In an inteview with The Gazette, Villeneuve makes the case that there really isn’t much of a difference between Quebec’s major parties. He cites the example of Gaetan Barrette, the star Liberal candidate running in La Piniere who was, just two years ago, running against the Liberals as a member of the Coalition Avenir Quebec–which was created by a former PQ cabinet minister.
Or what of Martine Desjardins, the former student union leader who was so opposed to any form of university tuition increase that she refused to shake hands with Premier Pauline Marois at an education summit in 2013. Now the longtime union leader is running for the PQ, which voted to index tuition fees, alongside candidates like Pierre Karl Peladeau–whose Quebecor Media organization took a hard line against the student movement and against unions in general.
Parti nul is a “protest” party whose sole purpose is to allow voters to officially “spoil their ballot.” (Truly spoiled ballots are not registered as such; they’re thrown in with the ballots of voters who, say, circled rather than darkened.) It’s not quite clear why a self-proclaimed anarchist would want people to participate in this way rather, say, abstain from the process altogether. To me, voting for Parti nul is not a protest against a rigged system; instead, it’s an admission that you recognize the system’s legitimacy and you’d vote if only it offered better options. Anarchopanda offers this modest explanation:
“This isn’t just an anarchist thing, it’s not just a far left thing,” he said. “You can be a right wing person, someone who feels uncomfortable with state intervention into individual liberties, and still vote for Parti Nul. This is for everybody who wants to protest inside the voting booth.”
Update. Another concern about the effectiveness of this strategy. It seems to me that, rhetorically, “Half of voters feel so unrepresented that they didn’t even bother voting” is much more shocking than, say, “0.8% of voters voted ‘against’ the system.”