Friday, April 02, 2010



The recent Québec provincial budget is, of course, a nirror image of others that have been persented across in such provinces as Ontario and Manitoba. All across the couintry the powers that be hope to make ordinary people pay fo the deficit that will result from the recent corporate bailout. One wonders if the funds coukd have beeb better spent. Mean while in Québec people are not so pleased with the budget of their provincial government. Here`s an English translation of an article on the Voix De Faits blog. The original article in French is available at the Voix De Faits blog.

15 000 people against the budget in Montreal

On 1 April 2010 some 15,000 people filled the business district in Montreal at the invitation of more than 95 organizations of unions, feminists and students. Was this was the first stage of a unified response against the Liberal budget ? Only time will tell. In any case, it was a beautiful demonstration of the great popular procession type, very diverse , unified and combative (at least at the level of rhetoric...).

==> Our photojournalism

Text of leaflet distributed by the UCL

Against privatization and price increases:

We now know that in the budget tabled on March 30 by Minister Bachand introduced a host of measures, each one more regressive than the other. Only think of the establishment of new health fees and the sudden increase of the sales tax (QST). Rich people will do very well, as usual. Nothing in this budget calls into question their privilege and their little tricks to hide their money in tax shelters. Once again, it is us who are required to make the sacrifices.. Enough!

The worst is yet to come

Other measures, even more worrisome, are announced in this budget and will arrive later: health care billing based on use, further increases in tuition in 2012, a marked increase in electricity charges beginning in 2014 (3 7% per year until 2018). We have not come to the end of the tunnel, all the more as that there is no guarantee that the government won't add other rate increases to this list.

This budget custom made for large corporations and the ruling class, directly inspired by neoliberal ideology, also announced major cuts in public services ($ 15.4 billion in cuts over four years). While asking us to tighten our belts and pay more for reduced public services , the government reduced the tax burden on businesses, a move that will cost $ 729 million in 2010. After the end of the budget exercise, the effort asked of companies will be four times less than that required by "taxpayers". Thus, paper mills and aluminum smelters, two particularily energy hungry industrial sectors , will be spared from the rate hikes planned by the Government . And we continue to talk to us of equity and justice?

The crisis of capitalism on the backs of the working class

By increasing rates and introducing in the coming years a so-called "user fee" in the health system, the Liberal government adjusts itself to the global economic crisis. It tries to raise the budget of the state by first picking our pockets. Of course, no question of touching the advantages accorded to the rich. We know the song: if you tax companies more, they will move elsewhere. As wage earners, we are held hostage by the wheels of the economy where capital makes its own law. The state, in complete fidelity to the private sector completed the job by throwing on the backs of the people the burden of the deficit generated by the crisis of the capitalist system.

Redistributing wealth, beginning the response

A tax system even one more "progressive" will not fundamentally solve the unequal division of wealth in our society. Ultimately, to definitively resolve this problem, we must take the riches that the bosses and leaders have stolen. It is necessary to consider ways to free ourselves collectively, once and for all, from domination by the capitalists, by a takeover of our workplaces and self management of the means of production. True social justice can not be summarized as a tax credit even "solidarity"; it must come about through economic and social equality.

For now, we must fight together, shoulder to shoulder to defeat this government. We can roll back the Liberals, especially in terms of the measures announced in the medium term. There is public discontent with this government and its shenanigans. But to succeed, we need a broad movement, united and combative, ready to begin the showdown with the State, as was the case in 2003 (organized labor) and 2005 (student movement). We must also learn from our mistakes, notably in not allowing union leaders to set aside more radical agendas and initiatives (including the perspective of a comprehensive general strike). It is not by dialogue and working together that we can make the government bend, but by creating relations of strength. By submitting this budget, the government declared war on us. As always, the State has chosen sides in the class struggle. It is time to build ours.

The demonstration on April 1 is an important step in this direction, but the change must continue. Workers, students, retirees or unemployed: we are all attacked by these anti-social policies. And it's together that we must respond.


Nicolas said...

Thanks for the translation!

Nicolas said...

Oh, and we made a video of the demo btw...