Why voting Green could be the breath of fresh air our divided province needs

Speculations about a fall election in Quebec have been going around for months now, and on August 1, Premier Jean Charest finally confirmed the rumours that we will be heading to the polls in the first week of September. Since then, the three leading parties (the Parti Québecois, the Coalition Avenir Québec, and the ruling Liberals) have been at each other’s throats, pointing fingers and blaming each other for all the problems our province has been facing in the last several years. Accusations of corruption have plagued the Liberal Party; the PQ has been depicted as our very own homegrown excuse to tolerate xenophobia, and let’s face is; the CAQ’s leader François Legault will say anything to get himself elected.

Are these really the only options we have? A few people that, in the end, will either alienate huge chunks of the voter base, or continue to steal our tax dollars for the benefit of their greedy, wealthy counterparts? There has to be something better out there.

Enter Claude Sabourin and the Green Party of Quebec. I bet many Quebeckers had no idea our province even had a branch of the Green Party since the smaller parties are usually overshadowed by the bigger, more “legitimate” parties. But we have an opportunity to give the little guys a chance, and here are a few reasons why the Greens could be a viable option for a province afflicted with a profuse amount of problems.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way; the Green Party has always been about promoting sustainability, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, encouraging investment in community gardens, bike paths, public transportation and protecting green spaces. It’s not a secret that this is the kind of platform the Greens will run on. But after the intensely hot and dry summer we’ve had, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we’re facing an environmental crisis that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Even the most skeptic climate change deniers can’t keep on saying that it’s all a myth and this unusually warm weather we’re having is just a phase. It’s not.

The Green Party doesn’t just have one song to sing though. If you’re not aware, the current provincial government has had a few problems with CEGEP and university students over planned tuition hikes. In fact, it’s been one of the biggest issues our province has faced in the last year with nightly protests, oppressive police presence, unreasonable mass arrests, vandalism and violent disagreements among students on both sides of the argument. Whether you’re in favour of, or against the tuition hikes, the problem won’t necessarily be solved with a simple election. The Green Party’s position on higher-level education is that tuition should be free, but for the moment, a tuition freeze and proper debates will at least put a stop to the protest and get students back to school.

If there’s one issue that affects each and every one of us, it’s the state of our environment. If you’re Anglophone, Francophone, Allophone, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Asian, Caucasian, black, white, red, yellow… it doesn’t matter. We don’t have to share the same language or social values, but we do have to share the same planet. The Green Party of Quebec could be the party that unites Quebeckers and finally breaks down the barriers that divide us all.

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About Owen Nagels

As a citizen of the planet, Owen has a passion for people, human rights, the environment and travelling the world. His journey has led him through Europe, Central America and Southeast Asia, as well as several places around Canada and the US. Although he loves print media, he is finishing up his undergrad in Broadcast Journalism at Concordia University, and would like to go on to work for shows like The Passionate Eye, The Fifth Estate or Doc Zone, and maybe even (fingers crossed!) The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. Owen hopes to make a difference in people’s lives by travelling the globe, raising awareness about issues like poverty, environmental degradation and political corruption.

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