Two Demonstrations Against
Resounding No to Racist Attacks
Against Communities in Montreal
Two Demonstrations Against Islamophobia
• Resounding No to Racist Attacks Against
Communities in Montreal
• Denounce the Couillard Government for its
Students and Youth! No to Police Brutality!
• Leitão Budget 2015-2016: Destruction
of Public Services
• Resistance to Austerity Agenda Continues
Demonstrations Against Islamophobia
Resounding No to Racist Attacks
Against Communities in Montreal
On Saturday, March 28 at 3:30 pm, responding to the call
by rights defence organizations, hundreds of people gathered at the
corner of Belair and Pie-IX in Montreal in what is called Little
Maghreb. Originally planned to counter an Islamophobic demonstration
organized by an obscure group linked to the German racist group Pegida,
the gathering turned into a broad opposition to any racist attack
against Quebec communities, particularly the Muslim community, which is
the target of attack by various governments and their media. Racist
attacks are organized by the state, said Christine Dandenault, leader
of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec, which had a contingent in the
demonstration. "It's not the people who are racist but the rich and
their state, and the Harper government today with its anti-Muslim
statements and efforts to associate Islam to the Islamic State in order
to justify its warmongering activities against the peoples in Iraq,
Iran and now in Syria," she added.
After enthusiastically applauding the news that the
racist demonstration was cancelled (only three people showed up at the
rendez-vous and had to flee from the denunciations of the crowd), the
contingent marched along Jean-Talon Street. Warmly greeted by
passers-by, residents and motorists, protesters marched to the
intersection of Boulevard Saint-Michel, chanting "We denounce the
racist laws and those who pass them!" "Elected representatives, party
leaders, end islamophobia!" "In the newspapers and on TV, racism is
always there!" "Enough is enough, respect veiled women!" and "Austerity
is our enemy, that's what unites us!"
Around 4:30 pm a large contingent of the student
demonstration against austerity and the Leitão budget, which had
left Émilie Gamelin Park at 2:00 pm, joined the anti-racist
protesters on Jean-Talon Street in a joyous celebration.
The following day, it was the turn of a small group of
no more than 10 people from the "Pro-Charter Collective" (referring to
a draft bill for a Charter of secularism and values) who had come to
demonstrate against courses given by Adil Charkaoui at College de
Maisonneuve, to be greeted by about sixty people, mostly students. The
anti-racist rally was organized by the Students' Association of College
de Maisonneuve which called on its members to resolutely oppose this
manifestation of racism and Islamophobia. The lies and disinformation
to the effect that radicalized youth have left for Syria because of
Adil Charkaoui's courses and "radical Islam" were opposed by the
slogans in defence of the Arab-Muslim community at the college, chanted
from the students' powerful megaphone. After less than 30 minutes, the
small "Pro-Charter" collective had to pack up and leave.
In this way, the youth and their allies are clearly
defending their aspirations for a modern Quebec that defends the rights
of all, made up of all who live here, regardless of language, race,
skin color, lifestyle, religion, or political opinions.
While Pegida had announced another protest for Friday,
April 3, it published an announcement on March 30 cancelling it.
Below is a photo report of the anti-racist demonstration
in Little Maghreb.
Denounce the Couillard Government for its Attacks
Against Students and Youth! No to Police Brutality!
On March 26, the same day the
Couillard government's budget began, hundreds of students took to the
streets of Quebec City to denounce the budget and demand an end to the
government's austerity agenda. During the demonstration police charged
protesters and a student was severely injured in the face by a
projectile, a tear gas canister, launched less than a meter's distance
from her. The PMLQ denounces this act as well as other acts of police
brutality committed against thousands of students on strike this past
week to contest austerity and the destruction of the education system.
The PMLQ condemns the statements of Minister of Public Safetey, Lise
Thériault, who claims she was affected by pictures of the
injured student, but continues to defend her government s law and order
agenda. The Couillard government, just like Charest in 2012, has
declared that nothing will stop the wide scale transfer of Quebec's
social wealth to private interests and that students must "respect the
law." Minister Thériault claims that the police are taking into
consideration the recommendations of the report of the Commission
spéciale d examen des événements du printemps 2012
(Special Commission to Examine the Events of Spring 2012), which blames
the Charest government and the police for how they handled the crisis.
How then do they explain what happened to the injured student and the
far too many arrests and fines for over a week? Because the route was
not given and therefore the actions were illegal and this justifies it
all? There is no justification for the criminalization of the student
actions. This government is full of excuses and when those don't work
they find others. This brutality has nothing to do with the fact that
the students don't hand over the route of the march to the police. It
is precisely because of state repression that the students took the
decision not to comply with municipal and police regulations. The
despicable response of the Couillard government is an act of
desperation as it has nothing other than repression to offer in the
face of the just demands of the students and the people of Quebec.
Those demands have been part of the public discourse for months now,
supported by hundreds of actions of workers across many sectors of
society, affirming that austerity is not a solution for Quebec. The
path of paying the rich and diverting resources away from and
destroying education and healthcare services to serve the rich has been
No to Police Brutality!
the Couillard Government's Austerity and Destruction Agenda!
the Leitão budget!
