Tonight, I experienced my first “real” protest. I thought that it would be relaxed, that all would go well. Me and my enormous naiveté. At the beginning everything was ok; the police marched alongside us, without anymore more. Then, they started charging, blinding, asphyxiating. At the Place du Canada, it was chaos. It was crazy everywhere. In the middle, on the sides, in front, in back. Explosions; too much noise, too much light. People were running everywhere, trapped.
I would like to reiterate my thanks to [nearby restaurant] Jimmy Guaco’s for having welcomed us with open arms, with glasses of water and smiles. It was the first time that my body trembles, it was the first time that I looked at my boyfriend and told him, “my love, I can’t breathe any more, I can’t see anything. It burns.” It was the first time that he was powerless, as he himself could not breathe either. All of this, why? We are still looking for the reason. Everything was happening in a peaceful manner; we were doing nothing, other than marching for our rights.
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. Continue reading →
Closures. Cuts. Reductions. Freezes. Increases in workloads. Confrontations. Week after week, the political and social reality builds up like a storming sky, souring our moods with the promise of a grey winter, followed by at least a few seasons of discontent.
Or maybe not?
Take a look at the ambiguous poll of the week, in which, in sum, Quebecois people seem to say both one thing and its opposite. It seems that they approve of most of the government’s austerity measures while at the same time feeling dissatisfied with them.
Next, try to predict what the social climate will look like in the coming weeks.