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Quebec’s provincial election is upon us. Will the Liberals continue to hold power, or will Quebec choose to see another party take over? It’s hard to tell at this point, but you have a chance to decide the outcome on October 1.

Many people don’t think their vote matters, but it does. When I was in the United States fighting against Hydro-Québec’s Great Whale Project, I would say that when you are born it is like a power switch being turned on. You can use that power for yourself or others. But not using it didn’t mean that it wouldn’t be used. Other interests, including those you do not approve of, can use it to further their goals.

For example, in the US, the so-called Moral Majority group only represented a small minority of Americans on individual issues, but was able to influence the outcome of many debates based on the inaction of people while claiming they had their support. I asked people to use their small bits of power as a group to assist the Cree. The result of that, along with other Cree representatives and the Grand Council, led to the project being shelved. The Cree were a small group allied with many other small groups of people who helped to make this happen.

It’s like your vote. It may seem small, but so is a raindrop. One raindrop seems like nothing, but it is never alone. Many such raindrops can ensure the health of plants and animals. Our bodies are mostly water, showing how such a small thing can lead to such an amazing possibility. The streams, rivers and lakes are the most productive areas in Eeyou Istchee and reflect the power of such a small thing.

These raindrops can be so beneficial but can also be dangerous. Flooding causes hardships. Torrential rainstorms can cause mudslides, wash out roads and more. Over time, rainfall has worn down mountains and even created such wonders as the Grand Canyon. A lack of raindrops has led to droughts, deserts and the many forest fires this planet has seen even in recent years.

The power of such a small thing is in your hands when you are asked to vote, whether it is in an election, for a law or in a referendum. This power that has been put into your hands is not one that everyone enjoys in this world, but should be cherished and used as often as you are called upon to utilize it.

Crees in Quebec did not enjoy this right until 1969. That was a right First Nations had to fight for just as women had to in the past. After fighting for a right to vote, not to use it diminishes those who made it possible. We can honour their actions by simply voting.

They have given each one of you the ability to achieve changes that have results you choose to make happen. In Eeyou Istchee, Cree voters are the swing vote in the Ungava riding. In the past the Cree vote was responsible for Romeo Saganash becoming the federal Member of Parliament for our area. It is the same for the provincial election. So, get out there and use the power to ensure the Cree raindrops nourish and benefit our nation in the way we need.

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