It is often said that Manon Massé performed better than expected in the recent Quebec provincial election debates, and that this has resulted in a newfound curiosity with Quebec Solidaire, as demonstrated by a hike in support according to recent polls. Beyond good debate performances, support for sovereignty, and promises of free services, what exactly are the principles by which this party is guided?
The answer, in part, is found in its title. QS claims to be a movement of social solidarity, and its main objective, according to its website, is for all action to be based on the real needs of the population. So there it is, QS wants to use the legislature and the machinery of the state to address and satisfy our real needs.
At first glance such principles can seem noble. But once the nature of the state is properly understood, one can only conclude that QS’s program is not only destined for failure, but also for the impoverishment of the province, and that behind its veil of nobility lies a patronizing and ideological autocracy.
Consider, for example, the many ways one can help respond to the real needs of the population. One can create voluntary associations and charitable organizations; one can hold fund-raising events; and one can lend a hand and volunteer. The folks at QS, however, have opted to spend their energy fighting for control over the state.
Why? Wouldn’t their energy be spent more efficiently doing other things? Yes, but the state possesses that which changes everything, a monopoly over the legitimate use of force. With an appearance of legitimacy and with the threat of imprisonment, only the state has the power to confiscate and redistribute wealth as it sees fit, and only the state can coerce certain forms of human behaviour through the force of law.
This is what makes the state dangerous. This is why checks and balances must be in place, and this is why our leaders should demonstrate prudence and restraint in using these powers. QS, however, which claims that the state is little more than a tool to be used to help people, shows little restraint, and its eagerness to exercise these powers is somewhat troubling.
“We must begin by taking significant and major action, starting immediately! Minor measures are not what’s needed. We need a 180 degree turn!”, urges co-spokesperson Manon Massé on Tout le monde en parle. She mentions that the PQ’s environmental policy is insufficiently coercive. And in order to remind us of the extent to which QS is prepared to use force, she adds, “Do not forget, our sole objective is to give the necessary strike (coup de barre) in order to ensure that we will have a real impact on climate change.”
It is quite clear then that with QS at the realm we are looking at a 180 degree revolution, and that there would be plenty of coercion andcoups de barreto go along. But no worries, Ms. Massé and Mr. Nadeau-Dubois stand in solidarity with us, and they will be in a position to determine, for us and our families, what our needs really are and what measures are necessary to properly address them.
Ms. Massé and Mr. Nadeau-Dubois would very much like it if we’d just recognize their good intentions, get on board, and joyfully contribute to their social engineering movement. Its coercive nature, however, as well as the inevitable waste and explosion of costs, can only result in the exact opposite, the sowing of anger and resentment.
Our leaders must show themselves hesitant to use the power of the state, for history well-testifies that the use of state power to implement radical socialist policies leads to debt, poverty, dependence on the state, and the eroding of that which gives meaning to our lives, individual liberty and responsibility. True social solidarity, therefore, must be voluntary, for this is the nature that sows generosity, charity, and human compassion.
« Nous sommes un mouvement populaire. Populaire parce que Québec solidaire fonde toute son action sur les besoins réels de la population. »
My transcription and my translation of the debate on Tout le monde en parle
« Il faut commencer par des gestes importants, majeurs, dès maintenant! Ce n’est pas des mesurettes que ça prend. Ça prend un virage à 180 degrés!»
Elle rajoute que le programme du PQ en matière environnementale n’a pas suffisamment de « mesures contraignantes »
« N’oubliez-pas, nous, notre objectif unique, il est de donner le coup de barre qui est nécessaire pour nous assurer qu’on va avoir un réel impact sur les changements climatiques.»
(The above article was first published in the Prince Arthur Herald)