Chantier Politique

December 6, 2018

English Edition, No. 11

 Quebeckers Stand Firm in Support of the
Workers' Struggles in Defence of the Rights of All!

A Businessman's Speech Inaugurates
New Session of National Assembly

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Quebeckers Stand Firm in Support of the
Workers' Struggles in Defence of the Rights of All!

A Businessman's Speech Inaugurates New Session of National Assembly

For Your Information
Main Aspects of Opening Speech

29th Anniversary of the Polytechnique Tragedy
Concrete Measures Needed to Counter Violence Against Women

Important Struggles for the Affirmation of Rights
Firm Condemnation of Federal Back-to-Work Legislation
Criminalizing Postal Workers

Locked-Out ABI Workers Show What Needs to Be Done
All Out for Concrete Social Housing Measures

Workers Speak Out
The Need to Recognize the Majority of Workers
Who Make Up the Base of the Health Care Network

- Benoît Taillefer -

Announcements
Commemoration of the Polytechnique Massacre --
December 6 Actions to End All Forms of Violence Against Women

Public Meeting on the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 



Quebeckers Stand Firm in Support of the
Workers' Struggles in Defence of the Rights of All!

A Businessman's Speech Inaugurates
New Session of National Assembly

On November 28, Premier François Legault, on behalf of the Coalition Avenir Québec government, delivered the opening speech at the first session of the 42nd Legislature. The speech is a scam, aimed at placing all of society's resources at the disposal of big supranational private interests while claiming to act on behalf of "all Quebeckers." Its biggest deceit is the claim that the government is without ideology or dogma and is guided only by concern for economic competence and efficiency. That a government headed by bankers, business leaders and corporate lawyers is without ideology is a typical claim of the ruling elites, an insult to people's intelligence in keeping with their notorious contempt for the people.

When a government based on the neo-liberal ideology of the rich speaks of efficiency and competence, its plan is to pay the rich, no matter the cost to society. The well-being of the workers has nothing to do with what the government calls "economic well-being," and in such circumstances, the demands of workers will only be criminalized.

According to the neo-liberal outlook, those who oppose putting all the social wealth at the disposal of the rich are deemed special interest and lobby groups that must be pushed aside, as the opening speech openly proclaims. All of this just paves the way to further criminalize workers and all those who oppose such a direction as troublemakers opposed to economic development.

Another fraud in the speech is that paying the rich works and can create a stable economy that can provide a modern standard of living and working conditions, social programs and public services. Life has shown that the anti-social offensive makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, while the rights of all are attacked. The society is also deprived of the power and resources it needs to build a self-reliant economy that is shielded as much as possible against crises that devastate the economy. There is not one word in the speech about the crisis in the manufacturing sector in Quebec and Canada, in particular the destruction caused by Bombardier and GM, which demonstrate that state pay-the-rich schemes have nothing to do with preventing crises and must be rejected in favour of a new direction for the economy, elaborated and decided upon by the people themselves.

This is not a government that will change its ways. It will embroil Quebeckers in even greater pay-the-rich schemes at the expense of the rights and well-being of all. This is precisely what its ideology and dogma are.

Life itself reveals just how meaningless and misleading this speech is. Workers have no option but to step up the struggle for their rights and the rights of all and take up leading the people along the path of a new direction for the economy and the democratic renewal of decision-making in society.

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For Your Information

Main Aspects of Opening Speech

Premier François Legault's opening speech to the National Assembly begins with the juxtaposition of a series of hollow words that, according to the government, describe opposing options confronting Quebeckers. According to the Premier, the fight is between fear and audacity, distrust and confidence, between appointments based on partisan and ideological considerations versus those based solely on competence, between the rigid and non-rigid management of public services, sovereignty and federalism versus unifying nationalism, etc. It is from this angle that the new government of Quebec claims to represent audacity, confidence, competence, flexible management, unifying nationalism, etc. The opening speech is rife with such talk.

The example provided at the beginning of the speech is very revealing. Addressing the need to replace partisan nominations with those based solely on competence, which is supposed to re-establish Quebeckers' confidence in public institutions, the Premier cites the nomination of Jacynthe Côté to the chairmanship of Hydro-Québec's Board of Directors. Jacynthe Côté was the CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan, when management there locked out the Alma aluminum workers in 2012. The company benefited from the secret energy agreement between the Quebec government, Hydro-Québec and itself that had Quebeckers finance the lockout. Now, she is part of Hydro-Québec's Board of Directors, which continues to be a signatory to similar agreements with cartels such as Alcoa/Rio Tinto, that is having its ongoing lockout against ABI workers paid by Quebeckers. The Quebec government's "competence" in non-partisan nominations translates as compensation for those who impose the neo-liberal, anti-social offensive on the backs of workers and society.

