bloc Québécois. It wasn’t naivety. It was optimism. At the time, independence seemed within reach. The garment was missing an asterisk referring to small print: “As long as independence is achieved before the next federal election.” “
That was already nine federal elections. All nine times, I voted Bloc. Always by conviction, of course. But sometimes also out of friendship, out of habit, even out of spite. Not this year. This year, my vote for the Bloc is that of a castaway who throws himself on the only lifeline available. This year, I bless the electoral stars for having reserved for Quebeckers who combine my orientations – progressives, ecologists, feminists, nationalists and separatists – a box on their ballot allowing them to escape from what would otherwise be a major dilemma.
Imagine our distress if the Bloc were not there. Our nationalist spirit would like to reject Justin Trudeau, who intends to give in to his instinct to flout our autonomy in health and who intends to put the weight of the Canadian state in contesting our law on secularism. Our environmentalist and feminist enthusiasm prevents us from supporting a Conservative Party whose last congress denied the existence of the climate crisis and whose majority of deputies never stop cutting back on the right to abortion. We would like, with Jagmeet, to tax the ultrarich, turn off the tap on hydrocarbon subsidies and have our dental care reimbursed, but here is another one who, once in power, will balk at respecting our collective decisions and who counts in his caucus a good contingent of Quebec bashers.
Without the Bloc, we would be forced to do complicated calculations. Well, we would have less money for health with the Conservatives, but these amounts would be granted unconditionally. Still, we would have ten times more with the Liberals. And we really need it to pay return premiums to retired or resigning nurses? Could we force Trudeau to choose only conditions that we already meet? If yes, how ? Once elected, he would be his head.
With O’Toole, we would have at least a single tax return, immigration powers and Bill 101 in federally chartered businesses. But he would preside over a revival of oil exploration which would make us accomplices in global warming and outcasts in all international meetings on the climate.
We could decide to send a contingent of New Democrats in the hope of putting one of the major parties in a minority position, but what guarantee would we have except for the climate, the ultra-rich and the teeth, this party which supported the law on clarity will not give us company on essential questions?
Imperfections that resemble us
You see, it wouldn’t be manageable. The Bloc Québécois is not perfect, but its imperfections are the closest to ours. Faced with a minority government, no force can serve as a lever as well as the Bloc to pull decisions towards the orientations that unite us, as much on health as on abortion, the climate or the closing of tax havens. Are you, like me, opposed to the third link? Take your Bloc card to vote this winter in a body near you on a resolution calling on Yves-François Blanchet never to address this issue again.
Canada is moving towards a minority Liberal government, which is therefore weakened. As of Tuesday, leaks will appear telling us who, where and when lucid Liberals strongly advised Trudeau against calling an unnecessary and risky election. It is that the unofficial race for his succession will begin. Even at O’Toole, the aftermath of defeat promises to be bleak. He will be accused of having sacrificed the sacred cows of the party – on the carbon tax, on weapons – in a futile race towards the center. The ultras will want revenge.
Faced with these parties wounded by the electoral ordeal, a strengthened Bloc Québécois, having stolen ridings from both the Liberals and the Conservatives, will perhaps not have in Ottawa the “real power” promised during the 1993 campaign, but a real balance of power. Especially since a significant increase in votes and Bloc members would undoubtedly embody the desire of Quebeckers to be heard for what they are: a nation.
On Monday, the Quebec voter is therefore in front of the Gordian knot. No one before Alexander the Great had succeeded in unraveling it. He, who no doubt had a busy schedule, decided not to waste time unraveling the entanglement. With a blow of his sword he cut the knot. It is up to us, Monday, to extricate ourselves from the muddle served by the Canadian parties and to decide in the heart of the matter, with a Bloc.