16 August 2012

Signs of the Times

I love doing this: analyzing from my own skewed perspective the election signs that are inflicted on us for the duration of the election campaign. What I like best is to look at the creative ways that people will alter them. Oh, I'm not talking about the moustaches drawn on them; I usually look for something a little more clever.

First up: the ruling Liberal Party. I feel quite certain that the graphic artist who came up with this design has lost his or her job. As it turns out, the rather empty slogan "Pour le Québec" (For Québec) is easily changed to "Pourrir le Québec" (To Spoil [ruin] Québec). I took this photo across the street from my office and the sign was quickly taken away by the party. Just doing my part to ensure that it lives on on the internet!

Next party: the Parti québécois. I haven't found these defaced in any way so far, but it is notable that the slogan "À nous de choisir" (For us to choose) has revived the nagging question about who is part of the "nous" for the Parti québécois. It isn't always clear that the PQ's "nous" includes anyone other than white Québec-born francophones, although they do have a handful of visible minority candidates (I'm undertaking the laborious process of examining the different parties' candidates and counting the proportions of women and visible minority or anglophone candidates, but this is going to take a while). One comment widely reported in the media went something like "Finally we can say 'nous' again"…from a white francophone voter.

The slogan does morph well to the next level, as the specific candidate signs say "Choose [candidate's name]". Not particularly inventive, but not offensive either.

Our "new" right-wing party, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) does that thing that I always detest: bets mainly on the recognition factor of the leader. When you name your party after yourself or its slogan is based around your name, it just looks very high school to me. Shouldn't a democracy be about the team? Apart from the "Look at me, it's My team!" message, the CAQ also has a rather complex slogan: "C'est assez, faut que ça change!" (That's enough, it has to change!), which doesn't really roll off the tongue well and has been criticized for being a bit vague. Imagine, politicians being vague! You will also notice that the above poster is also nailed into a tree, which is an excellent indication of their environmental policy, no?

People have had some fun online with the posters, though. After a string of very white star candidates had been announced, I saw the poster for Benoit Lugas (which becomes B. Lugas or beluga), which gave me a chuckle, and then there was speculation about what the candidate poster might look like in the riding where François Legault is running for his own seat:

And, while not particularly clever, I managed to capture this cry from the heart a couple of blocks away from home:
The last party to look at today is Québec solidaire, our new-ish left wing party. I actually saw an online poll (unscientific, I realize) about which party had the best slogan and Québec solidaire was running away with it at about 40%. The slogan? "Debout" (Standing up..although it can also be interpreted as a call to action, as in Stand up!). You will notice side-by-side leader posters here, as the party has co-leaders. It's interesting that this time around they are each on their own posters, as last time they were on the same one, like a two-headed leader. The slogan is fabulous for its simplicity, but also for the way it translates into other versions.

The candidate is "standing up" for the riding, but there is also another series of the party "standing up" for various policy issues (pictured below, Free education).

Another note on this one, particular to the candidate in my riding, Manon Massé. Close up and in person you can see that she has a moustache and has not photoshopped it away or plucked or waxed it. A local cultural magazine did what no one else dared to and asked her about it directly. Her response is a fabulous defence of gender non-conformity and the right to be real. No photoshopping or catering her look to meet your expectations; like the party, what you see is what you get.

(I'm not going to look at posters for the Parti Vert or Option nationale simply because I haven't seen any around.)

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