In the same fashion, the inaugural speech refers to the nomination to Cabinet of former executives of big, private financial institutions and former business leaders as the guarantee that competence has replaced partisan and ideological nominations.

As for what is meant by rigid management, the opening speech provides the example of the public sector, health and education. The speech fails to mention that in the name of eliminating rigid management, the government has committed to cutting 5,000 positions in the public sector by 2022. This, despite such events as the storm of March 2017, when hundreds of people were left without any assistance from the Ministries of Transport and Public Security, because those ministries had been left weakened through major job cuts and the loss of expertise to private contracting.

Working people also know that in health and education, rigid management usually refers to workers' collective agreements, which management, in the name of flexibility, tries to carve up, particularly as is happening in the health care network. Every effort is being made to modify the working conditions of employees against their will so that, in the name of mobility, they are forced to travel long distances to work. One feature of the inaugural speech is that it avoids direct references to what workers are actually experiencing, and to social programs and public services. Instead it uses phrases such as, "the government must free up public sector forces by modernizing management and eliminating administrative barriers."

In education, clearly, the government is aiming for appeasement by greeting "the thousands of teachers that have continued to make every effort for our children, through such dedication that we cannot help admiring them," or saying that "school administrations have fought with the means at their disposal and entire communities have taken themselves in hand to succeed."

The government has also committed to offering stable funding to the education system and to increase that funding during its entire mandate, even in the case of an economic slowdown in Quebec. It has also pledged to value the teaching profession and provide teachers beginning their career with better pay. No mention is to be found of the major redress and investment that teachers are immediately demanding. Furthermore, the formula for the increased funding of the education system is that of a classic neo-liberal government, which denies the concrete demands of teaching staff and others in education with regard to the funding required to meet real and ongoing education needs.

That is precisely what the Fédération autonome de l'enseignement addressed in its press release on the opening speech. It noted, "Teachers will be able to judge for themselves the audacity the government will demonstrate through the means that not only the Education Minister, but also the Finance Minister, will make available to them, to not only improve their working conditions but also the learning conditions of students, as well as the means deployed in defence of public education. It will take more than a proliferation of small gestures for public education to be provided the means to fulfil its missions."

In the name of creating wealth, the government has also pledged to intensify the privatization of the public education system by linking post-secondary programs and researchers to entrepreneurs and private business.

In health care, the speech pursues the government's approach of setting so-called concrete goals for wait times for emergency rooms or to see a doctor, a nurse or a pharmacist, without specifying how this is to actually be achieved. This paves the way for the further and accelerated privatization of the health care system, in the name of efficiency, which constitutes a huge diversion of health care funds into the coffers of private monopolies operating under the narrow aim of making private profit. In its inaugural speech, the government, in very cynical fashion, glibly raises the tragic situation in long-term residential care facilities, from the point of view of the working conditions of staff as well as the care provided to those living there. This is all done in order to promote its Seniors' Homes model based on public-private partnerships (P3s).

As for the economy, in the name of creating wealth, the speech carries on the neo-liberal mantra of placing all of society's human, material and natural resources at the disposal of big private interests, which supposedly will have a beneficial impact on the people. Not only does the speech repeat that mantra, it pushes it even further. The government shamelessly declares that "the other lever [besides education] for the creation of wealth, is business investment. That it's through business investments that productivity will increase and create better paying jobs." However, it claims, the Ministry of Finance must first change how it does things at Investment Quebec, that it "will have to be a lot more bold."

"The Minister of Economy and Innovation is already at work" reshaping Quebec's investment arm, Investissement Québec, to make it "new, more agile, more voluntary, more ambitious, more enterprising."

All kinds of measures to stimulate private investment through state pay-the-rich schemes follow. These include a tax system that encourages business investment, reduced delays in granting operating permits, a reduced administrative burden on businesses, a supposedly more commercial focus on Quebec's international relations in order to promote Quebec's exports, particularly with regard to the U.S., the transformation of Quebec into a gateway for European companies to North America, etc.

The government does not even feel any responsibility to explain, or even mention, the crises hitting big supranational monopolies like Bombardier, or other companies such as RONA which, having been absorbed into the U.S. empire's Lowe's, has just announced the closure of 27 stores in Canada, including nine in Quebec. The opening speech does not make a single reference to the crises and turmoil that have further damaged Quebec's manufacturing sector, following large investments of public funds in these and other monopolies through state pay-the-rich schemes.

