A Decisive Winter for the “Québec Model” (Le Devoir)

By Laura Pelletier
Originally published on: January 3, 2015
See original French version here: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/428022/csq-un-hiver-determinant-pour-le-modele-quebecois

Photo: Michaël Monnier, Le Devoir, The CSQ denounces how little information has been transmitted by ministers regarding the coming reforms, among them those that will affect healthcare.

The Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) intends to continue putting pressure during the winter of 2015 in order to slow down the reforms and bill projects of the liberal government in their current forms. Reviving an expression that was associated with the years 1945-1960, the president of the CSQ, Louise Chabot, declared on Friday that Québec is under thread of being resubmerged in a “great darkness”.

Ms. Chabot warns that “the year risks becoming a theatre of important social confrontations if the government does not quickly pull itself together to re-establish a real dialogue with its population and its employees.” She admits to having a challenge of “information and mobilisation” for the next year.

The president denounces especially the governmental measures being proposed in the education, health and childcare sectors, as well as the reductions in financing for cegeps and universities, the abolition of regional health agencies and the modulation, according to family revenue, of fees for subsidized daycares.

These reforms “profoundly attack” the social model adopted in Québec since the Quiet Revolution, she reckons. “In Quebec we have equipped ourselves with a range of services in the name of the common good. If these reforms in education and healthcare are adopted, it will be step back by 10, 15, 20 years,” Ms. Chabot deplored.

The change in daycare fees will also crumble the “Québec model”, according to her. “It is a shame because daycare services are a social project that we should be proud of. It is a service that should be accessible to all.”

Difficult dialogue

Ms. Chabot affirms that her central union is having “a lot of difficulty” meeting the Minister responsible for Government Administration and Ongoing Program Review, Martin Coiteux. As for the Minister of Education, Yves Bolduc, she finds him “very available” but “does not feel heard”. “We don’t have concrete propositions. They leave us in uncertainty.”

The president affirms having received little information on the proposed reforms and bill projects before being deposited. “Minister Barrette never wanted to give me any details before depositing his proposed bill. The same goes for the Minister of Education. We know very little about what will be deposited [in the spring]. Is it the concern of being influenced [by those who would be consulted]?” she asks.

Reaction to the worries of the CSQ in the realm of education, the spokesperson for the Minister of Education, Yasmine Adbelfadel, indicates that he “would like to meet with all the involved parties before writing and depositing the bill project in the spring of 2015.” It is not yet the hour of compromise, but rather for discussion, she added.

The spokesperson for the Minister of Health, Joanne Beauvais, assures that the Minister “has met various actors” from that sector to gather diverse information before putting into place his bill project. These dialogues where nevertheless limited due to parliamentary regulations that do not allow one to reveal all the details of a bill project before it is deposited.

“Several union leaders” confirmed to Minister Barrette that they feared “changes in affiliation” that could be engendered by the “amalgamation of institutions” that is being done by the proposed Bill 10, Ms. Beauvais explained.

The cabinet of the Finance Minister did not return Le Devoir’s calls.

The CSQ numbers more than 200 000 members, of whom almost 130 000 work in the education sector. The CSQ also has a presence in domains such as health, childcare, social services and culture.

***

Translated from the original French by Language and Dissent, a collectively-run blog supporting the anti-austerity struggle in Quebec. These are amateur translations written by volunteers; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may have their flaws. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us via email (languageanddissent [at] gmail [dot] com). Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.

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