Struggle against privatization, user fees, and austerity

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..pics

Manifestation populaire contre l'austérité et l'économie du pétrole tous les samedis : le 21 mars...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glune/sets/72157651075980260/

Unionist

And also yesterday - a bit eclipsed in the MSM by the huge Montréal demo - about 500 people came from around the province to Québec City, at the call of FRAPRU, to march to Philippe Couillard's official residence in defence of social housing, in view of the coming provincial and federal budgets:

[url=http://www.frapru.qc.ca/survie/#more-2232]Plus de 500 personnes manifestent pour la survie du logement social[/url]

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture
epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..some of the links are worth following

Non to austerity in Quebec: Demonstrations scheduled for Saturday

http://rabble.ca/news/2015/03/non-to-austerity-quebec-demonstrations-sch...

Unionist

Montreal police are fascist thugs - like their masters.

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Of course the pigs turned their dogs on the protesters. Expect much more of it.

lagatta

And now they want to cut the food programme for kids in daycare...

http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/03/31/compressions-dans-les-garderi...

Promoting nutritious food for children has always been among the aims of the CPE scheme.

Making parents pack a lunch is not only another burden, in terms of time as well as money, it also means that the little ones won't all be eating equal meals (basically the same except for dietary considerations such as allergies).

Now the Libs seem to be denying it, I hear on Radio-Canada as I write. They almost seem surprised that such attacks on social programmes and women's rights piss people off.

Brachina

www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/le-devoirs-shaky-memory

 

 Was Bouchard to the right of Couillard?

Unionist

Brachina wrote:

 Was Bouchard to the right of Couillard?

You sound surprised.

Bouchard was Brian Mulroney's Québec lieutenant, and served as a minister in his government. As premier, he was inspired by Mike Harris's economic policies. He is as right-wing as they come.

 

 

Unionist

While public sector workers and teachers continue their rotating strikes, parents and children have been engaged in this "human chain" movement since May - hundreds of schools are targeted - opposing cuts to education budgets, demanding more support for the public school system, and in solidarity with teachers and support staff.

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-human-chains-strike-teache... and teachers form human chains outside Quebec schools[/url]

 

lagatta

There are also "strikes" at a wide range of community groups, including my tenants' association.

http://www.pressegauche.org/spip.php?article23897

http://www.defensedesdroits.com/calendrier-des-actions-des-2-3-novembre/ Throughout Québec.

swallow

Two more strike days this month, with more rallies planned. I assume it's 2 days in other regions as well. 

In other news, [url=http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/11/05/why-trudeau-must-sa..."Doctors and health experts from Quebec plead with the new Prime Minister to stop the unraveling of medicare before it’s too late."[/url] They make some good points, though the optics of a Trudeau govnerment interference in Quebec health jurisdiction are, well, problematic.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Isn't health care a mostly provincial bailiwick?  Unless the sole issue is an unjust cut to transfer funds from the feds, doesn't Quebec have Quebec's back on this?

Unionist

swallow wrote:

 They make some good points, though the optics of a Trudeau govnerment interference in Quebec health jurisdiction are, well, problematic.

The real "interference" in Quebec health jurisdiction was the toxic Chaoulli Supreme Court decision, which gave Charest the excuse to foster a two-tier system.

swallow

I agree, of course. Hell, I am paying to access health care through a rural community solidarity clinic myself, since I could find no other way to access the system. 

So should the Canada Health Act be enforced by Ottawa, as the authors say? Quebec is moving into clear violation of it. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Quebec teachers expose government hypocrisy in public sector bargaining

As if to remind teachers of the reason they would be walking the picket-line, many teachers throughout Quebec woke up on the first of several rotating strike days to the news that the government had found $1.3 billion dollars to once again bail-out Bombardier.

For months the Quebec government had been telling its teachers that there was no money to maintain limits on class size, no money to maintain the weighting system that ensures that classes with a higher proportion of students with special needs are either reduced in size or supported with additional staff, no money to maintain budgets for the resource teachers that staff school resource rooms where students can go for one-on-one help, and no money to offer Quebec’s teachers, already the lowest paid in Canada, anything more than a paltry 3% over 5 years.

