Provincial elections in Quebec are only days away! Already, this campaign cycle has proved historic.
Last week, four provincial party leaders participated in Quebec's first-ever English-language debate. The debate received mixed reactions, but its significance is profound.
TL;DR Québec Solidaire promises radical change in the province. But the party has been elusive about how radical its plans actually are and just how it intends to finance them.
This election may also mark a fundamental shift in the province's power structure. After more than a decade in control of the National Assembly (except for a small interruption), the parti libéral du Québec (PLQ) may lose its majority to the upstart centre-right coalition avenir Québec (CAQ).
The parti québécois has also lost the grip on the political dialogue that it once commanded. Its leaders have even promised to forgo the question of sovereignty until at least 2022.
But the party that has most caught the attention of the electorate this cycle is Québec Solidaire (QS), the left-wing organization peddling such radical promises as free education from day care to graduate school, half-price public transportation, and universal dental insurance.
Manon Massé, the co-spokesperson of QS (of moustache fame), has catipulted the party to the centre of provincial politics.
With a marketing campaign that focuses on such huge promises, the party has garnered thousands of new supporters. Québec Solidaire is the breakout star of this election cycle.
But behind the promises, there is a lost that the party has not disclosed to the public.
Namely: how it plans to pay for its policy proposals and the true extent of its intentions.
If it succeeds, Québec Solidaire will fundamentally transform the economic landscape of the province, and there will be casualties.
That's not to say that some of the party's initiatives are not righteous. Indeed, making capitalism more equitable is a critical and long-overdue effort.
But on its website, the party is elusive about its exact plans.
While QS promises a more accessible political structure, its own website is far from transparent.
For example, in order to access the finer details of the party platform, a visitor to the website must first subscribe to the party's list of supporters.
Moreover, the website is difficult to navigate. A complete list of the party's core issues is not accessible from its main page. Only a Google search will easily yield a comprehensive plan.
But even that list is unforthcoming about financial plans, which would include, according to the CBC, taking billions of dollars in tax revenue from corporations.
But in the face of such taxes, the few huge corporations in the province would likely just leave for Ontario. That has happened before.
The result would be an even more strained economy with even fewer economic opportunities. Already, the labour shortage in the province has forced employers to take desperate measures to attract and retain workers.
But the QS is even more radical.
According to Radio-Canada, the its ultimate goal is the socialization of most if not all economic activities in the province.
Perhaps the biggest issue, though, is that most of the party's promises are simply untenable.
If the party were really commit to access and transparency, it would make clear its long-term plans for the province.
Québec Solidaire's platform is admirable. It is the only party that has demonstrated a true intention to combat ethnic and economic inequity in the province.
But it needs to be more forthcoming with voters.