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Democracy

NATIONAL QUESTION

The Green Party of Quebec is a progressive federalist political party that differs from classical Canadian federalism. The recognition of Quebec as a nation is one of the top priorities of the Green Party of Quebec. On the other hand, we consider that our eco-socialist program is fully achievable within Canada and we are fully committed to working hands in hands with the other progressive forces of the country for the sake of the environment and the greater good for all Quebecers.

Although we recognize Quebec's right to self-determination and the legitimacy of a succession followed by a legitimate democratic process, we believe that Quebec has everything to gain by remaining within the Canadian federation. The majority of the environmental jurisdiction, the education and the health are already provincial.

CONSTITUTIONAL DEMANDS

The federalist position of the Quebec Green Party does not mean that it endorses all of Canada's positions. On the contrary, there is still a lot of work to be done to improve this country. On one hand, the Canadian Constitution does not guarantee the right to a healthy environment.

On the other hand, it does not allow provinces to formally express themselves on inter-provincial projects. Legally speaking, the provinces currently have no right to intervene on intra-provincial pipeline issues, nor are they allowed to rule on projects close to their borders, such as projects there is Petroleum Port in Belledune (NB) and the Chalk River (ONT) Nuclear Dump. This problem is not specific to Quebec; the position of the federal government in the Alberta-British Columbia dispute over the Kinder Morgan pipeline demonstrates the lack of independence of some provinces such as Quebec and British Columbia.

Any constitutional reform must also be accomplished with a view to reconciliation with indigenous peoples and formally recognize indigenous nations, their governments and their right to self-determination. This reform should include the right to a healthy environment. In addition, all provinces will have a veto for projects that pass through First Nations territories, such as pipelines. The decentralization of power is one of the priorities of the Green Party of Quebec.

REFORM OF THE DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS

REFORM OF THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM

The Green Party of Quebec supports a reform of the voting system so that the National Assembly is more representative of the popular vote. In this sense, we propose a mixed compensatory regional electoral system.

In this new voting system, voters would be invited to vote in two stages; firstly, for a member of their constituency and secondly, for the political party of their choice. Of the 125 MPs in the National Assembly, 75 would be constituency MPs (elected under FPTP) and 50 would be MPs for regional compensation.

The 50 compensation seats would be spread across 8 electoral regions. The seats in each electoral region would be distributed proportionally according to the votes cast for the political parties (second vote) using the Sainte-Laguë method. In the event that a party obtains more than 2% of the vote nationally without successfully electing a regional or constituency MP, the number of seats in the National Assembly would be increased so that Parties can be represented in a room.

FIXED DATES ELECTIONS

With regard to fixed date elections, the Green Party of Quebec supports this principle and considers that the law should be strengthened, to close the loopholes allowing the governing party to ask the lieutenant-governor for the dissolution of the National Assembly at any time. 

FIRST NATIONS REPRESENTATION

In a perspective of reconciliation with the Aboriginal nations, the National Assembly of Quebec will have to offer at least one seat in chambers for each of the 11 nations of Quebec, as well as for those who live off reserves. This change should be the subject of consultation with First Nations and should be implemented with the consent of First Nations and with respect to our nation-to-nation relationship with Aboriginal peoples.

POWER TO THE MUNICIPALITIES

On the 22nd of December 2012, the municipality of Gaspé made history by adopting a rule that bans the oil-rigs in a 10 kilometers radius around an artesian well. Even though the Marois government has promised to give more power to the municipalities, the government broke that promise, and the tribunals just invalidated the reglementation for the city of Gaspé. The Green Party of Quebec supports the city’s request to demand a bill allowing municipalities to have the last say on such projects that affect their territories.

The Green Party of Quebec believes in strong local communities that have control over their own development and their right to say NO to economic development projects that are not in their best interest. The decentralization of power will allow municipalities to guarantee their own development, while respecting their environment and their interests as well as their values/beliefs. Nowadays, municipalities are at the mercy of the economic powers that want to exploit their resources and they need powerful judiciary  tools to protect their populations. The greatest economic development, social or community projects are those that are able to receive support from the local population, as well as social acceptance. We have to stop imposing projects on communities that don’t want them to begin with.

MEASURES TO FACILITATE DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

In Quebec, the population has shown a general tendency to be less interested in the provincial elections. It has resulted in a decline in participation in the elections and a general disinterest in political news. It is our duty to ensure that the situation changes and that the tendency is reversed. Here are some of our propositions.

IMPLEMENTING ONLINE ADVANCE VOTE

Having to be physically present to cast your vote can pose an additional constraint to democratic participation. In a society where internet is so present in our lives, it is only natural that online voting should be accessible. We believe that the General Election Director should allow a pilot project that would allow advance polls online. It would significantly reduce the amount of voting fraud and counting errors. Citizens who were not able to vote online would still have the option to vote at polling stations on the election day.

VOTING RIGHT AT 16 YEARS OLD

Environmental, social and political issues are affecting today's youth more than ever. The policies adopted by the government strongly influence their lives. On the other hand, they tend not to vote on election day. To counter this phenomenon, the Green Party of Quebec proposes to lower the minimum age for voting at 16 years. Young people could vote before leaving high school, which would increase their interest in politics and encourage greater voter turnout in the present and the future.

REGISTER THE DAY OF THE VOTE

Currently, in Quebec, people who wish to vote must ensure that they are registered on the list of electors approximately two weeks before polling day. This practice disadvantages people who have recently moved and young people, who are less likely to exercise their democratic rights. In federal elections, electors can register to vote on polling day. We propose to apply this practice in provincial elections.

REFERENDUMS AND PETITIONS FOR BY-ELECTIONS 

Several jurisdictions (as in the United States, Switzerland and other countries where semi-direct democracy is exercised) allow referendums of popular initiatives to be held following the receipt of a certain number of signatures. . We propose the implementation of this model in Quebec for referendum questions, with the exception of those dealing with the independence of Quebec, which should have the support of the majority of the National Assembly. We are also proposing to allow citizens to call for new elections for MPs following the filing of a large number of signatures from constituents living in that riding.

ACCOUNTING FOR BLANK BALLOTS

Currently, in Quebec, election results are reported based on "valid votes". In other words, the state does not differentiate between rejected ballots and blank ballots. Voters should have the right to vote for "none of these candidates" and these numbers should be reflected in the official voting results.

INCREASE ELECTORAL PARTICIPATION THROUGH A POSITIVE INITIATIVE

One of the most effective tools for increasing voter turnout is to reward those who do their civic duty. To do this, the Green Party of Quebec proposes to grant a tax credit to each person who would exercise his right to vote in a provincial election. The money disbursed for these grants would be easily recovered through an increase in government efficiency through greater voter turnout.

UNVEIL EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT


For the sake of transparency, all expenses incurred by MPs and their staff should be proactively published on a web portal so that voters and journalists can be informed of how public money is spent by our representatives.

PUBLIC FORUM EVERY MONTH

In our opinion, provincial deputies should be as accessible as municipal councilors. That is, all municipal advisors should hold a citizen meeting every month to answer questions from the public. If elected, the candidates of the Green Party of Quebec commit to holding such meetings in their constituency every month.

INTRODUCING BILLS WITH SIGNATURES

Debates in the National Assembly are often very uninteresting and large political parties have difficulty finding relevant topics for debates. At the moment, only MPs can introduce bills and initiate debates on legislation. In order to make the National Assembly more dynamic and more open, we propose to allow citizens to introduce bills as a result of obtaining signatures. This could force major political parties to position themselves on bills that come from the people rather than from their own political party.

SENDING POLITICAL PROGRAMS TO THE ELECTORS

During elections, the ability of political parties to join the elections and promote their programs varies according to their financial means. To counter this inequality, we propose to mandate the Director General of Elections to include partisan information on the course and program of each candidate in elections. This information could be sent to households with the convocation of the vote and the list of candidates. France already operates with such a system and the DGEQ recommended the implementation of this policy in its most recent annual report.

SIMULATION OF ELECTIONS IN ALL PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL 

Across Quebec, some secondary schools hold similar elections at provincial and federal election meetings. These simile elections are important pedagogical tools that allow students to analyze issues, electoral platforms, candidates and parties before having to make a political choice. In addition to understanding the functioning of the electoral system, these students would be inclined to vote and have developed a critical analysis of electoral programs. We therefore propose to implement the simile elections for each elementary and secondary school in Quebec during federal, provincial and municipal elections.

CIVIC EDUCATION CLASSES

In Quebec, thousands of students finish high school every year with very little knowledge of how our democratic system works. Therefore, we propose to implement a civic participation course per week from the first to the fifth year of secondary school.

SUPPORT FOR THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL MEDIA

In Quebec, local newspapers are in great difficulty and many are disappearing. The national media has imposed significant cuts that leave citizens with less and less quality information. This reality, caused by a decline in advertising revenues in the digital age, must be addressed by the state. The Green Party of Quebec supports the establishment of a media fund that will be used to subsidize local and national media that offer quality information to citizens.

RESTRICTION OF POLLING SURVEY IN ELECTORAL PERIOD

Opinion polls during an election period have important impacts on the choice of voters and the treatment of parties by the media. The Green Party of Quebec proposes to ban polls during an election period to enable voters to make informed decisions based on information that is not distorted by opinion polls.

INCREASE THE PRESENCE OF WOMEN IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Although we are in 2018, Quebec's politics remains dominated by men. As proof, over 70% of MPs in the National Assembly are men. To correct this unacceptable situation the Green Party of Quebec proposes to introduce quotas for the representation of women in a proportional voting system. Parties would be required to present a minimum of 35% female candidates in the next general election and 50% for the following election. Quotas would remain in place for 16 years, four general elections, and their relevance would be re-evaluated at that time. Parties that do not reach quotas will see a significant reduction in their operational funding by the Director General of Elections under the public financing of political parties.

Many systemic barriers to women's participation are, unfortunately, deeply entrenched. Although these problems are primarily social, we propose, within democratic institutions, targeted changes to promote the participation of women in Quebec politics.

ALLOW MATERNITY LEAVE FOR MNA

At the moment, there is no legal way for provincial or municipal elected officials to take maternity leave. Although elected officials may be absent when voting is held, there is no possibility for them to mandate a substitute person or to perform their duties as representatives without being physically present on the board. Municipal Council or the National Assembly. We therefore propose to allow these MPs to appoint someone worthy to replace them in the event of maternity leave.

SANCTIONING POLITICAL PARTIES THAT DO NOT RESPECT GENDER PARITY

We propose to impose a financial penalty on provincial political parties that do not present a joint team during elections. The sum representing the penalty would be withdrawn from the public funding of the political parties which do not respect the established quotas. 

CREATE A FINANCIAL GRANT FOR WOMEN CANDIDATES WHO WANT TO RUN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN POLITICS

In order to encourage female candidates for election, we are proposing a grant that will help women take unpaid leave from their employer to get into politics for the first time.

SECULARISM OF THE STATE - SECULARISM OF THE INSTITUTIONS - FREEDOM OF THE PEOPLE

The Green Party of Quebec supports the secularism of our public institutions such as schools, the National Assembly, municipal institutions and those under the provincial government.

However, we support the freedom of religion of individuals and we are strongly opposed to any bill that attacks individual freedoms, including the freedom to display our faith with religious symbols or clothing. It is not up to the state to impose a dress code that goes against the Canadian Constitution.

We are of the opinion that the wearing of a religious symbol does not prevent an individual from practicing the profession of judge, crown prosecutor, prison warden, police officer, teacher, doctor, engineer, nurse or any other profession.

The Green Party wants the removal of the cross in the National Assembly as soon as possible.

AN EFFICIENT, ACCESSIBLE AND EQUAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM

An accessible judicial system is a fundamental pillar to a democratic and free society. In Québec, the judicial system is slow and painful for its users. The lack of resources has produced many delays and eventually led to the R v Jordan case that caused many criminals to be released. A Green government would invest the necessary resources to resolve the problem.

Many citizens have had problems to have their rights respected because the system at the moment is inaccessible and too costly for many. Access to resources in the judiciary system should be adjusted to the revenue and not be a flat rate as it is the case at the moment.

Racialized people, from the linguistic minorities are often disadvantaged by the judicial system. The GPQ commits to fight the inequalities that are omnipresent in the system today.

RIGHT TO PROTEST

The Green Party of Quebec supports the right to demonstrate, to strike and to express oneself freely without suffering from state violence perpetrated by the police. During the 2012-2013 student movement, thousands of young Quebecers were illegally arrested, held and sometimes brutalized by law enforcement agencies who apply anti-constitutional laws to this unprecedented social movement. The Green Party of Quebec opposes any settlement or attack on our democracy, our freedom to assemble peacefully and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Green Party of Quebec