Now suddenly when it came to bailing out a corporation that had in recent years moved 1700 Quebec jobs to Mexico, been exposed for hiding approximately half a billion dollars in a Luxembourg tax haven and hired former Liberal Finance Minister Raymond Bachand as its chief lobbyist, the government had over a billion dollars to play with....

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

The by-elections were disappointing but predictable. If we can find a bright spot it would have to be the fact that in my riding (St-Henri Ste-Anne) QS got over 20% of the vote not far behind the PQ and Liberals. The other bright spot is that CAQ got just over 5% of the vote.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..wow!!!!

Quebec's strike wave rolls toward a showdown

WORKERS IN the Canadian province of Quebec are mobilizing the largest struggle against austerity in North America.

Public-sector workers across Quebec have hit the picket lines for a wave of strikes to defend jobs, wages, working conditions and public services. In the first round of rotating regional strikes from October 26-29, more than 400,000 unionists organized in the Common Front shut down schools, hospitals and government offices in and around Montreal.

Independently, the Fédération autonome de l'eseignement (FAE) led its 34,000 French language teachers in three days of rotating strikes on October 26-28. A third union, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), which represents 65,000 nurses and health-care workers, has also staged a series of protests.

The Common Front called out its supporters for a second round of strikes this week, to be followed by a third round on November 16-17. If no settlement is reached, it plans to call for a general strike of public-sector workers on December 1-3 across Quebec. If the FAE and FIQ join in, that would mean more than half a million workers would be on strike....

Unionist

[url=http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/concordia-student-injured-in-... student injured in anti-austerity protest has a lawsuit pending against police[/url]

Quote:

A Concordia University student who is suing the Montreal police suffered injuries Friday night during an anti-austerity protest when, she alleges, she was pushed to the ground by an undercover cop who was pretending to be part of the demonstration. 

Katie Nelson, 23, said she was taken to a hospital by ambulance after having been shoved from behind by someone she believes was an undercover police officer who was dressed to blend in with about 100 anti-austerity protesters who took part in a demonstration in downtown Montreal.

Nelson, who studies philosophy and human rights, said she was pushed after warning fellow protesters that a small group of people, who were dressed in black and wearing black masks, were actually police officers. She said she realized this after one of the men removed his mask and she recognized the officer who had arrested her in the past and is also one of the people named in a $24,000 lawsuit she filed against the city in 2013. The civil suit is scheduled to have an 18-day trial in June at the Montreal courthouse.   

“I recognized him immediately. He is in my lawsuit. There are many cops in the lawsuit and he is one of them,” Nelson said when asked how she knew the people posing as protesters were with the police. By her own estimate, Nelson has taken part in “hundreds” of protests since 2012. 

Nelson is suing the city and the police over how she received more than $6,500 in fines during the 2012 student protests over proposed tuition hikes. In her lawsuit, she claims she was specifically targeted by police for her political beliefs and was fined for everything under the sun, including jaywalking, swearing and spitting on the ground. 

Sometime after 8 p.m. on Friday, Nelson took part in a protest organized by a student association at Cégep du Vieux-Montreal, involving more than 100 demonstrators. 

“It got strangely violent right away. It wasn’t normal. We were marching near the (Gay) Village and there was a (police) intervention. Riot police came from the back and from up front,” Nelson said adding she decided to hide under a stairway to avoid potential violence. “I haven’t been afraid like that before.” 

When things appeared to settle down, Nelson said, she emerged from her hiding place and spotted the people wearing black clothing and masks. She said she initially figured they were protesters using a method called Black Bloc. But, the experienced protester said, she also found the situation unusual “because Black Bloc (protesters) normally don’t hang around. They disappear.”

She said the police officer she recognized had taken off his mask and was yelling “Let’s go comrades!”

“That’s when he recognized me. He put his mask on and turned to another person next to him and started whispering in his ear,” Nelson said, adding when she confronted the undercover officer he started swearing at her.   

