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Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed: Vote for the Quebec you wish to see

It's time for us to take a long and hard look at the issues that matter to us and have an impact on our everyday lives as Quebecers.

A man casts his ballot at a polling station in the provincial elections on October 1, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec.
A man casts his ballot at a polling station in the provincial elections on October 1, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec. Photo by MARTIN OUELLET-DIOTTE /AFP/Getty Images

The provincial election is around the corner. The leaders of each political party have spoken and misspoken, acted and reacted to what they feel Quebecers want and need. Now the choice is up to us. It’s our turn to show up and cast our ballots Monday.

Voter turnout in 2018 was low, 66.45 per cent. What’s positive, however, is that turnout at advance polls has been strong, at 23 per cent, surpassing the previous record and a good omen for total turnout.

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It’s time for us to take a long and hard look at the issues that matter to us and have an impact on our everyday lives as Quebecers: a shattered health-care system, labour shortages, a fragile education system, inflation, infrastructure in our province, and so much more.

The majority government we have had for the past four years has made decisions about what Quebecers can wear, what professions they can pursue, what languages they can speak at work, directly contributed to a stampede of health-care workers leaving the profession, and so much more.

Gone are the days when you may have felt that your choice was automatic. This time around, there are several parties worth considering. Gone are the days when you might have thought your vote did not matter and would not make a difference. With more serious parties in the running, results will be split, and it could take fewer total votes to win. Every one of our votes matters. This weekend would be a great time to call friends and family members to make sure they plan on voting Monday if they haven’t already, even offer to carpool. The ability to vote is a right we are fortunate to have and one that we cannot afford to take for granted. People around the world, including Canadians, have fought and died for the right to vote. The least we can do is travel to our polling station to cast our ballot.

Questions about how the pandemic was handled or mishandled should also be assessed. The fact that our province, for a good stretch of the start of the pandemic, was the Canadian epicentre for cases and continued to have some of the harshest measures in North America should be accounted for. I can only imagine how all those who lost loved ones in CHSLDs during the peak of the pandemic will be voting knowing that in some of those cases, those deaths could have been prevented. How will those who sympathize with the Indigenous community vote after seeing how poorly the death of Joyce Echaquan was handled? How will members of the Black community vote after the countless instances of racial profiling we’ve seen in this province, a scourge that continues?

It is an important time to assess what kind of leadership we wish to have at the helm of our province. I dream of a leader who will unite Quebecers, and not further alienate marginalized communities or sow seeds of division.

If you’re still undecided about whom to vote for come Monday, ask yourself what kind of Quebec you wish to see. Is it one where diversity and inclusion are embraced? Is it one where individuals are valued for what is in their heads rather than what is on their heads? Is it one that welcomes immigrants and values the experience and qualifications that they bring?

I’d love to see a return to more inclusive and harmonious Quebec, one full of opportunity, where we celebrate our differences rather than marginalize those who are different. One where we focus on strengthening the economy over strengthening language laws that impede economic recovery and last, but certainly not least, where we can all be proud to live.

Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed is the founder and editor in chief of, a lifestyle blog.

  1. Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault appears at a candidate announcement in July.

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