Austerity fashioned from candle ends (Le Journal de Montréal)

By Ianik Marcil
Originally published on February 19, 2015
See original French text here: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2015/02/19/austerite-de-bout-de-chandelles

After the “Hats Off, Girls!” program, which encourages young women to choose non-traditional occupations, today we learn that the Couillard government is slashing the “Secondaire en spectacle” [High schools on stage] program. Yet another short-sighted decision, which shows that the current government, under the pretext of “fiscal restraint”, is pursuing ideological goals.

There is nothing illegitimate about the party in power redefining the size and role of government. This is an act of political vision that can be defended in the democratic game. On the other hand, using the argument of a balanced budget as a weapon to dismantle specific programs is at best misleading, and at worst, is an intellectual fraud and deceit.

I have written it enough in these columns and elsewhere – and I’m obviously not the only one -: there is no urgency or imminent disaster. To suggest otherwise, as do Philippe Couillard, Martin Coiteux and Carlos Leitão, is to downright falsify reality.

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Students are calling for a “social strike” (Radio-Canada)

Originally published on March 13, 2015
See original French text here: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/2015/03/13/001-associations-etudiants-greve-23-mars-asse.shtml

Strengthened by achieving their critical threshold 30,000 strikers, student associations, grouped mostly within the Association for Student Union Solidarity (ASSÉ), call for the whole of society to join their movement against fiscal austerity and exploitation of hydrocarbons.

Some 20 000 students representatives of the Université de Québec à Montréal, as well as representatives of the Université de Montréal and the Université Laval have invited the population – unions, community and women’s groups – to join the ranks of their demonstration on 21 March at Émilie-Gamelin Park.

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The State is Not a Family (Le Journal de Montréal / IRIS)

By Simon Tremblay-Pepin
Originally published on February 26, 2015
See original French text here: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2015/02/26/letat-nest-pas-une-famille
 
The President of the Treasury Board recently said on the radio that although a family and a state have size differences, the budget of the one and the other must be understood in the same way. This coming from the mouth of someone who has taught economics is highly surprising. When that same person has important political responsibilities, these words become downright irresponsible.

Of course, the state budget has a column for expenditures and one for income, like that of any family. But as Mr. Coiteux knows, the similarity ends there. Let’s see why.

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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. Continue reading