Leitão Budget 2015-2016: Destruction of Public
Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitão presented
government's 2015-2016 budget on March 26. Many characterize this
budget as one with
the lowest spending growth in Quebec history regarding public services
and social programs. In response, the government declares itself proud
of the budget's
"balance" and "financial stability, a crucial condition for economic
growth and prosperity."
In fact, nothing could be more "unbalanced" than this
more one-sided. The dismantling of public services will take place at
an even quicker pace
than last year, which will make the situation untenable with regard to
services and for the workers who provide them.
By the government's own admission, during the two years
2014-2015 budget, $7.274-billion in budget cuts have been made,
$6.095-billion of which
are in government spending. Within that, over $2.4-billion in cuts in
the budgets of government ministries and agencies have been made, plus
salary cuts of
$500-million as part of the overall staffing freeze in the public
sector, $300-million in cuts to municipal budgets, and $200-million as
a result of modifications
in the organization and governance of the healthcare and social
Researchers at the Institut de recherche et
socio-économiques demand to know where any stimulus measures are
found: "For this year,
$120-million in new investments. Or, 0.12% of government revenue.
Concentrated where? The 'key sectors of the economy.' In short,
business subsidies [the
Maritime Strategy] represent the largest amounts to encourage the
development of the seaway and its surroundings."
For months, healthcare and education workers joined by
public sector have been holding demonstrations and strikes, sometimes
even outside the
legal strike periods, to serve notice to the government that its cuts
in the public sector are creating an increasingly unsustainable
situation. But the Couillard
government is committed to plunging Quebec into chaos because of its
fixation on balancing the budget to pay the rich. According to the
by transferring more and more social wealth to privileged private
interests can prosperity be created. This nonsense must not pass!
Lowest Spending Growth in Quebec's History
Minister Leitão confirmed that the 2014-2015
budget ended with a
deficit of $2.350-billion and that the 2015-2016 budget will be
to analysts, the nominal consolidated expenditure growth in 2015-2016
will be one of the lowest in Quebec's history, at 1.5%.
Consolidated expenditures include Ministerial
spending, special funds (Labour Relations Board, Commission of
Board etc), non-budgetary agencies (Quebec Housing Corporation,
National Library and Archives of Quebec etc), healthcare, social
services and education
entities, as well as debt servicing.
In the fiscal year 2014-2015, the growth of consolidated
expenditures excluding debt servicing was 2.9%, and in 2013-2014, 4.7%.
From 2015-2016 to
2019-2020, the nominal annual growth will be only 1.5%.
The situation is dire if one considers what is called
departmental expenditures. For 2014-2015, growth in program
expenditures is estimated
at 2.1% compared to 3.3% in 2013-2014, and will be 1.2% in 2015-2016,
2.2% in 2016-2017 and 2.8% from 2017 to 2018.
According to the workers in these sectors, the mere
programs from the perspective of fixed and other expenditures demands a
growth of at least 3-4%. That rate does not include the new and growing
needs of the population for which budgets must allocate value or an
to recover the health of the programs from past cuts.
The 2015-2016 budget revives what the government calls
lever." This neo-liberal trickery, disconnected from the needs of the
people or economy,
requires any new spending to be offset by an equivalent reduction
elsewhere in the system. This austerity gimmick all but guarantees a
weakening of the
economy, especially programs and services to the public.
The 2014-2015 budget planned a 3% increase in healthcare
and 2.2% in education, which resulted in a real cut for both sectors
given their growing
needs and regular price inflation. But the cut is even deeper for the
coming year, a record low level according to many, with nominal growth
of 1.4% in
healthcare, 0.2% in education and a decrease of 1.1% in all other
programs. Already workers in healthcare and education have made it
clear that their sectors
will simply become impossible to maintain under conditions of forced
austerity. The government refuses to listen and repeats its mantra that
workers, who are already barely sustaining the system and doing so at
the risk of their physical and mental health, must continue "their
Transfer of Social Wealth to the Rich
The main feature of the budget is the full-fledged
public services and social programs. The hidden hand behind the
austerity budget is the
accelerated transfer of the social wealth produced by the workers to
the rich. One specific measure in this regard is the acceleration of
Quebec's national debt. The government is on track to reduce Quebec's
debt to 45% of GDP for the year 2015-2016. To facilitate payments to
owners of the
debt the government uses funds from the price people pay for
electricity, the tax on alcoholic beverages, and beginning in
2015-2016, the entire government
revenue from mining.
Global moneylenders holding Quebec's debt appear
the current return and want their social wealth freed up for investment
the world where greater profits beckon. Parking social wealth in
government debt is safe and profitable for a time for the rich.
However, given the uneven
development of global capitalism, paying down the public debt is a way
to put funds at the disposal of private interests to invest in various
projects that appear
more profitable. Both increasing and decreasing public debt are methods
to pay the rich given the concrete conditions.
