April 7, 2015

English Edition, No. 5

Growing Resistance to Austerity Agenda and Nation Wrecking

Denounce Brutal Police Assault on Protesters! Montreal Police and Couillard Government Must Be Held to Account!

Growing Resistance to Austerity Agenda and Nation Wrecking
Denounce Brutal Police Assault on Protesters! Montreal Police and Couillard Government Must Be Held to Account! - Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec -
Massive Rejection of Couillard Government's Leitão Austerity Budget


Growing Resistance to Austerity Agenda and Nation Wrecking

Denounce Brutal Police Assault on Protesters!
Montreal Police and Couillard Government Must
Be Held to Account!

- Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec -

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) vehemently condemns the brutal assault by Montreal police with night sticks and tear gas on the tens of thousands of demonstrators denouncing the austerity agenda on April 2. We unequivocally condemn the police service and the Couillard government for the use of violence against students, workers and members of community organizations denouncing the anti-social austerity agenda and defending the rights of all. The police and Couillard government must render public account for their assault against those, especially the youth, who are fighting for the rights of all. We also condemn the monopoly media who shamelessly lie, saying that so-called police action was necessary to disperse protesters who refused to leave after the event was over.

The facts are as follows. The demonstration brought together tens of thousands of people and was composed mainly of youth, mostly Cégep students (from Alma, Chicoutimi, Saint-Félicien, Drummmondville, Vieux Montreal, de Maisonneuve and many others), as well as university and high school students. At the time of the demonstration, approximately 150,000 students were on strike across Quebec. Also present at the demonstration were many contingents of workers, including members of Unifor, the United Steelworkers, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and from the public sector, teachers, hospital workers and municipal employees. There was a strong contingent of teachers from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), members of the Syndicat des professeurs de l'UQAM on strike that day because of stalled negotiations due to the administration implementing the austerity agenda, and also to denounce the administration's threats to expel UQAM students for their political actions. Their placards read, "No to Authoritarianism!" The event also included several contingents of community organizations defending the rights of the poorest people who are most drastically affected by service cuts and fee increases. The purpose of the demonstration was to send a clear message to the Couillard government that the collective struggle of the people against the anti-social austerity agenda will inevitably grow despite the retrogressive budget and the threats, intimidation, police violence and reprisals which are the response of a government unfit to govern.

After a few speeches, the march began at 1:30 pm from Victoria Square. The spirit was one of resolute struggle against the anti-social austerity agenda, but no one sought any confrontation, physical or otherwise, with the police. At one point the demonstration turned east onto Maisonneuve St., and when the demonstrators reached Papineau St., a cordon of riot police blocked them and demanded that the demonstrators turn south. At one point, without warning, the police started beating the demonstrators on the front lines and then beat those who came to the aid of their colleagues on the ground. Police launched tear gas in two waves on demonstrators on the front lines, despite the risk of serious injury, and also into the middle of the crowd. Later, at the end of the demonstration, which reconverged to the west, police charged at demonstrators to force them to disperse.

The PMLQ calls on all the workers and organizations to strongly denounce the police assault and the wave of criminalization against the students to try to crush and demoralize them. The Couillard government and its crass goons, like the so-called Minister of Education who called on universities to expel students for their political activities, must be condemned. It is the Couillard government that is primarily responsible. It uses the political violence of its majority dictate to impose an agenda on the people that it knows the people have denounced as a broad attack against society as a whole. It is not an agenda decided on by the people but in the private backrooms of the monopolies and their institutions, such as ratings agencies and the like.

Violence against protesters demonstrates political cowardice and the lack of rational arguments on the part of those whose only weapon is mass repression when the people stand up for their rights.

The demonstration, as expressed by all the speakers and demonstrators with their placards and slogans, showed that the austerity agenda is an attack against the whole of society, and that the struggle will continue until its repeal. The most popular sign of the whole event was a tiny sign held by a demonstrator strategically placed for all to see that said "Couillard out!" More than ever, this spirit imbues the people who will not be silenced!

Long Live the Struggle of the People Against the
Anti-Social Austerity Agenda and for Their Rights!
Hands Off the Youth!
The Police and Couillard Government Must Be Held to Account!

(April 3, 2015)

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Massive Rejection of Couillard Government's
Leitão Austerity Budget

In all of Quebec's regions union organizations, professional associations, groups fighting in defence of rights or for their communities are denouncing and rejecting the 2015-2016 budget tabled by the government's Finance Minister on March 26. The government's response is that it understands that it's difficult but that it's what has to be done to get public finances back on track and more sustainable over the medium term. In fact, that is all Finance Minister Leitão had to say to the many protesters who came to denounce his budget on March 30 at the Bonaventure Hotel as he presented it to the members of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. The fraud is to talk about public finances being put "back on track" when they serve neither the public, nor the public good and are being used for other purposes. What the government is intent on hiding is the fact that it is using public finances to serve the rich, monopoly right and its increasing demands. The twisted logic will not pass.

This movement is imbued with the broad social consciousness expressed by the youth and students in the protest movement that led to the defeat of the Charest government in 2012. This consciousness rejects the dismantling of social programs, privatization of health care, attacks on the most vulnerable, sellout of natural resources, the oil monopolies' pipeline projects, disregard for the natural environment and the use of police violence, back-to-work legislation and the courts against those affirming their rights.

