Writer and committed citizen, the author has taught literature at college, is president of the governing board of an elementary school and member of the editorial board of Quebec letters. She co-directed and co-wrote the collective essay Shock treatments and tarts. Critical assessment of the management of COVID-19 in Quebec (All in all).
In the latest season of the Danish series Borgen, politician Birgitte Nyborg gets caught in the trap of power. Against the backdrop of the climate crisis, at the end of a crossover between international diplomacy, gas exploitation in Greenland, the emancipation of indigenous peoples and carbon neutral commitments, she comes to deny the values that brought her into politics.
A bit of deja vu? It’s that the recipe seems to be repeated here as the elections approach, feeding the cynicism of the population and showing that these trajectories are far from belonging only to fiction.
Candidate for the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) in Sherbrooke, Caroline St-Hilaire fell into the pot of the party line as soon as her candidacy was announced. Long critical of the third link, she was quickly forced to affirm that the project “has evolved”. It’s true. Its new version is “bitube”, its budget has dropped to 6.5 billion – by some magic, because it appears that the cost overruns will be dizzying and that the current evaluation is only useful to make the new link a little more socially acceptable.
Has it become the “structuring project” that the former mayor of Longueuil spoke of in June? We can doubt it, despite the addition of lanes for public transport (the minimum, isn’t it?). The CAQ continues to sweep aside any expert who speaks of induced traffic and the non-necessity of this link straight out of the last century, but whose marine ecosystems will still suffer the next century… Many will have also pointed out that this project is incompatible with the aspirations of urban densification put forward by the Legault government.
Last January, it was Shirley Dorismond who was the first to make a 360-degree turn to deny the values she defended as vice-president of the Sociopolitics, Solidarity, Status of Women sector of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ). . As soon as he announced his candidacy for the by-election in Marie-Victorin, Ms.me Dorismond is silent. His campaign consisted mainly of handshakes and smiles. Previously decrying systemic racism and the difficult conditions of health personnel during the pandemic (which studies have since confirmed), the nurse committed to social justice gave way, in front of the microphones of journalists, to an alter ego who sputtered empty sentences that spin doctors whispered in his ear.
But the electorate did not care. With Dorismond’s victory in this PQ castle, the Legault team obtained confirmation that it was enough for the CAQ not to make any mistakes to win hands down. A trial balloon for October 3 – and which no doubt explains the discretion of the Prime Minister in recent weeks, he who has fled any event that could make him look bad and cost his training precious points in the polls .
More recently, it was Martine Biron’s turn to react. Like the others, in the wake of her leap into politics with the CAQ, she had to swear allegiance to the highway tunnel that she had until then sharply criticized as an analyst. The more the candidates are “ministerable”, the bigger the snakes to swallow. And that of the third link certainly remains caught across many throats…
The challenges of the CAQ are multiple – and François Legault swims hard to make people forget his “uncle” side. Speaking of Dominique Anglade as “this lady” last Sunday did not earn her any points: her petticoat was sticking out. But even more, this clumsy turn also revealed one of the party’s communication strategies: never naming the other leaders to erase them from the discourse. The communication packaging is golden and Mr. Legault, a good student, knows it… However, such discursive pirouettes also add a layer of cynicism to the whole, illustrating that form prevails over substance in this image campaign. which opens with candy measures in the form of tax cuts.
“Without power, it is impossible to change the world,” says Ms.me Nyborg in Borgen. Indeed, but what world does the CAQ want? Of a world without a social safety net, in which the dollars drawn from the Generations Fund are distributed, while the schools are literally collapsing, like the health system? Of a world where the time of Lévisians is more valuable than marine ecosystems, than sustainable transportation, than the air we breathe in Rouyn-Noranda or in the classrooms of Quebec?
It is commendable to decide to go “to change things from within”. But is the Coalition avenir Québec a place where the actualization of ideals derogating from the fine party line can occur? “Elected in 2018 on the basis of a program that nowhere mentioned women”, as historian Camille Robert has already pointed out, the party joined them to look good – while not losing one minute when it comes time to shut them up?
Myriam Lapointe-Gagnon has received proposals from several political parties. The founder of Ma place au travail finally chose Québec Solidaire. Every day, the Cacounoise continues its fight so that all Quebec children can obtain a place in daycare. Whatever the outcome of the elections, she will never have sacrificed her freedom of speech or her convictions.
Wanting to jump on the political bandwagon hoping to be able to change things is noble, but sometimes it is better to wait for the bandwagon whose values we share — even if it is not heading full steam ahead towards the controls of the National Assembly .
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