The Legault government is desperate to serve the private oligarchs that control the economy at any cost and to further integrate Quebec into the U.S. empire. Thus, the inaugural speech sets the aim of the Quebec economy to become "the battery of Northeastern America" through hydro-electricity exports, to make it more competitive and so-called greener. Moreover, whenever the environment is evoked in the speech, it is done within a perspective of enriching the monopolies. Any prospect of nation-building that serves the well-being of the people, based on an economy that provides for their needs and trade based on mutual development and benefit, is entirely absent from the perspective put forward in the opening speech.

Amongst other things, the opening speech also mentions that the government intends to introduce a bill in the coming months to prohibit the wearing of so-called religious symbols by persons in positions of authority in the public sector, including teachers, which could lead to the firing of people who refuse to relinquish these symbols. It should be noted that this bill will be tabled as teachers prepare for the next round of public sector negotiations for the renewal of their collective agreements. The government is pursuing its cowardly, divisive and diversionary course to divert Quebeckers from the crucial issues they face with respect to the usurpation of the state by major supranational private interests, not by any religious power.

The speech also provides for continued attacks against immigrants, while claiming to respond to a "legitimate concern" of Quebeckers with regard to immigration, again to divide and divert the people from the real issues and further link immigration to the needs of private monopolies.

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29th Anniversary of the Polytechnique Tragedy

Concrete Measures Needed to Counter
Violence Against Women

25th anniversary of the Polytechnique tragedy, Montreal, December 6, 2014

On the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the tragedy that took place at the École polytechnique on December 6, 1989, in which 14 young women lost their lives, Quebec women and their organizations are reiterating their agenda to eliminate violence against women. They are demanding major funding for organizations that assist women who are victims of violence -- violence which, far from having diminished, has risen to unprecedented proportions within the society. They are demanding that the new government assume its social responsibility and guarantee the rights of all.

The 12 Days of Action Committee to Eliminate All Forms of Violence Against Women, (in existence since 2008), is holding this year's campaign from November 25 to December 6, with marches, vigils, symbolic inaugurations, get-togethers and workshops in various regions of Quebec.

In a statement, the committee clarified the demands and purpose of the campaign: "In August 2018, the Action Plan Against Domestic Violence was unveiled. In 2016, it was the Government Strategy to Prevent and Counter Sexual Violence. What must be noted is that both those plans failed to meet the expectations of committee members. [...] We call upon the new government to go into action:

"- To recognize universal accessibility as a vested right and not an accommodation;

"- To fund organizations in light of their mission and enable them to provide services that are adequate and long-term, with the commitment to reach the groups that they serve;

"- To recognize the competence of and the need for organizations dedicated to marginalized women by adequately funding them;

"- To recognize the existence of systemic violence and its impact on women.

"The committee is also launching a call to action to encourage people to take action against violence towards women. Violence against women is everyone's business!"

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec strongly supports these demands and calls on everyone to give them their full support.

A December 2017 report published by the Quebec Coalition of Sexual Assault Centres (RQCALACS), on behalf of 3,000 autonomous community health and social services organizations, called for "additional funding of $355 million annually, as well as the establishment of a true national funding policy dedicated to the groups' mission."

RQCALACS describes the impacts of the whistle-blowing movement that began in 2017 to oppose violence against women from all walks of life as follows: "In the period between October 16-27 alone, 10 days after the launch of #MeToo, Quebec's sexual assault centres noted an increase in new requests for assistance ranging from between 100 to 533 per cent. On average, requests for help have more than tripled. As well, many survivors who had previously requested assistance from sexual assault centres once again contacted their counselors for immediate support or for additional meetings. All the impacts arising from the present situation are increasing wait times for services in most centres, which in some regions can be as long as 18 months.

"In our experience, however, this is just the tip of the iceberg and the biggest increase in demand is still to come. Victims of sexual assault usually wait several years before seeking help. Current awareness within the Quebec population may therefore translate into strong pressure on sexual assault services over the longer term. In fact, statistics compiled last year by RQCALACS members (2016-2017) reveal that only 28 per cent of the women and girls who requested assistance from sexual assault centres did so less than a year ago after experiencing one or more sexual assaults. In close to half those cases (46 per cent), women and girls waited over 11 years before seeking help. Thus, 16 per cent of the women assisted by sexual assault centres waited between 11 and 20 years, and close to one third (30 per cent) waited more than 21 years."

