Townshippers to demonstrate for social justice in Montreal this Saturday
Following the recent shuffling of the provincial cabinet, the Main Rouge Coalition, made up of community groups from different sectors, labor organizations and feminists, is condemning apparent contradictions in the government's new priorities. While Premier Philippe Couillard says he wants to lower the tax burden while reducing social inequalities and improving the quality of life of citizens and families, Solidarité Populaire Estrie says that the Liberal government is setting the table for further cuts and has not begun to review the current tax system. It points out that the record surpluses boasted by the government were achieved at the cost of cuts that continue to affect the population of the Estrie. To denounce these consequences and to demand a massive reinvestment in public services, social programs and autonomous community action, members of various social groups in the Estrie will take part in an event organized by the Coalition Main Rouge this Saturday, October 28, in Montreal.
"Rather than tackling social inequalities as Mr. Couillard says he wants to do, neoliberal policies like his latest austerity measures amplify them," said Jimmy Forgues, coordinator of Solidarité populaire Estrie. "Tax cuts mainly benefit the better-off and big business. They also contribute to artificially creating a "crisis" in public finances by emptying the state coffers, which is then used to justify more austerity.
“Meanwhile, the increased use of pricing and the commoditization of services are increasingly limiting accessibility to public services," said Dominique Daigneault, who is also co-spokesperson for the Red Hand Coalition. For example, the Coalition mentions the multiple fees for extracurricular materials or activities at the elementary and secondary levels, the modulation of CPE rates that are particularly impoverishing for families, the multiplication of health care and social services provided by the private sector, and even increases in Hydro rates used to the detriment of the poorest households.
"In addition to tax cuts, the tax system, which values tax avoidance and turns a blind eye to tax evasion, collectively deprives us of billions of dollars that could be invested in schools, in health care, in social services, culture, environmental protection, subsidized educational childcare, social housing, social assistance, and independent community action groups. We give gifts to the rich rather than worry about our social development,” says Véronique Laflamme, co-spokesperson for the Coalition. According to Coalition members, solutions exist to really reduce social inequalities: better distribute wealth, review taxation, and reinvest massively in public services, social programs and community action. "Without this, the Couillard government cannot improve the living conditions of the population and families, as it says it wants to do, and the profound transformation promised by the Premier may be reduced to a further weakening of our social safety net."
A few months before a pre-election budget, the Coalition Main Rouge and Solidarité populaire Estrie have launched a vast campaign under the theme "Aiming for social justice" to counter the dismantling of the social safety net.
The demonstration of October 28 is the first mobilization demonstration of this campaign. A few days before Halloween, it will be under the theme of Robin Hood and his band. Members of community, popular groups, education unions, the public service, health and social services, the private sector, and women's groups from all regions of the province will be present.