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 mobilization is growing rapidly, though still trying to find it’s footing and strategy. Facing a government set on standing firm behind its austerity approach, people and organizations have been joining the Printemps 2015 movement, planning for a busy April leading up to a “Social Strike” May 1.
Here are four reasons why Quebec is mobilizing against austerity.
1. Austerity cripples public services in Quebec
The Quebec Liberal budget — presented “with pride” by Finance Minister Leitao — outlined deep cuts to health care, education and other public services. Taxes for corporations and some individuals were reduced, following the flawed austerity philosophy of focusing not on revenue generation but spending reduction.
Surprisingly, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has previously championed austerity approaches, has more recently criticised it.
Many in the Printemps 2015 movement see these measures as another step in the process of favouring interests of the rich and corporations at the expense of most citizens.