She said she warned five other actual protesters in the area “This is a cop!” and then screamed at the police officer she knew who he was and mentioned her lawsuit. In her lawsuit, Nelson alleged the officer she recognized had arrested her illegally in the past. 

Nelson said after a friend approached her and suggested they leave, she noticed one of the masked people dressed in black was running toward her and figured there was no danger because, she assumed, the person was a protester. But, suddenly, the masked person pushed her from behind. She believes the person who pushed her was a police officer because he later joined a group that included the officer she recognized.

 

Unionist

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-daycare-workers-stage-ea... daycare workers stage early morning protest[/url]

Quote:
Daycare workers gathered in Montreal Thursday morning to protests against planned government cuts to childcare services in the province. [...]

In late November, associations representing Quebec's public and subsidized private daycares walked away from talks with the Quebec government, saying the cuts they're facing are much worse than they expected. 

An initial estimate put the cuts at $120 million, but the associations emerged from the talks claiming that figure was closer to $320 million.

The Association Québécoise des Centres de la Petite Enfance (AQCPE) said at $320 million, the cuts represented close to 5,000 jobs, or between 20 and 25 per cent of the educators in public and private subsidized daycares. [...]

The current rate of $7.30 a day per child will remain in effect, but when families prepare their annual income tax declarations, those who make more money will have to pay an additional amount.

Families with a total income of less than $55,000 will continue to pay the base amount of $7.30.

The fee will climb as high as $20 per day per child for families with a total annual income of more than $150,000.

quizzical

oh but Quebecers voted against national child care cause they had it already....

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

oh but Quebecers voted against national child care cause they had it already....

Quebecers fought for it - mainly women - won it in 1998 - and are fighting to protect it.

What is it about $7.00 that escapes your notice?

quizzical

what escapes your notice in the 320 million dollar cuts happening?

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

what escapes your notice in the 320 million dollar cuts happening?

I believe I informed you about the cuts - and about the struggle that Quebecers are waging against them. I don't understand your mocking tone - is it because we're east of Thunder Bay? Or are you disappointed that Quebec didn't see the value in the NDP's child care funding promise, which set rates at double what they are here now?

Get your province to implement universal public affordable child care. Or, tell me about the movement to achieve that in your province. I would like to learn from the experience of how people across Canada are fighting for this human right.

 

 

 

quizzical

our province won't even feed the hungry kids or look after them after they apprehend them from their parents because their parents can't feed or look after them.

 

swallow

Current floor cost is $7.30 not $7, I think. We get charged $8.10 (was $8 before Jan. 1) in a subsidized after-school spot. 

We have to fight for what we have, not make comparisons to other provinces. That way lies a race to the bottom. 

quizzical

is this per day swallow?

swallow

per day, yes. 

Unionist

swallow wrote:

Current floor cost is $7.30 not $7, I think.

You're right, I forgot, it went from $7 to $7.30 in October 2014.

Quote:
We have to fight for what we have, not make comparisons to other provinces. That way lies a race to the bottom. 

Exactly - which is the reason for this thread and reporting on these struggles. Québec is the only province that had huge student strikes over tuition - yet our tuition fees are vastly lower than anywhere (except maybe NL).

Likewise with child care, where there is a real movement against the Liberals' planned increases (and sliding scale based on income), general cutbacks, and for improved working conditions and salaries. Québec is way ahead of the other provinces, yet I'm unaware of any real life movement elsewhere in the way we have here. I'm not saying it doesn't exist. I'm saying I'm not aware of it. I'd welcome reports like the ones we're been posting here about QC for years.

So to repeat what you said, in a different form. We fought for what we have, and we are fighting to keep it. The comparison to other provinces is this: What are they waiting for? Justin Trudeau? Mulcair? Greens? Students, women, workers and others must mobilize throughout Canada, otherwise nothing will ever change. No government in QC brought us "gifts" on a silver platter.

ETA: Forgot to mention (for quizzical and others). Marois's PQ had planned to increase the $7 to $9. The Liberals promised to cancel that and increase rates by the cost of living. The PQ was defeated in 2013. Now the Liberals are cheating, and people are fighting back.

