Unless you were living under a rock recently, you were aware that Monday we had an election. While it may seem like not much changed because we still have a Liberal minority government when you step back and look at the overview of the election – there were some major changes. First and foremost, RIP to the Green part who got quite literally destroyed. The other quite interesting development was the rise in voters for the People’s Party of Canada especially in The Atlantic provinces which in a way is unsurprising because of how many voters feel about pandemic restrictions and how the party planned not to use vaccine passports/immunization records, however as a Black Bisexual woman, seeing PPC get 800,000 votes is terrifying.
So far, PPC has shown themselves to be true right-wing extremists, proud boy supporting types who I would risk calling down-right racist.On election night Maxime Bernier called himself the only “true opposition” because of the fact that CPC, Green, NDP and Liberals all do share some views but those views, in my opinion align with basic human decency. The PPC government, while wanting no vaccine passports, also want to stop immigration as a means to help the housing crisis. Firstly, the housing market doesn’t get more affordable when you stop immigration if you are still only paying New Brunswickers 11.75$ an hour on minimum wage but rent is 1000$. What concerns me is the amount of people willing to vote for and side with racists, either because of their views on the pandemic or because they too are racist.
Elections always remind me of some of the flaws in our society. I have always voted as a socialist, with issues in mind that don’t solely affect me. This election I really cared about sick days, the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations being honoured, Carbon Tax, Student Loan debt. I am not indigenous, I have paid sick days, and I paid off my student loans…but I don’t want my neighbours to suffer, or my friends, or my future children. I could not only vote with the pandemic in mind if I was an anti-mask/anti-vaxxer. That wouldn’t sit well with my conscience, but if I was already in a place where I didn’t believe in masks or vaccines, maybe siding with right-wing racist extremists wouldn’t seem like that big of a leap, but to me it is.
Seeing the PPC in action, and seeing the number of votes they received, does feel concerning. In a world where hate crimes are going up, everyone’s voice can be heard and a lot of those times those voices are uneducated, incorrect, and spewing hate – it’s scary to see this party gain traction, while simultaneously making sense because of what I just aforementioned. While some of us become more educated, and get closer to allowing someone like Jagmeet Singh to be elected (A brown, Sikh man) or even consider having a Black Jewish woman as a party leader (Annamie Paul), we also get groups delving further into hatred when they vote PPC. My concern is that some people who maybe voted for PPC because of the vaccine mandate, may think that voting on that one issue does not make them racist, does not lessen their allyship or friendship to the Black community, but it does. A vote for a racist, whether you did so because of COVID or not, is still a vote for someone who would take away my rights as a Black, Queer, woman. It’s discouraging and disappointing to see progression and regression happen side by side and all because we had to have an election during a pandemic.
For any allies reading, vote as if you have melanin, need to fight to love who you love, have kids, have elderly parents, and with empathy and compassion in your heart for under-represented people. Don’t vote just to try to avoid getting vaccinated or wearing a mask during a global pandemic. Vote for you and your community.