As the federal election draws down to its final week, the polls are tight and the Québécois are watching anxiously – along with workers across Canada – for the results of next Tuesday’s election. Québec Solidaire’s leaders have called on the Québécois to defeat the Conservatives and the CSN has called for “strategic” voting to stop Stephen Harper. It is clear that the Conservatives, the representatives of big capital, must be defeated. The Liberals, too, represent nothing more than corporate domination of Québec and Canada, hence their refusal to reverse Harper’s $50 Billion tax cut for the big industries. Are our union leaders and Québec Solidaire tacitly endorsing the Bloc Québécois then? Is this really the way forward for socialists in Québec?

Whether francophone or anglophone, the bosses are interested in one thing only, the extraction of greater profits at the expense of workers in Québec and the rest of Canada. They expect their parties to deliver, through tax cuts for corporations, and decreased social services for workers. Most importantly, through attacks on workers and students unionizing, striking or organizing against corporate interests in any way.

The Bloc Québécois is tied hand and foot to that other party of business, the Parti Québécois, who were responsible for attacks on health care, education and workers’ standards of living when they were in power. The PQ delivered for the bosses. They did it with the support of the union leaders who agreed to a “social peace”, thereby tying the working class to their bosses for years. The BQ and the Parti Québécois are two sides of the same coin. One look at the Manifesto “Pour un Québec lucide” – signed by BQ founder Lucien Bouchard – is enough to tell you what this party is all about.

The oppression of Québécois workers is part and parcel of the oppression of workers in the rest of Canada. In Québec, we are faced with a francophone bourgeoisie that is allied and in league with the wider Canadian bourgeoisie and American imperialism. There is no solution to our problems by uniting in a bloc with the Québécois bosses in their battle for a bigger share of the Canadian pie.

What is needed now more than ever is a labour party here in Québec. It’s time to break decisively with the parties of capital, and put forward our own representatives, who will stand up to big business and put forward a bold socialist program to resolve the problems of regular workers and students in Québec. Only a party independent of the bosses can represent us, whether Canadian or Québécois.

Neither Québec Solidaire at the provincial level, nor the NDP in Québec have yet managed to establish the roots necessary to become the recognized party of labour. Despite what shortcomings both may have on this or that issue, at root they represent the striving for real representation by millions of workers across Québec and Canada. The NDP has affiliations with the vast majority of unions across Canada, and QS seeks the same position in Québec.
Socialists in Québec should join the NDP and Québec Solidaire and fight to transform them into true representatives for the labour movement’s explosive anger against capitalism – Canadian or Québécois. These parties must unite together on a program demanding full employment, free education, better health care and an end to the war in Afghanistan. United we can overthrow capitalism, and establish a voluntary socialist federation of Québec and Canada, while respecting the democratic right of the Québécois to independence should they choose it. Real self-determination can only exist with the nationalization of the major corporations and democratic control of schools, work places and communities by working people. Only then can we truly determine our own future.

It’s time to break with the parties of the bosses, in French and in English. Whether at the provincial or federal levels, we have to rise above national differences, refuse to be divided, and insist on a single, united socialist movement across Québec and Canada. Only a united, internationalist movement can overthrow capitalism and lay the basis for a truly free, socialist Québec.

Join the International Marxist Tendency, and build the forces of internationalist socialism in Québec.

Together we will win.