Protesters call for increased social, education spending
Parents, teachers and students formed human chains around their schools on Monday morning to protest government budget cuts.
1,300 workers from community groups are also protesting on Monday and Tuesday.
The group Je protege mon ecole publique said it was expecting participants at 250 schools in Quebec to show their opposition in the fifth such demonstration against the lack of increase in spending on public education.
In addition to schools, demonstrations took place outside the campaign office for the Liberal candidate for St. Henri-Ste. Anne, Dominic Anglade.
Anglade is the former president of the Coalition Avenir Quebec and of Montreal International, an agency that promotes Montreal. She is now seeking a seat for the provincial Liberals in a by-election.
Pascale Grignon, one of the organizers of the human chain protests, said Anglade has supported education in the past and needs to be reminded of it.
"She was saying we can make errors in difficult sectors but the one we cannot is in education because it's important. So what we're saying today is reminding her of those convictions and saying if she's elected on Nov. 9th in St. Henri-Ste. Anne then she must remember those convictions," said Grignon.
On Monday and Tuesday community groups that depend on government subsidies are holding protests to say the provincial government should increase funding for social housing and other services.
Their organizations provide clothing for the poor, employment counselling, and other services.
They say most work on shoestring budgets, receiving an average of $50,000 per year from the provincial government,but with diminishing budgets, they say their very survival is at stake unless more money is injected to keep them afloat.
"We've seen effects in programs that support social housing, health care, social assistance, education. The community is extremely concerned about these cuts and we're here to say it's not okay," said Shannon Franssen of Solidarity St-Henri.
"There are really long waiting lists for people to try to get into social housing and the Liberals cut in last budget. The annual construction went from 3,000 to 1,500here in Southwest. We'd need at least 4,000 to need the minimum needed over the next five years," said housing activist Fred Burral.
While the protests are taking place this week, their offices will remain open, but have fewer people working.