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Natalia Yanchak Headshot

The Game of Politics Shouldn't Claim Lives

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Last night I stayed up to follow Quebec's provincial election results as they came in -- loving the auto-updating, mobile version of the Elections Quebec website. I stayed up as late as I could, eventually falling asleep when only about 80 per cent of the votes were officially in. The CBC had long declared the PQ the statistical winner, with the Associated Press and other international news sources running headlines proclaiming the inevitability of Quebec's separation.

In the end, by a slim margin of four electoral seats above the incumbent Liberals, and still eight seats away from a majority, PQ leader Pauline Marois was anointed the minority leader of Quebec. And yet during her victory speech, gun shots were fired, an alleged "assassination" attempt on the outspoken leader -- one dead and another injured, as a 62-year-old armed with a handgun and an assault rifle "lost his shit" outside the venue. As if costumed for the role of "mental patient escapee," the perpetrator wore a bathrobe and ski mask and yelled: "The Anglos are waking up," and set fires before being arrested.

Marois was unharmed but sadly someone actually died in this vapid protest. How, additionally, does one attain an assault rifle in Quebec? Is that even legal? I wonder if the weapons were registered under the long-gun registry...oh, Mr. Harper decided that info was not important earlier this summer. How convenient. We can add that to Marois' list of grievances when she fulfills her campaign promises to demand, within her first 100 days in office, more autonomy for Quebec from the federal government.

Politics remains a game of smoke and mirrors. And while the outcome of the game affects us all, politicians remain a necessary evil, lawyers-turned-actors looking for a gig. A considerable ego comes with the territory.

And so, what of poor, unseated Liberal Jean Charest? He's decided to quit politics, which he may possibly have secretly been hoping for from the outset.

Quebec enters a new age, a new era, but one that I do not fear. I have been living in Montreal, calling Quebec my home, for 18 years. I remain proud to be living here and don't think I could have the life that I do anywhere else in Canada. Every society is, by nature, distinct and Quebec's is no exception. We each are responsible for embracing the idea that there is a place for everyone, and that to fight for fierce nationalism or singularly-minded patriotism is a dangerous and unnecessary battle to wage.