As of this Saturday [March 21], when there will be a popular protest in the streets of Montréal, we will be more than 37 000 students on strike. Over the course of the coming weeks, there will be more than 110 000 members of students associations, in the four corners of the province, who will be consulted on the topic of this strike.
Often, we are asked why we, the students, are mobilizing ourselves against austerity measures. For us, the answer seems clear: the government is trying, through its repeated compressions, to place the entirety of our public services in permanent crisis. The final objective of this government is that we turn more towards the private sector and establish a “user-payer” model in Québec. In rendering our services non-functional due to inadequate financing, the solution of Mr. Couillard and his minsters will be to raise individual fees.
We refuse this logic which reduces us simply to consumers who will need to pay for each use of our health, education, daycare and all other services necessary for the good functioning of a rich society.
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 →