Today’s Political Cartoon (Le Soleil)

Illustrated by: André-Philippe Côté
Originally published on: January 26, 2015
Original French Post: http://www.lapresse.ca/photos/caricatures/201501/24/12-13416-caricatures-du-25-au-31-janvier-2015.php?utm_categorieinterne=trafficdrivers&utm_contenuinterne=cyberpresse_B2_caricatures_543_section_POS1#961478-26-janvier-2015

(left) Quebecers hate the rich! (right) No... Quebecers hate inequalities!
(left) Quebecers hate the rich!
(right) No… Quebecers hate inequalities!

A Referendum on Austerity? (Le Journal de Montréal)

By Josée Legault
Originally published on January 6, 2015
See original French text here: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2015/01/06/un-referendum-sur-lausterite 

This past Tuesday, my colleague André Pratte at La Presse proposed to the Couillard government that they should hold a referendum on his “plan to redress public finances”. In effect, a referendum on austerity. 

This referendum, according to Mr. Pratte, would serve to “nip in the bud mobilisation” against austerity that has been announced my unions, among others. It is also a question, he adds with a hint of irony, to give back “voice to the silent majority, the Québécois who use pots and pans [casseroles] to cook with.”

It is evident that – and I say this with full respect for my colleague – a substantial portion of québécois elites never fully recovered from the student strike of the spring of 2012. This very same social movement of dissent that the prestigious British daily newspaper The Guardian had described as the most powerful symbol of the calling into question of neoliberalism in North America.

Which is where their worries about seeing Québécois “streets” inflate with protesters once again come from. Even though in democracies – including ours – the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental right.

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Austerity in the Time of Abundance (Liberté)

Money, there is. But not for everyone.

By Julia Posca
Originally Published: Fall 2014
See the original French text here: http://revueliberte.ca/content/lausterite-au-temps-de-labondance

At a stone’s throw from the Colisée Pepsi, the former home of the Québec Nordiques, workers are busy on the worksite of the city’s new amphitheatre. The official opening of this four hundred million dollar project is scheduled for September 2015. As they await this exciting date, hockey fans in the capital region dream of attracting a new NHL team due to this arena that has been financed directly by municipal and provincial funds.

In mid-July, when journalists wandered around the new building in the neighbourhood of Limoilou to take in the progress of the construction, union members from the Laval CSSS were had their picket signs in the hopes of making themselves heard by the Minister of Health and of sensitizing public opinion to the consequences that the public will surely feel from the cuts of around twelve million dollars that had been announced by the Liberal government.  There are no cuts to the staffing framework currently planned, but we know already that night posts for auxiliary nurses will be cut and that the number of extra hours will be lowered.

Welcome to the reign of austerity in the era of massive wastefulness. All spending is allowed, so long as there is no question of making it seem to us, the little guys, that the purpose of government is to respond to the needs of their supposed constituents. Before treating me as a killjoy, know that my intention is not at all to take aim at our illustrious national sport. I will instead say this: the Neoliberal State is not a Lean State, that spends prudently like only a good father of a family could do. The Neoliberal State is rather one that gave, in 2011, to a company represented by a former political counsellor of the premier at the time, a two hundred forty million dollar contract to install forty thousand indispensable smart white boards in primary and secondary schools in the province. During this time in Montreal, students were chased out of their neighbourhood schools by dangerous mold that had made its home in the walls of their buildings. The situation has been going on for more than two years, but the Montreal School Commission, responsible for these infected buildings, also had to work towards budgetary equilibrium. In short, everything suggest that a solution is within arm’s reach in this case.

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Restating the Case for General Education (Le Devoir)

By Blandine Parchemal – PhD student in Philosophy at the Université de Montréal, President of the Association des étudiants en philosophie de l’Université de Montréal
Originally published on: January 3, 2015
Original French article: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/le-devoir-de-philo/427984/renouveler-le-plaidoyer-pour-la-formation-generale

The University of Berlin model, developed by the philosopher Schleiermacher, went against the more specialized ethos of the medieval universities.  

Twice a month, Le Devoir challenges lovers of philosophy, history and the history of ideas to decipher a current issue by relying upon an important thinker’s theories. 

Last September, the Liberal government announced 172 million dollars in budget cuts to Quebec’s university system. The impact of these record-breaking cutbacks on teaching will be felt as early as this winter and more acutely in 2016. At Université de Montréal, the 2014-2015 budget had to be reduced by 24,6 million. To be specific, UdeM’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences were ordered to downsize lecturing staff by 50 teachers for the winter 2015 semester and by 150 for the following year. Consequently, there are great worries concerning the quality and depth of scholarship.
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While We Await the Minister of Education’s Proposals (Voir)

By Normand Baillargeon
Originally published on: January 8, 2015
See original French version here: http://voir.ca/chroniques/prise-de-tete/2015/01/08/en-attendant-les-propositions-du-ministre-de-leducation/

If we are to believe Philippe Couillard’s statement, our Minister of Education, Yves Bolduc, will soon be presenting an educational platform that will guide the Quebec Liberals for the coming years.

To propose a vision of education is admittedly a tall order. With that in mind, I will humbly use the following few lines at my disposal to outline four ideas that are simple yet crucial, in my opinion, and that I would like to find inscribed in the minster’s vision.
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