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If you are watching this video, it’s because the office of the Minister of Education is currently being occupied. Having taken control of this office, we now hold control of political power. Thus we are unilaterally declaring that education will be free for the whole province. Moreover, we are increasing the funding for all educational institutions, as well as the salary of all teachers. We are effectively going against the neoliberal ideology espoused by governments in recent years. We see education as a historic social achievement, as a right accessible to all, and as the means for economic development and social progress. We also invite the other Ministers to be done with austerity. The current measures are ruining Quebec and lowering the entire population’s quality of life. Austerity has been a failure across the world because the state is the main agent in economic recovery. Instead of imposing cuts to health care, education, pensions, social assistance to the most needy, essentially to the common good, money must be taken from where it is found: in the pockets of the wealthiest employers, in the coffers of banks and corporations, instead of losing it through tax evasion, corruption, PPPs [public-private partnerships], the purchase of private medication, the Plan Nord. This action is the beginning of a far greater and wider political struggle, for social regression is not negotiable. It is fought through radical actions, union struggles, and general strikes. Further actions are to come in the future. We are the future.
Chant: It is all ours, it is all ours.
Nothing is theirs, nothing is theirs.
What they own, they have stolen, they have stolen.
Stop privatizing and reinvest, or it’s going to blow.
The anticipated adoption of the project of Bill 10 before the end of the day, thanks to a gag [literal translation, meaning to “invoke closure”, a parliamentary procedure limiting debate to force the passing of a law] decreed by the government, is only one of three steps seeking a major transformation in the health network in the coming months.
Before the parliamentary session even begins next Tuesday, MNAs had to present themselves in the chamber early Friday morning as part of the government’s decision to impose a term on the usual procedure to force the immediate adoption of Bill 10, which would abolish the health agencies and reduce the number of establishments in the network from 182 to 33.
Apple just announced record profits of $18 billion for the last three months of 2014. This represents $200 000 per day. Of profits. Despite all of this, the business manages to only pay 2% taxes on these earnings.
The last few years, some journalists have brought to light the fiscal strategies that allow Apple and some other very big businesses, notably the giants of the technology sector, to pay almost no taxes, despite their formidable profits. They do not falsify their declarations of revenues any more than they hide bundles of bills in safes in their basements. Rather, they have recourse to what we call “fiscal optimization” – a euphemism for tax avoidance.
Québec deliberately omitted to take into account work days that they considered as too short to arrive at the conclusion that family doctors do not work enough. This strategy has been judged as dishonest by the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ) [federation representing general practitioners].
Minister Gaétan Barrette has been stating, since the end of November, that 60% of doctors work less than 175 days per year, for an average of 117 days. But Québec fused “small days” of work to account only for days that bill for at least $665 of services. This represents a threshold of about seven hours of work and allows doctors to be compared to, for example, teachers, asserts the press secretary of the minister, Joanne Beauvais.
The documents that Le Devoir obtained from the cabinet of the minister in January after a request made in mid-December show in this way that for all general practitioners, the “real” average for all family doctors is rather 196 days of work per year. If we take into account only the 80% best paid doctors, which eliminates doctors working part time, the average climbs up to 216.5 days.
Austerity is on everyone’s lips since the Liberal’s return to power in Quebec in April 2014. Our current political climate is resonant with the “debt crisis” which has been rocking Europe since the economic and financial crisis of 2008.
Yet fiscal austerity measures on both sides of the Atlantic are not simply a response to the economic crisis. In spite of the extent of austerity’s claim on the political landscape over the past seven years, the imperative of the balanced budget has been around since long before the subprime bubble burst, sweeping the global economy along with it. Austerity is simply the current manifestation of the question of balanced public finances.
One must turn back the clock to the mid-1970s in order to find the first battles waged by governments against public debt (at least in its neoliberal version). In those days, climbing inflation and global unrest put the breaks on economic growth, depleting state coffers. Those who intend to narrow the scope of public spending set their sights on social security spending, considerably on the rise since World War Two. The welfare state is traded in for the commodification of public services and the privatization of various state functions. Neoliberal doctrine is on the up swing, while politicians critical of social security nets are globally brought to power (Tatcher in the United Kingdom, Reagan in the United States, Mulroney in Canada, Bourassa in Quebec) or “installed” (Pinochet in Chile or Videla in Argentina). Continue reading →