VIDEO: A first-time voter, three candidates, and a pot of tea

VIDEO: A first-time voter, three candidates, and a pot of tea

Main pic: Mme Caroline Pageau (Bloc Québécois), M. Denis Blanchette (NDP), Andrew Greenfield, and Joel Lightbound (Liberal) discuss politics over a cup of tea in Cap-Rouge, Quebec. 7 October, 2015. Photo credit: Ruby Pratka.

One dining room table
3 Canadian federal election candidates
One pot of tea
A first-time voter
A few questions

That was what was on the menu on Wednesday 7 October, 2015, when a round table chat took place in the Louis-Hébert riding of the Quebec City area.

I’m a first-time voter and am looking forward to having my say on Oct 19th in the next Canadian general election.

I’m an immigrant, having moved to Quebec City in January 2009.
I became a Canadian citizen in September 2014, so a little over a year ago now.
I’m married to a French-Canadian and together we have 2 children. As a family I’d say we’re fully integrated into
society here. I speak French on a daily basis, my wife works in English and French, and our children
attend school in French.

I’m genuinely undecided who I should support in this election so I asked all the declared candidates (there are six)
if they’d be interested in meeting me in my home for a cup of tea and a chat round my dining room table.

Three of the candidates responded and agreed, so on Wednesday 7th October at 10am I had the
opportunity to put questions to:

Denis Blanchette from the NDP

Joel Lightbound from the Liberal Party

and Caroline Pageau from the Bloc Québécois.

Here’s how it turned out.

I feel privileged that they took the time to meet with me and chat in English, bearing in mind it’s an extremely busy time right now for candidates on the campaign trail in this French-speaking riding.

I asked a total of 10 questions as follows:

National Questions x 5

1. According to a recent article in a well-known national magazine the Canadian Navy now ranks lower (in terms of capability) than those of Bangladesh and Indonesia – why do we still send aid to countries like that?
Do we not have enough issues at home that we need to take care of first before sending our money abroad?

2. Are we doing enough to help the many immigrants who come to our country to assimilate into the way of life here?

3. Where do you stand on the wearing of religious symbols or clothing if you work in the public sector?

4. What would you do to create more jobs for the unemployed and underemployed?

5. Should the Liberals and NDP consider forming a coalition if the need/opportunity presents itself?
Is there enough common ground between the parties to make that happen?

Local Questions x 5

1. I don’t think it’s possible to agree 100% with everything your chosen party pushes.
If your constituents, who you represent, needed your help in resolving an issue locally, but it went against the views of your politcal party, what would you do?

2. Is the new Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement good for Quebec?

3. There’s around 3,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth of raw sewage possibly about to be dumped into the St Lawrence River in Montreal.
We’re downriver, so it’s going to come our way. Are we in danger and should it be happening at all?

4. The Provigo supermarket across the street here in Cap-Rouge is closing next month.
That shopping mall will turn into a bit of a ghost town as a result.
We’ve seen retail stores closing in Place Laurier and Place Ste-Foy in the last few months too.
What would you do to regenerate our shopping centres locally?

5. Why should I vote for you?

The only down side was that the local Conservative candidate, despite repeated attempts to contact him via all means available (social media, phone, and email) did not respond.

In the interests of fairness, it would have been great if he’d have been there too.

I get the feeling that Conservative candidates across the country are being muzzled by a dictat from on high and are not being given the opportunity to speak to the media.

Is this intentional? I can only say that this tactic, if it is indeed a tactic, sees them come across as arrogant, almost assuming we’ll simply vote for them come election day.

If this is true them I’m pretty sure many Conservative supporters and candidates are inwardly seething.

I wish all the candidates in the Louis-Hébert riding well. The ones I met were warm, genuine, and electable.

That I could support some of what they all said makes the choice who to cast my ballot for that little bit tougher.

On election day please go out and vote. It’s your right, and one that many fought for you to be able to do.

See you at the polls on October 19th.

Categories: Podcast, Politics

About Author

Andrew Greenfield

Andrew Greenfield moved to Quebec in 2009. He is part of the team responsible for the publishing company behind LifeinQuebec.com and Life in Québec Magazine. He has been involved with online and print media since 2001. He is passionate about cricket, is a qualified coach, and his real ambition is to start a cricket team in Quebec City – something he freely admits is probably beyond him. Follow him on Twitter @GreenfieldAndy

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