Statement by the Collectif refusons l’austerité (Say No to Austerity Coalition), Dec. 2, 2014
The following statement was translated from the original French to English and published on Rabble.ca on Dec. 16. The Collectif refusons l’austerité, includes Quebec’s trade union central, student organizations and many civil society groups. Pour lire en français.
On November 29, more than 125,000 loudly chanting people declared that they reject the Couillard government’s austerity measures at a huge demonstration organized by civil society groups, student associations and trade unions. More than 25,000 people in Quebec and more than 100,000 in Montreal made it clear to the government that it has to stop turning a deaf ear to their message: the public does not agree with dismantling the Quebec state to sacrifice it on the altar of austerity.
Quebec in serious danger
Spokespeople for the organizations firmly denounced the government’s bills that would slash public services and annihilate social justice. Its ultimate goal of cutting $6 billion is primarily an attack on the middle class, the underprivileged, women and seniors. Whether it’s about health and social services, early childhood and daycare, education, post-secondary education, the environment, labour relations, pensions, and other public services, but also in support for job creation and regional development and adequate funding for community organizations, the Couillard government is no longer listening to Quebeckers. They are impoverishing us and destroying the society we have built.
The demonstrators had a warning for Quebec’s leaders. We say no to austerity and we will continue to fight against it. We reject austerity, because it brings nothing positive to the province and its people. How many more times do we have to say it? The IMF and the OECD have been saying it repeatedly for months now: austerity puts countries into a state of economic crisis. It’s high time the Couillard government listened to its citizens before Quebec finds itself in the throes of a widespread and very long period of disruption.
What we want
We want a government that puts its citizens ahead of large corporations. We want a Quebec where everyone has a right to quality of life, regardless of income. We want a fair, egalitarian, democratic society that cares for the needs of its people.