Chantier politique: The electoral campaign is coming to an end. What is the call being given by the PMLQ in these final days of the campaign?
Pierre Chénier: Our call to Quebeckers is to use our collective political wisdom to ensure that the end result of this election is not a majority government. The next government will be that of an anti-social offensive against the people and their society. It will continue to cooperate with the United States to integrate Quebec, as an integral part of Canada, into its Homeland Security apparatus. However, in the case of a minority government, it will be more difficult for it to claim that it has such a mandate. It gives some breathing room for the people and it must be understood that this space is created by the refusal of Quebeckers to be silenced by the election. It is created through the people’s rejection of the incredible vulgarity seen in this election and their insistence to put forward their needs, demands and aspirations to build a modern Quebec which defends the rights of all.
If the people are able to prevent the election of a majority government, this would be a very positive thing, in the sense of it being easier to keep the next government in check. It would also create a situation where workers, youth and women develop their capacity to assert their claims on the society that are theirs by right. In other words, to themselves define the Quebec they require in order to develop the political mechanisms that will provide them with the power to bring about the changes they consider necessary.
In that regard, the PMLQ calls on the workers and people to remain vigilant, as the ruling elite and the traditional parties that form the cartel in the National Assembly blame those who seek to effect real change outside of the control of these parties and the private interests they represent. They accuse the people of giving in to manipulation, turning to extremism and even racism when it is they who are the manipulators. They are the ones who defend the extremist positions of the big private interests, a narrow minority that seizes all of society’s wealth. It is they who divide the people on every basis possible, racial or otherwise. They try to instil the fear of the “other” to smash the national and social cohesion of Quebeckers. This is the preferred method of the Canadian state, which always makes Quebec the first target of attack. This is unacceptable and must not pass.
Chantier politique: What do you foresee as the results of this election?
Pierre Chénier: On the eve of the election, the polls and the experts are saying different things. Some predict the election of a majority Coalition Avenir Québec government. We’ll see tomorrow. Others say that the race is still too close to call. They don’t know how to call it because with a first past the post voting system there is no direct correlation between a majority of votes and a majority of seats. And the forecasts that are being made do not factor in the capability of the working class to bring to bear its collective intelligence in influencing the vote in a manner that indicates their rejection of all these parties and their neo-liberal policies.
Of course the ruling class wants a majority government to be able to continue wrecking all arrangements that defend the public interest, as well as to intensify the privatization of social programs, union busting and the marginalization of all organizations fighting for social justice, better health care and for the protection of the environment. It declares that it is they who are damaging the economy, who are extremist, and every pretext is used to prevent workers from intervening in the political arena. The ruling class has a lot at stake in this election and has at its disposal all the means and resources to manipulate the vote and obtain the desired outcome. What’s interesting is that other than one newspaper that wants the election of a liberal-leaning government, the other newspapers, the media of the elite, do not want to come out openly in favour of a CAQ government.
But as we have said, workers also have a sense of their strength and their intervention and can have an impact even when all the odds are against them. If they are unable to achieve this in this election, they will surely do so next time around.
Chantier politique: What is the work of the PMLQ in this situation?
Pierre Chénier: The work of the PMLQ is to organize so that the people can vest decision-making power in themselves over all of the society’s affairs. We are doing this in a practical and concrete way in this election by ensuring that the voice and concerns of workers are heard. In our opinion, this is the first step in addressing the need for political mechanisms that provide people with power and enable them to play a role that favours them. We call on everyone to join with us in this work that has generated a lot of interest and whereby the real problems of life and of work are presented by those experiencing them. This bodes well for the coming period.