Community groups, unions, anti-capitalist activists, teachers and ordinary citizens: about 1,500 opponents of Couillard government austerity policies demonstrated Saturday afternoon in popular neighborhoods of the metropolis. At the rate slogans against Martin Coiteau, rich and austerity, the protesters called for an end to budget cuts and better funding for public services.
The unusual journey of this event organized by the Coalition Against User Fees and the privatization of public services, the Coalition Red Hand, was not “insignificant”. Left around 13: 30 pm Jarry Park, in the Villeray district, protesters bifurcated on Querbes Avenue in the heart of multi-ethnic district of Park Extension, one of the poorest in the country.
The event was then concluded symbolically in front of City Mall Mount Royal, a rich English-speaking enclave in the center of the island. “There is a fence separating the two neighborhoods. This is a strong symbol of social inequalities. We do not want a project of society where social inequalities are growing, as in other societies where fences separate the rich and poor neighborhoods, “says Veronique Laflamme, spokesman for the Coalition Red Hand.
The coalition, which brings together dozens of organizations from all backgrounds, is opposed to “project ransacking of public services and social programs” and argues for a series of tax measures such as the introduction of a tax on capital for banks and increasing taxes for large companies.
Teachers, child care workers, blue collar workers, firefighters: workers affected by the budget cuts were many in the crowd. Karine Boulianne, an educator in a CPE Montreal, wore her toddler on her back while grabbing a hand holding a sign. “I think it will kill the CPE,” if she protested.
Fabienne Nolet, an elementary school teacher in LaSalle notes the impact of cuts to year after year. This time, higher ratios of pupils may be very painful, she denounces. A colleague of a secondary school in Saint-Eustache, Marc St-Pierre, criticizes the government cuts in education. “I find that the government does not put its priorities in the right place. One cuts in services to students in difficulty, which increases their vulnerability, “he said.
The member for Québec solidaire Amir Khadir shares the “outrage” of the protesters and denounced “the indecency to cut public services when they are given as gifts to the wealthiest 1%.” The Member for Mercier did not mince words at the location of the Liberal government he accuses of sharing the ideology of Stephen Harper. “This is an ideological aim. The Liberals in Quebec wear conservative economic policies to destroy the welfare state that we have built over 40 years in Quebec. ”
The PQ MNA Sylvain Pagé believes the government “literally involves the future of the next generations” with its cuts in subsidized daycare and CPE. “We must protect this public network accessible to everyone,” says the spokesman of the official opposition family matters.
At the very end of the event, the Tempers flared when a spoilsport group is massaged against police officers before a branch of a bank. A young woman leaning on the bike a policeman then made swiftly push through an agent. In the confusion, a police pushed the crowd threatening her with an irritating gas cylinder.