Every since it came to power 9 long years ago, the Charest Government has provided us with examples, almost on a daily basis, of the interests for whom it really works. To produce an exhaustive list of the issues on which the Charest Government has favoured private interests to the detriment of collective interests would take this blog far beyond its ideal length.
The Charest Government’s haste in satisfying the interests of its sponsors and cronies is poisoning every sphere of government intervention: from natural resources to private daycare, including the construction industry and information technology contracts – everything is affected. Minister Bachand’s latest budget provides yet more eloquent proof of this: a golden bridge is rolled out for mining companies or private amphitheatres, while passing the bill to the middle class, students, seniors, and everyone else who doesn’t hang out with the chamber of commerce.
In healthcare, our primary area of concern, we are seeing a similar trend to converting services, values and people into business opportunities: senseless reliance on private agencies of care professionals, anarchic and irresponsible development of intermediate resources for seniors who are losing their autonomy, high-priced subcontracting of surgery, and deployment of PPP projects, which have the main virtue of privatizing the profits while collectivizing the risks. Whenever the private sector is involved, the state of public finances and the taxpayers’ ability to pay do not seem to pose a problem, but it’s a very different matter when the issue is improving the working conditions of the care professionals who are keeping the healthcare system afloat.
Quebecers understand this and no longer have any confidence in Jean Charest, who is hitting record lows in public satisfaction.
However, when students and raising tuition fees are the issue, a proportion of the population – much too high, in my opinion – seems to believe that the Charest Government is suddenly capable of acting in the public interest. Really?
What Jean Charest and the Liberal Party are trying to do is convert our educational institutions into formatting centres, churning out workers to serve private enterprise. This means replacing collective control of education with individual control. It also means reducing the tax burden of the most affluent and transferring it to the middle class and low-income population.
A growing number of independent experts are pointing this out, as can be seen in the following documents:
- Les 8 mythes sur la hausse des frais de scolarité (IRIS, on YouTube, March 24, 2012) – 8 myths about the tuition increase
- Droits de scolarité : le gel, un bon investissement gouvernemental (Michel Girard, La Presse, March 26, 2012) – Tuition freeze: a good government investment
- La hausse des droits de scolarité et ses impacts sur le coût de programme de l’Aide financière aux études (IRÉC research report, January 2012) – The tuition increase and its impacts on the cost of the Student Financial Assistance program
- À qui profite la hausse? Aux institutions financières (Estelle Grandbois, Mathieu St-Onge and Maxime Lefrançois, Ph.D. students in sociology, Le Devoir, March 27, 2012) – Who benefits from the increase? The financial institutions
Our organization was built by care professionals who fought all their lives to defend the values of solidarity, sharing and justice. This is why these values are inscribed in our statement of principles: they are the reason we exist and the anchor of our day-to-day actions. Just like the health tax imposed on every one of us, regardless of income, to “improve” access to healthcare (have you noticed a difference since you started paying?), the proposed tuition increase threatens these values of solidarity, justice and sharing.
Quebec’s youth have risen up to demonstrate their opposition to the management mafia that governs us. They are fighting for values we cherish. Let’s not stand aside with folded arms. Dare, act, influence, the power to change is within us… does this mean something to you? Why not start with a red square?