According to Minister Leitão, the anti-social
should be looked at as part of the restructuring of the delivery of
services. In addition to
cuts, one method is to privatize public services and sell off public
assets. If one could closely follow the money from paying down the
national debt, undoubtedly
one would find some of it used by private interests to buy and gain
control of public services and assets.
Minister Leitão says he is proud of the return to
"balance" in the
budget, as are most neo-liberal politicians across Canada, including
minister. Leitão also enjoys speaking of a return to
another generic term grossly manipulated for self-serving purposes.
The Oxford Dictionary provides several general
definitions of the word "balance." Here are a few:
"A situation in which different elements are equal or in
proportions; A counteracting weight or force; Harmony of design and
Establish equal or appropriate proportions of elements; Remain in a
What balance is Leitão referring to? With regard
to the budget, he
is talking about balance between two columns of figures, between the
and the revenue column. To obtain balance, Leitão says he has
different elements of the budget in equilibrium: revenue and
expenditures. The balance
reveals that two different elements are equal in some third way, in
this case not weight or volume but money.
This delirium about balance when dealing with such
complex issues as
the national public revenue and expenditures makes a mockery of
on this issue alone proves the Couillard Liberal Party unfit to rule.
Reducing the public budget to seeking a balance between complex aspects
of an economy
through an expenditure column and revenue column is to carry out
disinformation aimed at covering up the damage being done to the
economy overall and
the attacks on the well-being and security of the people under the
banner of austerity to pay the rich.
Reducing investments in public services and social
profoundly anti-social, for which the Liberal government must be held
to account. Public
services and social programs are crucial building blocks of a modern
economy. Public sector workers create enormous social wealth from which
all can benefit
and affirm their humanity.
Opposition to the anti-social austerity agenda will
continue to grow amongst public sector workers, students and the
population at large. The
Couillard government and its austerity agenda to pay the rich are in
contradiction with the needs of Quebec society. The March budget shows
that the system
of cartel parties allows powerful private interests to impose their
will in defiance of the popular will. It also shows that it is up to
the working class of Quebec
to constitute itself as the opposition and mobilize everyone around a
pro-social alternative. It can be done!
Increase Funding for Social Programs!
Resistance to Austerity Agenda Continues
been held at 2:00 pm beginning at
Place Emilie-Gamelin to protest the Couillard government's austerity
agenda. The weekly demonstrations are called by Printemps 2015 (Spring
2015), a coalition of action committees of various sections struggling
against the austerity agenda and the subjection of the economy to the
monopolies, including oil monopolies. Workers, families and
environmental groups have been walking shoulder to shoulder with
students in the thousands in addition to many other marches, student
strikes and other actions over the past two weeks against the austerity
agenda as a whole and the devastating effects it has on Quebec society.
Philippe Couillard, Premier of Quebec and MNA for
Roberval, was greeted by nearly 500 people, mostly workers, who rallied
to denounce the austerity agenda in front of Complexe Jacques-Gagnon
where the Liberal Party forum was being held. Around 30 demonstrators
managed to enter the complex chanting "Stop Couillard" to the forum
delegates before being removed by police. According to the press, the
50 or so participants at the forum were then locked down in the room
for "their security," while the Sûreté du Quebec (SQ)
police, aided by
their Roberval counterparts who had been called in on an emergency
basis, attempted to silence the protestors outside.
have been quick to declare all
demonstrations illegal as their itinerary is not provided by the
organizers or if protestors walk against the flow of traffic, and to
invoked the P6 municipal bylaw to detain protestors wearing masks.
Several hundred arrests have been made at the various actions and many
fines have been issued. A student was seriously injured when a tear gas
cannister was fired from point blank range at her face at the Quebec
City demonstration on March 26 to protest the Liberal government's
budget. Nine UQAM students were brought before the university's
executive on March 20, and face suspensions or expulsion for disrupting
classes and demonstrating on campus during the 2012 student general
2012, the Couillard government is pursuing
it's anti-social, destructive austerity agenda come hell or high water.
For months the public sector and other sections of society have been in
action to defend their working conditions and the public services they
deliver. Just as in 2012 school administrations are intimidating
students and the police are brutally repressing the right to dissent
and freedom of assembly. Just as in 2012 the Liberals are refusing to
account for their anti-social and anti-national agenda and the
students, workers and people are calling for political accountablity.
the individual and collective rights and
harmonize the individual and collective rights with the general
interests of society. It is to take up the social responsibility to
decide the political, economic and social affairs of the nation. To be
political today is to defend the public good against the sell-out of
the nation's resources for private interests and to defend the social
programs and public services against privatization in the service of
private interests. It is to fight to restrain monopoly right and defend
public right on all questions. To be political is to stop the backward
motion of society to medievalism when everyone was forced to fend for
themselves. To be political is to push society past the crisis-ridden
welfare state towards a modern society that recognizes that all have
rights by virtue of being born to society and that the responsibility
of the state is to guarantee these rights."
has intensified its anti-social,
anti-national agenda. The people must step up their actions and
participate in wide discussions on what kind of Quebec is needed and
which direction for the economy.
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