Elections in Alexandria are set to get underway today to replace the embattled Imperial Parliament dismissed last week. One race in particular, in the province of Valenciennes, is being closely watched with the long-time Member of Parliament, Emile Jolicoeur, facing competition from recently naturalized Lysander Spooner. In the Valenciennes Provincial Parliament, two key issues have created divisions amongst the provincial population – mandatory military service, and the official religion of the state. The Coprieta Standard had the opportunity to have both candidates outline their positions on these two issues as well as other recent events in Alexandria.
CS: In recent comments, the Chief Justice of the Empire, John Carmichael, criticized the Province of Valenciennes for making a “mockery” of Alexandria by being an active province. He further called into question the ability for the Province to operate its own active parliament and government. What are your thoughts on the Chief Justice’s comments?
Emile Jolicoeur (EJ): It is of course unfortunate that a man of such standing decided to “attack” Valenciennes, but I think it shows an uncertainty among people when it comes how to act and react towards the autonomy of provinces. For a long time, now, the political landscapes of the provinces have been dead, and with Valenciennes beginning to activate itself there is potential jealousy and confusion.
Lysander Spooner (LS): Chief Justice John Carmichael is absolutely correct. However, he should have pointed out that uneven growth or disproportionate power can cause sectarian strife. Carmichael should have refrained from naming names and should have noted such comments were his personal political views. The only mockery made has been that of the Chief Justice’s office. In the event that he is still on the bench in any capacity and an action involving our Province in an Imperial Court takes place, I will file an amicus brief asking the court to have John Carmichael recused!
CS: How would you ensure the survival of the federalist agenda amidst such harsh criticism, not only from the Chief Justice, but also from other critics?
EJ: The Emperor has just issued a code for how the provinces and other parts of the Empire function, and that is good. But I believe that the powers of the provinces should be enshrined in the Constitution to safeguard the provinces’ rights to self-determination.
LS: Simple, our Province deserves TWO seats in Parliament. This will become a central theme of my tenure as your member of Parliament. Our Province and her citizens have worked hard to build up our land for the glory of the entire Empire. Granted, this may require working such a demand into the Imperial Constitution. Why should we be punished for our success? It’s ridiculous. On the subject of federalism, it should be noted that I am also the Federalist candidate in this Province!
CS: As (the potential) Valenciennes’ Member of the Imperial Parliament, what specifically do you hope to accomplish in the upcoming sitting of the Imperial Parliament, and how can your plans benefit the residents of the Province?
EJ: I believe that the imperial parliament should be elected by popular vote. As it is now, most seats (if not all) are won by default, and that is not good. The Amelioration Party wishes to reform the parliamentary constituencies so that each vote is equal to the other.
Valenciennes is big and active, but we have as much say in the imperial governing as provinces without any active citizens at all. Proportional representation would ensure a greater say for the people of Valenciennes.
LS: A. The Valenciennes Readjustment Act which will grant us two seats in Parliament [May require a constitutional amendment]. B. the National Service Act of 2007 which will mandate military service across the Empire [May require a constitutional amendment]. C. the Religious Faith Act which will establish religious freedom in the Empire. It will also make the Emperor the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Empire. [May require a constitutional amendment]. And of course much, much more, but I can’t reveal all of my trade secrets just yet.
CS: Two big local issues in the past week have been mandatory military service within the Province, as well as the status of the Catholic religion. What is your position on each of these issues?
EJ: As our armed forces are strong, I see no reason for forcing people to perform military service. I am a staunch believer in secularism and non-religion in governing Alexandria. I believe that no religion should be awarded any special status.
LS: Both Mandatory Military service and the establishment of the Catholic religion as the Empire wide faith are movements that I’m proud to have brought to the debate. These are issues of national unity. While a Federalist, I’m also the Conservative candidate in our Province. While Federalism and Provincial rights are unquestionably essential, they too must be tempered by careful and caution Conservatism. Hence, I endorse Military conscription Empire wide and I believe that the Roman Catholic Church has a very special place in this Empire. Why run from our heritage? I say let’s embrace it. For the record, I don’t believe in denying anyone access to the Empire that isn’t Catholic nor do I believe in compulsory Church attendance. Remember, even England has an established Church with huge religious minorities that enjoy a high degree of freedom. We can do the same and under my leadership we will do the same.
CS: Federally, Alexandria’s governing institutions have fallen on hard times. What can be done to reinvigorate not only the Imperial Parliament, but also the government ministries?
EJ: The Imperial Parliament was starting to get active after the speaker scandal. Bills were posted in the hopper, but then new elections were called. So, a new parliament would have some bills to work through if they are resubmitted. We will call upon the cabinet to introduce election and to carry out the wishes of Parliament.
LS: We can start by electing Lysander Spooner to Parliament. As anyone that knows me online or offline can tell, I’m not afraid of work. I’ve signed up for the Army myself and received the rank of Colonel. I’m in talks with our Foreign Minister to do even more work for the Empire. I can and will get the job done. I will stir the debate as I have as a private citizen. This will never change. It is precisely why I echo the Chief Justice’s concerns about National Unity, but unlike him, it is my role as a candidate to speak up and make proposals that I have outlined previously. His role is to judge the constitutionality of such proposals should they become law. We need more action and more activity, that is precisely what I will usher in.
CS: Aside from what has been covered in the previous questions, why exactly should people vote for you to represent Valenciennes?
EJ: I hope to represent our good province and if I have the honour of doing so, I will keep an open dialogue with all citizens of Valenciennes.
LS: Because I’m a brand new citizen. I’ve sworn allegiance to our Emperor. I’m in the Army. I volunteer Empire wide. I will fight for our Empire and I will fight for our Province. Our country will be better off with Lysander Spooner in Parliament. We need young blood with seasoned knowledge and insight. Our governing institutions that you say have fallen on hard times will be reborn quite quickly upon my inauguration. The future is bright for Alexandria and it will illuminate across the world once I’m in office.