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Community activists throw their support behind Quebec common front union strike

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Quebec Premier François Legault was handing out Halloween treats for kids at the National Assembly on Tuesday, but activists say they're the ones who are getting the tricks.

Dozens of community organizations decided it was time for them to speak out against the CAQ government ahead of a massive strike by Quebec's public sector unions on Monday.

In downtown Montreal, grown-ups were dressed in their best costumes and said life under the CAQ is anything but sweet.

"Quebecers have had it up to here with inflation, housing, and health care," said Jonathan Grenier, a health-care worker.

Community groups are especially concerned about how the CAQ is opening the door to fewer public services, and the increased reliability of the private sector.

"We see a whole slew of bills being tabled, reforms are being proposed and different orientations by this government that really [attack] head-on our social safety net," said Diana Lombardi, a member of the non-profit group, FRACA.

The housing crisis ranks high in the priorities of low-income Quebecers, they argue, and say only the province has the tools to fix it.

Unlike large labour unions, the activists don't have the political weight to have their voices heard as loudly.

"The housing crisis is now perpetual for all economic classes," says activist Micheline Baril of the Comité Logement Petite Patrie, adding that the middle class is now vulnerable.

Health-care workers aren't only fighting for better salaries; they also want better working conditions. Claudine Laporte says that's why she dressed as a zombie on Tuesday.

"The government is so short-staffed, it's trying to raise the dead to fill positions," said Laporte, of the CSN union.

It's one of many angry messages expected to be heard during Monday's strike.

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