In Montreal, weekly demonstrations on Saturdays at 2:00 pm began on March 21. The actions, which begin at Emilie-Gamelin Park, have been called by Printemps 2015 (Spring 2015), a coalition of action committees that oppose various aspects of the austerity agenda and the imposition of monopoly right.

Demonstrations and other actions, including local strike actions in the health care sector, continue to take place in all regions of Quebec. Strike votes will continue to take place throughout the coming period in the public sector where spontaneous walk-outs are also a regular occurrence as nursing and other health care workers reach their tether's end.

Amongst the students, strike votes took place over the last two weeks of March as part of a campaign organized by the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ) for a "social strike against austerity" to force the Couillard government to back off in its anti-social offensive. ASSÉ is holding a strategy meeting this weekend to decide whether to continue the strike movement or prepare for a campaign in the fall that will coincide with the beginning of the public sector workers' collective bargaining. Public sector collective agreements expired on March 31 and negotiations for a new contract will take place in conditions where the government is already carrying out massive spending cuts. Negotiations will also take place in the wake of Bill 10, which gave the Minister of Health special powers, eliminated dozens of local health care agencies and imposed a restructuring of trade union organizations across the system.

Since its election, the Couillard government has continued to harp that "Quebeckers live beyond their means" and that "everyone must do their part" to reduce the national debt and balance the budget. It specifically targets public sector workers who have "better salaries and working conditions than most" as it prepares for public sector negotiations in the fall.

Minister of Finance Carlos Leitão tabled the Quebec budget on March 26, which sets the lowest spending growth in the history of Quebec in order to "eliminate the deficit." The government's plan is to eliminate a $2.4 billion deficit in one year with the overall spending growth limited to 1.2 per cent in 2015-2016 -- 1.4 per cent in health care, 0.2 per cent in education and a decrease of 1.1 per cent in all other programs. The budget also allocates $10.5 billion to pay the rich through debt servicing. In advance of the budget and its drastic cuts to education, Leitão said that it was a budget written "with the youth in mind" because it reduces the burden on their future by paying down the national debt. The youth gave this a fitting reply with a militant mass action in Quebec City on March 26 and another in Montreal on April 2, boldly rejecting this attempt to blame the people for the debt and to expose the fraud that increased debt-servicing is for any purpose other than to pay the rich.

April 2 Mass Action

Close to 70,000 people marched in the streets of Montreal on April 2 to tell the Couillard government that the anti-social austerity agenda will not pass. The march was called by ASSÉ with the slogan "No to Another Austerity Budget -- Our Social Assets Are Worth More than Their Profits." The demonstration consisted of students in the main, joined by many contingents of workers, including members of Unifor, the United Steelworkers, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and from the public sector, teachers, hospital workers and municipal employees. There was a strong contingent of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) teachers from the Syndicat des professeurs de l'UQAM, on strike that day because of stalled negotiations with an administration that has taken up the austerity agenda, and also to denounce the administration's threats to expel UQAM students for their participation in strike actions.

College students came from across Quebec and the march included banners from Alma, Chicoutimi, Saint-Félicien and Drummmondville, Vieux Montreal, de Maisonneuve and many other Cégeps. At the time of the demonstration, approximately 150,000 students were on strike across Quebec.



The ideological offensive of the state and the monopoly media has been accompanied by police violence, intimidation and reprisals. The Couillard government, just like the Charest government in 2012, has declared that nothing will stop the wide-scale transfer of Quebec's social wealth to private interests and that students must "obey the law." In the days preceding the April 2 action, Education Minister François Blais called on university administrations to "make an example" by targeting "a few" students participating in the strike for disciplinary measures, including temporary or permanent suspension. The April 2 demonstration was brutally attacked by police. The Montreal police declared the demonstration "illegal" using the notorious P6 city bylaw adopted in 2012 in an attempt to deter the students' nightly and mass protests. P6 requires the organizers of demonstrations to provide an itinerary of the march to the police in order for the action to be considered "legal." Students have refused to concede on this attack on the right to assembly. A new placard has appeared in the anti-austerity protest marches: "Mr Couillard, you did not provide the itinerary for your austerity agenda."

March 30 Strike by Medical Students


"I'm against Bill 20 because: family medicine is what I love; health care 
is not an order at McDonald's; our patients deserve quality care; 
all patients deserve access to humane medical care.

Medical students across Quebec voted for a one-day strike on March 30 to protest Bill 20 that seeks to impose quotas on doctors as a so-called solution to the lack of family doctors. Family doctors who don't meet the quota of weekly patient visit will have their pay docked up to 30 per cent. The Quebec federation of family doctors has denounced the dehumanizing effect of imposing "assembly line" medicine instead of making the necessary investments to attract young doctors to family medicine. More than 79 per cent of medical students at Laval University voted to strike on March 30, with an historic high participation rate of 70 per cent. Students at the University of Montreal, the University of Sherbrooke and McGill University also voted to participate in the one-day strike. 


"Because I want to take the necessary time to know the person behind the disease I am treating." "Cutting health care and education deprives the people."

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