On Wednesday, several union representatives and I took part in the demonstrations which took place simultaneously in Quebec City and Montréal in support of the Québec government lawyers and notaries who are fighting to obtain better working conditions and for equity with other employees whose work is comparable. Furthermore, I would like to point out the courage of the members of LANEQ who, I want to specify, have expressed the desire to continue the strike despite the depletion of their strike fund.
When we received the request for support from LANEQ, we did not hesitate for a moment to give them our support and to participate in the two demonstrations. First we did it because we know exactly what it is like to negotiate with this government which has a lot of difficulty acknowledging the true value of the contribution of the professionals who struggle to serve the public.
The lawyers and notaries are entitled to practice their profession in decent conditions and to be treated with respect. We would do the same thing too for any union in the same situation if they asked this of us.
There is no doubt in my mind that over the coming months and years, unionism will be increasingly battered in public. And that is not due to the fact that these organizations are no longer pertinent. Quite the contrary. But the prevailing discourse that is settling in encourages individualism more and more to the detriment of collective actions and demonstrations of solidarity. This aspect was the subject of discussions at the meeting of North American unions of Public Services International a few days ago, in which Line Larocque, Vice-President of the FIQ participated. There was the question of the election of Donald Trump and the possibility that the North American Free Trade Agreement may be re-opened, in particular.
There are times for negotiating, times for raiding, but there are also times when we have to know when to put aside our rivalries and show the government and the population that it is by pulling together that we can truly make progress in the workers’ cause.