If you would like to volunteer and join the effort, please contact us at the above email before embarking on any translation work, in order to avoid any redundancies. We cannot accept translations that have not been cleared with us first.
For more useful English-language sources on the conflict, see:
Michel Venne, director of l’Institut du Nouveau Monde August 4, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/elections-2012/356062/la-confiance
The average citizen does not exist. The nation of Québec is fragmented, as are all modern nations. Our opinions, our interests and our aspirations sometimes oppose each other. Conflict is normal in a society. Electoral campaigns are moments where these divergences are expressed. Debate can be lively. The art of war imposes itself.
One needs only to remind oneself that the art of war is not the art of governing. When it comes to electoral hostilities, most of us hope to recover a peace that is articulated around some principles, values and majority preferences, which are confirmed by the results of the vote. Victory should serve as a rallying point, at least a provisory one.
This rallying point is generally constructed around a majority-shared priority, a vital collective necessity brought about by a leader, their team and their party, at a precise moment in a history.
This priority can be economic, as in 2008, when we were submerged fully in a worldwide financial crisis and we were worried for our jobs, our houses and our retirement funds. It can relate to the desire for national affirmation or for a country, as in 1994, when the PQ [Parti québécois] of Jacques Parizeau came to power, after ten years of sterile constitutional debates.
Today, what do we desire as a majority? I think very humbly that we need to recover a bit of trust in ourselves as a collective entity. This implies that we re-establish our confidence in politics, because this is the principle methods that we have to resolve, together, the problems that go beyond us as individuals and that allow for the realization of our communal aspirations.
The re-establishment of trust in our democratic institutions, in the men and women of politics and in our capacity to develop Québec in its respect for the people, the collectives and the territories that we share, is in my opinion the unique stake of the current electoral campaign.
Without trust in politics, we do not achieve the Plan Nord [trans. note: refers to the government’s current controversial plan for exploiting natural resources in the north]. Without it, we do not get independence either. We do not reform public administration nor construct a more egalitarian society. All other objectives are subordinate to it.
For the 2012 edition of the State of Québec, a reference work that we publish at the Institut du Nouveau Monde on an annual basis, we ordered a survey and published a dossier on leadership. In short, on what should bring us together. The response was without any ambiguity. For 80% of respondent, Québec is currently experiencing a crisis in leadership.
The two qualities that are most looked for in a leader, according to our survey, are competence and honestly. Quebeckers are searching for a good superintendent for Québec.
Charisma and an avant-garde perspective are qualities that trail far behind in the classification that we received. Arrogance and a cutting personality are the two characteristics that displease respondents the most.
Quebeckers are not thirsty for reforms nor do they aspire to be governed by a braggart. They simply want a certain effectiveness on the part of a government with honesty and integrity.
Yet, confidence in these two aspects (effectiveness and honesty) have been largely dulled in the course of the last few years. On one hand, allegations of corruption, cronyism and colllusion ruined confidence in the neutrality of the state. Corruption is a cancer for democracy that we do not have the right to trivialize.
On the other hand, the population believes less and less in the effectiveness of our public services: we fight for a daycare spot, we wait at the hospital and we drop out of school.
It is not surprising to note that citizens look for answers to their needs in the private sector. Consequently, it is the cautious approach to equality that is becoming more fragile, a philosophy of every man for himself that is imposing intself, and the capacity to believe in us, to have trust between us, that is becoming blurred. So is the willingness to act for the common good.
An electoral campaign never solves much. But it could be a step towards a change. We will see what this one has in store for us. I dare to hope.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.