Likewise, the Liberals were campaigning on increased tuition fees in 2012. Largely helped by the massive student resistance, Charest's Liberals were defeated... with the PQ promising to cancel the Liberal fee hikes. That happened, although the PQ then said they'd increase them by much less (cost of living).

In both cases, fighting back made the difference. And it will again.

quizzical

quizzical wrote:
is this per day swallow?

it's more expensive than the after school programs mom runs. her association charges 5/day. they don't do all day day care just after school and school closure days.

Unionist

Quizzical, I understand about after-school programs, but that's not what child care is about - we're talking about dropping your (usually pre-school) kid off and going to work. Women fought for it so that they could be free to enter (or stay in) the workforce.

quizzical

afterschool care is a big issue here. the day care doesn't do it except for on a 'drop in' basis.  for us it's what childcare is about too. and most parents here work shift work in the tourism support industry and this a big problem.

our fees are equivalent to Markam ON's fees. it's 25/day for preschool day care and you can only get it M-F 8:30-5.

your info is useful though. the day care here rents their space for like 6,000.00 a year and all utilities are included. how can they be struggling compared to for profit city daycares? anyway just an aside awareness from your figures. i'm going to save them and forward them to mom.

independants here charge 10/hr. how doe independant provision work in QC?

swallow

You can get private preschool child care for around $30 a day where I am, but I assume Montreal costs more. But there are some rebates at tax time. This is lower than anywhere else I've lived (which includes places in BC, Sask and Ontario). Where in Markham ON can you find spots at 25/day? That seems low....

Quebec mandates and partially funds after-school care at the school, ie school have to provide it where numbers warrant. I'd say it's a godsend, but actually it's more of a popular struggle-send, as Unionist has outlined. Care before school is also included in the flat per day rate. Full days on professional development days at $16 per day for up to 10 hours. Other school boards may have different fees. 

quizzical

you're right swallow it's low. i was wrong just asked on the day care web site. it's 36.00 here for a 8hr day and 40.50 for a 9 hr day it went up 18 months ago. i was outta date.

it's too bad families with young children here didn't fight for day care or realize they could. in part there's such a stigma about receiving 'social service funding' i don't know if they can get past it to do something for their own good.

if i have any more children i would. it's hard to rally people to a day care cause when your child is a teenager.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..what's going on please?

Quebec’s proposed deal with public sector workers: a hollow victory for unions?

Prior to the holidays, teachers, parents and students in Quebec received some hopeful news: the Common Front, consisting of unions representing over 400,000 of the province’s half a million public sector workers, had overcome their final hurdle and arrived at an agreement on salaries. The news was filled with stories of satisfied union leaders trumpeting the fact that they had persuaded the government to move from their initial offer of 3 per cent in salary increases over five years to an increase of between 9.15 per cent and 10.25 per cent per year.

It may therefore come as a surprise to readers to learn that many public sector workers are preparing to vote against the deal. Delegates for the federation representing health care workers, which represents nearly one-quarter of the Common Front’s membership, have already voted to reject the deal. The FAE labour federation, which represents 34,000 teachers in the province's French school boards (but is not a member of the Common Front), is recommending that its members reject a similar deal.

Why are Quebec workers, who have been without a contract since last April, skeptical of the proposed settlement? Because, on closer inspection, the deal on offer is not at all the victory that the Common Front leaders are claiming...

swallow

Child care workers, apparently, are not covered by the deal either. 

lagatta

A very tragic example of the impact of these cuts is the sudden closure of the Mélarcic Centre, the largest rehab centre in Québec. This was a place for the hardcore guys,  for many it was a last chance to get out of the prison system.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-government-clinic-melaric-...

Quote:

Located in Saint-André-d'Argenteuil, 90 kilometres west of Montreal, the 130-bed clinic was the largest of its kind in Quebec.

Its closing puts 17 employees out of work and disrupts the treatment of 75 current clients for alcoholism and drug addiction.

Of those 75 clients, 43 who were attending the clinic under judicial orders will return to detention centres. The remaining 32 will be transferred to other clinics or return home.

