Fed up with the deterioration of public services under the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government, thousands took to the streets to demand fair pay, improved benefits, and better working conditions while unions negotiated new collective agreements with the province. The coalition of unions—including the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), the FTQ, and the Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et services sociaux (APTS)—is known as the “common front,” or front commun, and represents over 420,000 workers in Québec’s public schools, health care and social services sectors.
Montreal, Québec, Canada - In French, the word for food processing is the same as the word for sweeping social change: transformation. Alex Beaudin dreams of doing both. Beaudin, 25, is the coordinator of Le Grénier Boréal, an agricultural co-op in Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, a village of around 450 people in northeastern Quebec, 550 miles northeast of Montreal. Longue-Pointe is one of about 20 villages strung like beads on a necklace, between Route 138 and the vast St. Lawrence River. The highway and the river are the villages’ lifelines, and depending on either one for supply shipments — as the Nord-Côtiers do — can be maddening. Ferry service is unreliable; a damaged ship can cause weeks of disruption.
By Stefan Christoff for Beautiful Trouble - In 2012, Québec students managed to reverse a major tuition hike and a draconian anti-protest law through direct democracy, creative tactics, and mass demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of people. In 2012, Québec students managed to reverse a major tuition hike and a draconian anti-protest law through the practice of direct democracy, creative tactics, and mass demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of people.
By Staff of CTV News - Several Quebec mayors are vowing to fight a new law that they say would take away their power to protect their communities’ drinking water. Bill 106 is meant to provide a framework for energy exploration in the province but the mayors said it gives too much power to oil companies to push ahead even in regions that oppose them. “Right now, we have oil companies that have claims on territory,” said Anticosti Mayor John Pineault. “Those claims are going to change categories. They’re going to become a property if they wish.”
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.
In an effort to breathe new life into the somewhat dwindling anti-austerity movement, nearly 100 students have set up a makeshift campsite outside a Montreal CÉGEP school. In Quebec, protests against the provincial Liberal government's austerity measures have been becoming smaller yet increasingly creative, with events like a non-mixed feminist march, the UQAM occupation—which led to violent mayhem and the arrest of more than a dozen students—and a "die-in" in opposition to health-care cuts that would threaten access to abortion. But CÉGEP de Saint Laurent students—most between 16 and 20 years old—claim these methods are no longer cutting it, and have opted to build a more "permanent" symbol of their dissent. As of Thursday, more than 60 tents lined the school grounds.
The infamous online hacker group Anonymous’ Quebec branch has taken the credit for penetrating the Montreal Police department website and the officers’ union. On Friday, at 10:30PM, the Montreal police website went down and minutes later the Montreal police brotherhood also was shut down. The Police department website remained off until Saturday. According to a tweet from Anonymous, the group targeted police because of the brutality accusations when thousands of students took to the streets to protest against the recent austerity measures. The hacker collective also identified that it will “ruin the life” of an officer who was seen pepper spraying protesters in Montreal.
More than 250 students at the Université du Québec à Montréal occupied a building Wednesday night where, during the afternoon, police arrested 21 protesters. Shortly before midnight, 150 remaining students said they intended to stay the night. Police had massed discreetly outside, but said they had no intention of intervening. School administrators called for police aid twice during the day to dispel demonstrators who were attempting to disrupt classes. On their second visit of the day, police arrested 11 women and 10 men at around 3 p.m. During a tense standoff between students and police officers in the basement of the J.-A.-DeSève building on Ste-Catherine St. near St-Denis St., professors stepped in between lines of police officers and students, and managed to defuse the situation.
Night demonstrations -- a fixture in the 2012 Quebec student movement -- were held on Tuesday in Montreal and Quebec City, and again on Friday in Montreal, with thousands filling the streets as well as hundreds of armoured police. The mobilization against austerity measures was met by strong police reaction. On Thursday of the same week, the Quebec Liberal government tabled a budget "balanced" by large cuts to education, health care and other social services spending. A Popular Protest Against Austerity and the Petro-Economy was held on Saturday March 21 with between 5,000 - 10,000 taking to the streets of Montreal. The event was repeated with another large turnout on Saturday, March 28, with more protests held in Montreal and around Quebec.
The Montreal Gazette reported that organizers of the protest said this will be one of several demonstrations to be held over the next few months. “Today, we’re proud to launch a raucous spring,” said Fannie Poirier, spokesperson for the Spring 2015 protest committee. “Austerity measures have been presented as the lesser of evils to confront a deficient economy. But what we’re seeing … is a massive impoverishment of the population, full-frontal attacks on working conditions and a loss of security for society’s most vulnerable people.” The official spokesperson for student group ASSÉ, Camille Godbout, said more than 50,000 students will officially be on strike as of next Monday to protest against the provincial government’s austerity plan.
Spring is being welcomed in Quebec with a Popular Protest (Manifestation populaire) against austerity and the petro-economy this Saturday, March 21, called by Printemps 2015organizers. Saturday's event in Montreal will be the biggest of the day, though others are planned around Quebec. Printemps 2015, named in reference to the "Maple Spring" student movement of spring 2012, pegs austerity and a fossil fuel economy as the forces to rally against. The current Quebec Liberal government, led by Philippe Couillard, is tabling an austerity-heavy budget on March 26 likely to detail deep cuts across the board to public services. The trend of government austerity is not new in Quebec, but the severity of the changes are alarming to many.
Representatives from environmental organizations, unions, student groups and First Nations Sunday announced plans for a rally to demand action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The groups say Canada and other countries need to respect targets for cutting emissions, and they say projects such the ones going on in Alberta’s tar sands are incompatible with meeting those targets. They want the governments of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick to oppose the expansion of the tar sands and the transport of oil by pipeline and by train. Dubbed the “Act on climate” march, the groups want the march, set for April 11 in Quebec City, will remind leaders that Canadians want them to do more to protect the planet.