Quebec: Establishment parties have no solution to rising joblessness and poverty

Mass socialist alternative needed – CWI Quebec launches new website!

From 2007 to 2009, the unemployment rate in Quebec officially went up from 7% to 8%. According to the last surveys, about 9% of Quebec people are living in a household with a low income. Over 25 years, the incomes of the middle-class people have only risen by 0.1%, while those of the poorest have fallen by a sharp 21%. Moreover, during the same period, the cost of living has sky-rocketed dramatically.

Social conditions in Quebec is no better, despite the empty promises of a ‘better future’ by the Parti Québecois (PQ, Quebec Party) and by the Parti Libéral du Québec (PLQ, Liberal Party of Quebec) which have shared power for years. Indeed, the policies of these two parties have only profited the capitalist class. The PLQ is a neo-liberal party based mainly upon the big capitalists, while the PQ, with its nationalist policies, tries to support smaller businesses.

Paper sale of MPS (CWI in Quebec)

The world financial crisis, which has also hit Quebec, has clearly demonstrated that the interests of working people cannot be served by these establishment parties. While big private companies, like Pratt & Withney and Bombardier, are sacking hundreds of workers throughout the province or attacking working conditions, the government remains impotent. Worse than that, the government is providing financial subventions which are not used to save our jobs, but to pay huge bonuses to the bosses. They are trying to convince us that we have to pay the prices for their crisis and for these companies, which are only interested in enriching themselves on our back. In this period of crisis, the contradictions of capitalism are coming to the fore, but neither the PLQ, nor the PQ are going to solve the situation, as they are only protecting the interests of big business (as it is equally the case, on the federal level, with the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party).

Workers’ movement

The workers’ movement must organise and develop its own alternative. The campaigns lead by the trade union federations, the student associations and several ‘pressure groups’ to preserve our public services or to protect environment are good starting points, but we need much more than that. The liberal Prime Minister of Quebec, Jean Charest, is attempting to allow private companies to run parts of the education system, through legislative bills 38 or 44 (Bills on post-secondary schools administration, which aims to make the ‘external actors’ having the majority in the directors’ board of colleges and universities.), and also to involve profit making companies in the healthcare system with the so-called ‘two-speed medicine’ (System allowing the creation of private clinics coexisting with public healthcare system, and getting subventions from the State).

The PQ opposition criticises the government, but these are only words, as the PQ does not act or propose anything else. That is why we need not only to mobilise against these attacks, but also to put into the political debate the need to change society. In other words, we need to tackle the problems from their roots, and not only fight against the consequences. That means organising the fight against capitalism, as a whole.

It is for these aims that members of the Committee for a Workers International in Quebec call for the building of a genuine mass socialist party which, contrary to all the main parties, would place itself on the side of youth and workers in their struggles for the defence of their class interests. While a Left front already exists, the Québec Solidaire (a party in which the CWI are active), it is necessary, however, that the forces of genuine Marxism are also built, putting forward a bold socialist policies as an alternative to the present rotten system.

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