Elections 2018: Well, This Stinks

Legault’s Election Makes Me Embarrassed

François Legault won the election, but he didn’t win my heart. Courtesy Photo by the CBC

Here we are, I guess.

It’s been a week now since our provincial election took place, and I still can’t get over just how overwhelmingly the Coalition Avenir Québec won.

I say ‘’can’t get over’’ because, like a lot of people, I’m not happy.

But it’s a bizarre sort of unhappiness, one that isn’t too far off from a blazé acceptance of what happened. Of course, I’m upset about the result of the election (I wouldn’t be writing this if I wasn’t, would I?). The CAQ and its platform go back to scraping the bottom of the identity politics barrel, going after immigrants as well as bringing back the topic of religious symbols in public life.

In fact, not unlike Doug Ford, Ontario’s recently elected conservative premier, Legault has said he would use the notwithstanding clause to make sure his ruling on religious symbols comes into law.

And yet, why should I, or anyone really, have expected anything different? After all, the polls had been saying since the beginning that the CAQ was likely going to win. All that ever changed was how close it was going to be with the Liberals.

Why did they come close in the first place? For a little bit, it seemed like the CAQ was in a nosedive. One reason for that was probably the worst thing they presented as part of their platform, their immigration plan, which included proposed French tests for each immigrants after 3 years in Quebec. Not only that, they also proposed on cutting the number of immigrants altogether.

I’m no fan of the Liberal government that was just defeated, so when I’m agreeing with former premier Philippe Couillard —who challenged Legault during the debate on immigrant rights— you know that it’s a bad look for Legault and the CAQ.

Remember the major stink that caused? How the CAQ fell to be neck and neck with the Liberals barely a week before the election? How it seemed like the CAQ could do nothing right, and committed blunder after faux-pas, whether it was during debates or simply when he or any of the CAQ candidates were speaking publicly.

And yet, none of that mattered in the end, did it? Very soon into the elections result broadcast, it was over; they had a majority government.

As much as I’m unhappy about the result, I’m one of the least likely people to be negatively affected by the plans Legault and the CAQ have talked about during the campaign.

As a 22-year-old white bilingual francophone, I have almost nothing, if anything, to lose in the immediate future. I don’t have to worry about passing a test to see if I’m Québecois enough to suit the whims of the government, and I don’t have to worry about obtaining residency in Quebec. I don’t wear have any religious symbols that the new government is going to crack down upon in public life.

As it stands, the CAQ’s platform is for the privileged, for those that don’t have to worry about language, or religion, or being discriminated. The phrase ‘’the rich get richer’’ comes to mind here, and not only because of the history behind conservative economic plans.
What I do have to worry about, along with pretty much everyone else who’s going to be alive beyond the next 10 years, is the environment, and how the newly elected government is going to look into climate change.

We aren’t in the ‘’well we should do things at some’’ timeline anymore. We’re very much at the point where we are already in deep shit, and with a party at the helm of the province that ranked lowest out of the four main parts in its environmental plan according to recent surveys by environment groups and that, at best, has shown itself to not be very invested in climate change talk, we’re only going to make things worse for ourselves.

We needed to really start acting to combat climate change about 15 years ago, now is definitely not the time to start rolling back the already limited steps we were taking to combat climate change. Putting the future of literally everyone in jeopardy with a non-committal attitude towards climate change is downright shameful. With a majority government, they are guaranteed to keep this non-committal attitude in an extremely pivotal time in the fight against climate change. Once the election became focused on identity and immigration, the environment, once again, was on the backburner and was largely forgotten.

At the end of the day, despite everything, identity politics reared its ugly head in a Quebec provincial election once again; and we now have the CAQ and its overwhelming majority to show for it.

I hope you’re happy, Quebec. Because I sure ain’t.