Meet the Westmount–
Saint-Louis candidates /4
Candidate Ekaterina Piskunova of Québec Solidaire
Dear WestmountMag.ca reader,
In view of informing our readers on the various parties’ platforms for the upcoming Quebec Provincial Election 2018, WestmountMag.ca has invited all the candidates for the district of Westmount–Saint-Louis to submit an article about themselves and their program.
Articles are published unedited and on a first submitted, first published basis.
Here is the fourth article of the series, submitted by Ekaterina Piskunova of Québec Solidaire.
My name is Ekaterina Piskunova, I teach Political Science and International Studies at the University of Montreal. I am going into politics because I am convinced that my Quebec needs a real change. I am a candidate for Québec Solidaire, because the priorities of this party are mine: the fight against climate change, the commitment to provide a quality education free of charge, to ensure social justice, inclusion and rejection of all kind of discrimination.
I am ashamed that in our society, one of the wealthiest and most developed in the world, there is still so much poverty, social inequality and injustice. Westmount-Saint-Louis is a typical example. It is unacceptable that my fellow citizens are so tired and disillusioned and losing confidence in participatory democracy. I find it unacceptable that in Quebec in 2018, we are running out of schools and hospitals, and that our teachers and nurses are exhausted and underpaid. We have locked ourselves into a sort of status quo that is only comfortable for a very restreined minority. However, I am confident that together we are capable to reverse this trend, get out of the inertness and half-measures suggested by traditional parties, to finally take the path of true development.
Québec Solidaire offers more than just a program, it offers a beautiful societal project, where the human being is the core concern. We are a party focusing on education, because only an educated population is able to meet contemporary challenges of climate change among other things. Resolutely forward-looking, the party advocates a green revolution of Quebec economy. Quebec Solidare plans to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets of 48% by 2030 and 95% by 2050 (compared to the 1990 level). To do so, there will be a major reduction in using as well as a ban on exploring or producing fossil fuels. If elected, the Solidarity Government will cut transit fares in half and begin a massive public transportation infrastructure construction project. The government will also concentrate its efforts on the lithium industry, as it is a vital resource for this green transition.
The party is also committed to offering all Quebecers a quality education free of charge from the CPE to the doctoral studies. The party plans to considerably invest in school infrastructure and to add to value to the teaching profession. For Westmount-Saint-Louis, that means the construction of new schools in order to reduce the number of students in the classrooms (at Saint-Léon School for example, they are 40 per class). There is a project at hand to build a new school in downtown (Peter-McGill) that will not affect our historical patrimony.
Québec Solidaire’s commitments in health services are very ambitious and include strengthening the public sector by focusing especially on CLSCs. Instead of creating large centers (superclinics created under the Liberal government, which represent only a bundle of the same services as before without any significant add on), the party plans to re-invest in front-line services in order to reduce the wait time at emergencies. At the moment, the health system is unbalanced, because the emphasis is primarily put on specialty doctors. Quebec Solidaire proposes to put nurses and other health professionals at the core of the health care system. One of QS’s key proposals is to offer public dental insurance that would cover 100% dentist fees for children and youth (up to 18) and seniors and 60-80% for all ages. The party also commits to adopt the Universal Accessibility Act in the first term, which will make life easier for people with disabilities. It is important to mention that QS is the only party to have this type of commitment.I’m proud of Québec Solidaire’s measures for poverty eradication, which includes the engagement to increase the minimum wage to $15; the improvement of working conditions (4 weeks vacation for all) and several other measures aimed at improving the lives of Quebeckers. I am particularly in favor of measures that encourage respect for diversity and the fight against discrimination. Being an immigrant myself, I know how big this challenge can be, I want to support all those who are on their way. The road to success for me is the process of francization and mutual respect between all communities.
This brings me to another major point, which is a particularly sensitive one for some, the issue of independence. Unlike the separatist project of the PQ with their black and white vision, in terms of a yes / no, Quebec Solidaire suggests a constitutional project. For Parti Québécois, separatism is an ultimate goal. For Québec Solidaire, independence is a way to have the necessary leverage to solve some major problems. The Quebec nation will be called upon to participate in the writing of our common law, which will protect the rights of all communities. It is an unparalleled opportunity, especially for the English-speaking community, to claim its rights and give them strength of the law. We will also define together our relationship with Canada. Thus, this project should not be seen as a threat, but as a chance for all Quebecers to work together on our common future, to heal the existing divides (and not to pretend that they do not exist) and to create a new social cohesion.
I proudly wear the colors of Quebec Solidaire, because this party thinks out of the box and appeals for justice. For a protected and flourishing Earth. For educated youth and adults. For Quebecers in health. For a society of respect and inclusion. I have confidence in Quebec’s ability to make the right choice.