I firmly believe that climate change is the greatest challenge of the 21st century. If we, as a society, want to get serious about protecting the environment, we can’t keep relying on oil for our energy needs while ignoring the serious impacts of its production, consumption, and transportation. To preserve the fragile ecosystems of Anticosti Island and the St. Lawrence watershed, and also to avoid tragedies such as that experienced last summer in Lac Mégantic, Québec Solidaire pledges to ban both the production and transportation of unconventional oil in Quebec. This is a small, but important step towards freeing ourselves from dependence on fossil fuels: a project that we at QS have a plan to complete by 2030.
There are many people who would tell you that this is impossible, and that such a program would be a disaster for Quebec’s economy: nothing could be further from the truth. Our plan will help Quebec become a world leader in green technology, while transforming our cities and neighbourhoods by making them more walkable, more accessible to cyclists, and better served by more convenient and affordable public transportation. Imagine having time to read or to engage with the people in your neighbourhood during your commute, instead of being stuck alone in your car crawling through traffic. Imagine cleaner air, greener streets, and more vibrant communities built to a human scale. That’s our vision.
Now I know what you’re thinking: we’re dreaming. Did you know, however, that QS has a concrete plan outlining exactly how we can turn this dream into reality? Did you know that this plan includes recommendations and best practices developed by professionals in urban planning and the environment? If you don’t believe me, you should check it out for yourself! It explains how we’ll reduce energy waste (and lower heating costs) by renovating buildings. It explains how we’ll use those energy savings, along with new sources of renewable energy, to electrify our public transit systems nationwide. It details all of our new investments and the jobs they’ll create, as well as all the benefits of investing more money into Hydro-Québec instead of foreign-owned oil companies.
Ambitious? Yes. Transformational? Yes. Realistic? Absolutely. All we need is you.
— Manon Massé Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques
Previous governments, PQ and Liberal alike, have been trying to balance the budget by increasing fees for public services like Hydro and daycare, instead of making the biggest companies and the wealthiest individuals pay their fair share. Austerity widens the gap between the haves and the have-nots, and we at Québec Solidaire believe that this is no way to build a fair society. Québec Solidaire is committed to raising taxes on big businesses in the financial and resource sectors as well as raising income tax on the wealthiest Quebecers in order to fund quality and accessible healthcare, schools, and daycares. That means new, well-paid, stable, and secure jobs, many of which will go to women and new Quebecers.
For Québec Solidaire, a fair Quebec also includes equal access to health care. Accessible health services depend on both strong front-line services as well as timely preventative care. Emergency rooms are not meant to provide preventative or non-emergency services. Due to a lack of family doctors taking patients and shortened operating hours for clinics, they are often called on to do so. That’s why we want to strengthen our CLSCs for easy, 24/7 access to health care professionals. Of course, if we want to make sure that doctors have time to discuss preventative care with patients, and to be certain that people with chronic illnesses get the regular check-ups they need, then we need to change the way doctors are paid. At Québec Solidaire, we think the total budget allowance for doctors should not be cut, but rather distributed differently. We think doctors should be paid a salary, just like everybody else, rather than on a fee-for-service basis.
Ultimately, fees are a regressive and unfair way to pay for social services: no matter your income, you have the same need as anyone else to heat your apartment, send your child to daycare, and get around. Of course, the smaller your income, the higher these fees are relative to the money you have. Fee increases hurt the most vulnerable people first by taking a larger percentage of their income than those with more money. Instead of increasing fees for public services, Québec Solidaire wants to increase the number of tax brackets from four to ten in order to raise income taxes on the highest income earners. Most people will see no change in the taxes they pay, but the small percentages paid on the capital of financial institutions and the income of the wealthiest Quebecers will ensure the quality and stability of our health, social, and educational systems for generations to come.
— Amir Khadir Mercier
To achieve a fair and green Quebec, I believe that we must give ourselves all the powers of an independent state. As a culturally distinct nation, Quebecers have a right to choose their political and cultural institutions, just like First Nations peoples. Yet a free Quebec should not define itself by exclusion. We are committed to building a free, independent Quebec at the service of everyone, with the deepest respect for the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity which makes it strong—all while ensuring that the French language, gender equality, and fair play continue to thrive in North America.
I want a Quebec free from social inequalities and environmental disasters, and I believe that we can’t achieve it without being an independent state. As long as we are part of Canada, we can’t keep out of free trade agreements with serious consequences for our farmers, can’t ensure that our young offenders are rehabilitated rather than imprisoned indefinitely, or prevent the use of strikebreakers in sectors under federal jurisdiction, like Péladeau’s Videotron did during the 2002-2003 lockout.
I also believe we cannot become an independent state without first coming together and agreeing collectively on what kind of country we want. That’s why I think the Constituent Assembly is the right way forward. If Québec Solidaire forms the government, it will hold elections for a Constituent Assembly. These elections will be set up so as to ensure not only that women and men are represented equally, but that all the cultural and historic communities which are such an important part of Quebec society have their voices heard. Once elected, this body will consult with the population and draft a constitution which will then be put to ballot.
By getting everyone involved, we can move towards the progressive society we want.
— Molly Alexander Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne