Prorogation of Quebec National Assembly
Complaints About Diversions Are the Diversion
On October 13, the current sitting of the Quebec National Assembly was prorogued. The prorogation period coincides with a planned break. The reason the Premier gave for prorogation was that the Assembly needs to start afresh with a new “opening address” on October 19.
Announcing the prorogation in a press release on October 7, Premier François Legault said:
“This will mark the beginning of a new parliamentary session and will be an opportunity to prepare Quebec for the post-pandemic period.”
“Thanks to the efforts of all Quebeckers, we can begin to plan for the post-pandemic. The past year and a half has transformed us and brought forward the issues critical for Quebec. In addition to completing our 2018 commitments, we must now begin the major changes for the coming years,” he added.
In other words, with the new session he will begin his campaign for re-election in October of next year, unless he uses his prerogative powers to call an election earlier so as to further enhance the odds which favour his party, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).
All the parties with seats in the National Assembly have pointed this out as have media and pundits. They say the new session is to divert the attention of voters from what is really going on. Presumably they would do better.
These complaints about diversions are really the diversion because what the situation reveals is that it is the people who should be empowered, not political parties who are said to represent them.
The opening of a new session means that bills presently before the National Assembly die on the order paper unless the Premier recalls them. He will not recall Bill 39, An Act to establish a new electoral system. Bill 39 provides for a mixed voting system with a form of regional representation. Understandably, this has upset all those who have worked hard for several years to have this bill reach the National Assembly. Letting it die on prorogation precisely underscores what is wrong with a system where unrepresentative governments can rule with impunity. This government has become past master at using prerogative powers to advance a self-serving agenda adopted by narrow private interests behind the backs of the people. Clearly, the Quebec government wants to bury its commitment for an alternative to the first-past-the-post system, just as the Trudeau government has done. This is seen to be crass opportunism based on the belief that the unrepresentative voting system favours his party at present. And it is indeed crass opportunism. However, what must not be lost from sight is the fact that any form of party government does not represent the people who require a system which empowers them to make the decisions which affect their lives. This, ruling elites want nothing to do with.
Today the role of governments is to simply dictate measures which suit the oligopolies. These oligopolies have taken over the functions of the state, of the public system and civil society organizations which are systematically replaced with private agencies. Unions, civil society organizations and an electorate have become nuisances to the ruling elite who want direct control over wages and working conditions and other conditions of life, and who treat the working people as disposable.
When it comes to the system of representation, the think tanks and pundits are promoting schemes where parties have no members and more pretexts are created to justify taking money from the state treasury to pay expensive marketing agencies to run self-serving electoral campaigns and impose what is called a preferential voting system. Such a system operates along the lines marketing agencies use to get people to pick particular products. Keeping extensive data banks on the personal information of voters is used to microtarget them.
The system of preferential voting is based on the electorate ranking their preference of candidates, usually from one to five. Those who receive the least votes are weeded out, with their votes transferred to other candidates until there is a “last man standing” with more than 50 per cent of the votes, who is then declared elected. Governments formed using this last man standing method of redistributing votes are said to reflect the consensus of the electorate — the mainstream everyone can live with.
None of this has anything to do with citizens and residents being represented in government.