This is simply nuts. Other than the value of human lives, putting these guys back in the revolving door of homelessness, petty crime and incarceration will cost infinitely more to "the taxpayer"...

Québec rocker Dan Bigras, known for supporting help for homeless youth, spoke out about this on Radio-Canada morning show Gravel le Matin today.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Masked cops go on violent rampage during undercover operation

In infiltrating anti-austerity protest, Montreal police appear to have broken several laws

Montreal police, following a series of court rebukes over their use of mass arrests to routinely shut down peaceful protests, used undercover officers to infiltrate a small student protest on Friday, Dec. 18.

By the time the dust had settled, these undercover officers had sent one protester to the hospital, arbitrarily detained and assaulted another in front of several journalists and pulled a gun and pointed it at another group of unarmed protesters. All three of these stories were reported separately in various Montreal newspapers, but here for the first time is the full story of what happened that night....

alan smithee alan smithee's picture
lagatta

Yes, it is ridiculous. Even at current levels, it is impossible to dress properly, eat properly and afford a public transport pass and other requirements for a job search. And not everyone gets the opportunity to enrol in the training programmes they are touting; that ministry has cut back on staffing as well and there simply aren't enough funds or personnel for those training sessions to actually take place. Lots of young people would love to upgrade their computer and other skills - there is a big backlog.

Rates are ridiculously low here. The dirt-cheap Montréal apartments some of us have known are a thing of the past. While housing remains cheaper than in Vancouver or Toronto, you would be hard pressed to find anything at the full value of the tiny cheque, let alone money for food, clothing, personal hygiene and mobility.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

How could anyone possibly survive on $616 a month nowadays? Benefits should be higher and education/training should be covered.

And where are all these magical jobs for these people?

Charest was run out of town and now we have something much worse in Couillard. This is mean spirited,especially when you take in account their $50 000 raise and the $1B they gave away to Bombardier.

I'm tired of the poor being blamed for our financial woes. It's an attitude of prejudice. And they say there is no class war?

swallow

And now ex-Adequiste Sebastien Proulx is in charge of the child care system. Yikes.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Quebec Unions Debate a Settlement

quote:

Opposition to the Deal Grows

Like the FIQ, FAE is outside the Common Front and represents 34,000 teachers in French schools mainly in Montreal and the western areas of the province.

FAE Union President Sylvain Malette blasted the agreement, declaring, “To suggest that the lump sums are wage increases is demagoguery. On the eve of the New Year, our members are more likely to get rich by buying a lottery ticket.” The FAE has promised to continue the struggle and may vote on more strikes this winter.

An Organized and Discontent Rank-and-File

In perhaps the most important development, the Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS), which is inside the Common Front and represents over 110,000 workers, most of them low-wage employees in the health care sector, came out against the agreement after a stormy meeting of over 600 delegates on December 22. The delegates overruled their elected leadership that had come to the meeting recommending approval of the deal.

FSSS is instead proposing 10 more strike days this winter. This rejection of the deal and promise to continue the struggle is significant since the union represents over a quarter of the 400,000 members in the Common Front. In a statement after the meeting, FSSS spokesperson Jeff Begley said, “If there is money for doctors, for Bombardier and for tax dollars to be allowed to escape into tax shelters, there is money for our public services.”

Another union, Syndicat regroupant l'ensemble des professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ), which represents white-collar workers, has also has not approved the deal, nor struck a side agreement.

Benoit Renaud, an adult education teacher and member of FAE, underscored the significance of the FSSS joining his union in opposition to the agreement. “Many of us were worried that we would be isolated with just our 34,000 teachers if all the Common Front unions agreed to the deal,” Renaud said. “But now, with FSSS bringing its 110,000 members into an ongoing struggle, we have more confidence for the ongoing fight.”

The newly organized network of rank-and-file militants Lutte Commune, which formed in the run-up to fall's strikes and protests, is organizing a vote no campaign. They have prepared leaflets to distribute at meetings where union locals and federations will vote on the tentative agreement.

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