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Author Topic: Quebec: fight to the finish
Sharon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4090

posted 01 December 2003 11:43 AM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Jean Charest's seven-month old Liberal government argues that its plan to “re-engineer” Quebec will modernize it and bring it into line with the rest of North America. Ordinary Quebecers, meanwhile, look west to Ontario, Alberta and B.C., and realize that they are quite pleased with their distinct state and have little interest in being brought into line.

Full story

[ 01 December 2003: Message edited by: Sharon ]


From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
not a terrorist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1532

posted 01 December 2003 12:38 PM      Profile for not a terrorist   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mike Harris didn't ignore the 200 000 who marched in Toronto or the 150 000 who marched in Hamilton because they failed to propose alternatives. He ignored them because it cost him less to do so than to continue with his dismantling of the welfare state. The corporations that backed the PC party rewarded him and his friends.

So posing alternatives is a good thing but it's not what will get Charet to move in the right (left) direction.

What will work? A general strike! It is the one way that Quebec workers have to impose costs on Charest that will make him think twice about his plans. We have to impose costs that will outweigh the benefits offered by the Conseil de patronat.

I was on the committee for the general strike in Ontario that took off after the Toronto day of action. Unfortunately it didn't fly there.

But maybe in Quebec...

Even the older union people in the buses and the demo in Quebec City who I talked to on Saturday didn't remember this - but there is actually a historical precident in Quebec for such drastic action - the highly successful General Strike of 1972.

Quebec's labour movement has yet to acheive the level of militancy and solidarity that it had back in '72, but it's still better than Ontario. Maybe it's worth a shot to try to build a general strike in Quebec (and BC while we're at it!).


From: montreal | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
weakling willy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3260

posted 09 December 2003 02:20 PM      Profile for weakling willy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
General strike? maybe. Of course, there is a reason that that tactic was dropped, because it led the CSN and CEQ (now CSQ) into a political dead end. How do you engage the state on an ongoing basis when you have such a blunt tool? you can't threaten a general strike over a $2 a day increase in day care fees, and probably not even over the proposed changes to section 45 of the labour code.

I wish the unions well, but they they are reaping the bitter harvest of their political strategies of non-partisanship, and of being towed along by the PQ on the national question. Hell, when the labour code was being amended in 2000-2001 they failed to mobilize their members, let alone a coalition of other groups interested in improved labour market regulation, and thus didn't have much to say when the government claimed it couldn't move forward on the unions' main demands because a "national consensus" was lacking (ie. the employer's federation (CPQ) was opposed). Did they really believe that this call for "national consensus" was a permanent feature of quebec politics rather than an opportunistic tool for the employers to prevent progressive reform? They are right to charge the government and the employers with bad faith now, and the unions' claims for maintaining a consensus have some cultural resonance (and hence persuasive power), but did they really believe the nation stands apart from the power plays of class politics?

The women's and community movements have been developing an alternative over the past decade (anti-poverty and community development) that has found little reflection both in public policy and in the union agenda. This would seem to me an interesting basis for building a counter-neoliberal politics, including new partisan formations, in Quebec. Will the unions be there?

Finally, let,s be careful with our comparisons with other provinces. Things are looking pretty bad in Quebec, but note that the government is slowing its implementation of tax cuts. In other words, unlike Ont. and B.C., the government seems less enthused to orchestrate an ongoing fiscal crisis by amputating their revenues. This, coupled with the relatively slow roll-out of cutbacks compared to Ont and B.C., is a small ray of hope. Is this a result of a more social democratic political culture? Perhaps. is it the result of a liberal party that, due to cultural-linguistic cleavages, is a broader tent than the Ont. PCs and B.C. Liberals. Perhaps. It may also be a result of the lateness of this shift, meaning that there is increased cognitive dissonance between the government's claims and the observed realities elsewhere.


From: Home of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
MJay
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4685

posted 09 December 2003 08:47 PM      Profile for MJay     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sometimes I have a hard time understanding the tactics being used by unions in Quebec, I understand why they are upset but they need to realize that their best hope for stopping Jean Charest lies in the general public.

Do they not realize that rampaging through and vandalizing MNAs offices and setting fires in front of politicians' homes, does nothing but undermine their cause and give Charest more support?


From: Montréal | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged

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