Your minority vote matters
If there is one thing English voters can do this fall election — make a lot of noise.
Many English-speaking constituents may be thinking the same thing as we inch closer to the Oct. 3 provincial election: Who do I vote for? Will my minority vote even count? Will it take the power away from the ego-driven CAQ?
If you speak with the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), they’ll tell you that, yes, your vote does matter.
The English rights advocacy group has been the leading voice for minority rights in the province since the CAQ proposed Bill 96 four years ago. Interim president Eva Ludvig admits that defeating the Legault government will take a minor miracle this fall, but added that, just because the polls don’t favour minorities, it doesn’t mean that English speakers can’t make a ruckus.
“We can’t give up. If ever, this is the time to vote,” Ludvig told the Low Down.
She’s right. While your one vote may not swing an entire election, a loud, collective and bold statement can’t be ignored by the leaders of this province.
Ludvig pointed to a spring QCGN rally that her organization hosted to protest many of Bill 96’s provisions, namely the requirement for CEGEP students to take five French language courses to graduate.
Tens of thousands of students, teachers, staffers and English-speaking residents showed up to that rally. While it didn’t alter the bill’s fateful course, it did bring Bill 96 into the media spotlight and allowed minorities and interest groups in Quebec to unite under one collective push.
“It didn’t change Bill 96, but it was the first time that, suddenly, we started getting press,” added Ludvig. “We saw articles in La Presse, which we didn’t see before, and then other media started questioning Bill 96, and you see it more and more now.”
Since that spring rally, the QCGN won its first legal challenge in August when a Quebec judge suspended two articles of Bill 96, which required court documents to be translated into French.
And this collective voice can only get stronger. New census data shows that there are now 1.25 million English speakers in Quebec – nearly 15 per cent of the population – a number Ludvig calls “significant.”
She says the biggest mistake the Legault government has made in this whole Bill 96 debacle was giving minority groups, including English speakers, immigrants and Indigenous communities, a reason to unite.
These numbers may not be enough to swing an election, but they do give us a voice. We just need to speak louder. The next time you wonder if your vote will even matter, remember that for every person that doesn’t vote, it gives two votes to another party.
Don’t give your vote away — let it speak.
Quebecers head to the polls Oct. 3.