This year the committee is comprised of Women with Disabilities Action (Montreal), the Documentation Centre on Adult Education and the Status of Women, the Quebec LGBT Council, DisAbled Women's Network Canada (DAWN), the Quebec Federation of Women, the Federation of Women's Shelters, the Women Speak Foundation, the Deaf Women's Home, the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal and RQCALACS.

To consult the calendar of activities organized throughout Quebec, click here.

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Important Struggles for the Affirmation of Rights

Firm Condemnation of Federal Back-to-Work Legislation Criminalizing Postal Workers

In Quebec as well as throughout Canada, workers are firmly condemning the Trudeau government's back-to-work legislation that criminalizes postal workers by rendering illegal their fight to negotiate acceptable working conditions. As soon as the law was adopted on the evening of November 26, workers organized pickets, blockades, sit-ins, and occupations at Canada Post facilities, as well as at MPs offices, including Justin Trudeau's constituency office in Montreal. On December 1, Friends of Public Services and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers held a day of action in over 20 Canadian cities in support of postal workers.

For further information on the actions being carried out, we refer our readers to website of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, www.cupw.ca, and also to the lively and informative articles in Workers' Forum, the on-line supplement of The Marxist-Leninist Weekly, in particular in the November 29 issue that includes a number of articles against the back-to-work legislation. They can be accessed by clicking here.

All Out in Support of the Just Struggle of Postal Workers!

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Locked-Out ABI Workers Show What
Needs to Be Done

Workers protested outside Hydro-Québec's offices in Montreal on November 28, in support of ABI workers who have been locked out by the Alcoa/Rio Tinto cartel for close to 11 months. Estimates place the attendance at about 500 workers, including a 300-strong continent from ABI. Also present were some 50 workers from various Rio Tinto facilities in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, who traveled by bus for five hours to express their support for their ABI colleagues, remembering only too well Rio Tinto's lockout declared by Rio Tinto against the Alma workers in 2012.

Workers already outside Hydro-Québec cheered the contingent of ABI workers as they approached with flags waving and placards in hand. ABI workers expressed their opposition to the cartel and the Quebec government's betrayal of their social responsibility, and the total refusal of the company's owners to negotiate with them. Placards read: "Betrayal: Zero Negotiation!"; "Meaningless Signature!"; "Sacrificed for Hydroelectricity!"; "Seniority Sabotaged!"; "1,300 Families: We Want Respect!" Rio Tinto/Alcan has added new demands for concessions, while it pays nothing for the block of hydroelectricity reserved for it through its contract with the Quebec government and Hydro-Québec, nor is it paying the fines resulting from non-utilization of that electricity.

In addition to the ABI workers from Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (which included a contingent of Rio Tinto/Alcan unionized retirees) the demonstration included members of the United Steelworkers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Unifor, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Congress of Democratic Trade Unions and Repentigny white collar workers.

On behalf of United Steelworkers' Local 9700, which represents the ABI workers, President Clément Masse greeted the workers and said:

"Thank you to all the unions represented here, which not only morally, but also financially support us. This helps us in carrying on the struggle. We are here today outside of Hydro-Québec because the government and Hydro-Québec signed contracts with our employer that provide [the company] with a huge advantage and creates a huge imbalance in our relations, regarding the force majeure clause. Up till now, through its lockout, the employer has saved $200 million in electricity costs. Besides this, everyone in Quebec is going to end up paying for this because Hydro-Québec will be going before the Energy Board to request an increase in its rates on account of its $200 million shortfall. It's Quebeckers who will be funding the employer for having locked us out. We demand that the government and Hydro-Québec renegotiate such contracts, so that this type of clause is eliminated in the contracts it signs with businesses.

United Steelworkers' Quebec Director Alain Croteau then took the mike and announced, to loud applause, that there are now over 300 union locals around the world that are financially supporting the locked-out ABI workers.

With this support from workers in Quebec, Canada and worldwide, including financial support, the ABI workers reiterated their determination to obtain a negotiated collective agreement acceptable to them and the renegotiation of the hydroelectricity contract, to force the cartel to pay for its electricity during a labour dispute.

Participants ended the demonstration determined to intensify support for the ABI workers.

What Workers Had to Say

Workers at the rally commented on why they were there.

A locked-out ABI worker said, "We are demonstrating today outside of Hydro-Québec's main office because Hydro-Québec and the government say that a lockout is an 'Act of God,' that it's like a hurricane or something similar to that. As far as our situation goes, it's a conflict between workers and a private company, which is not the same at all. At this point, Alcoa and Rio Tinto have not paid $200 million in electricity. Quebeckers are the ones who are going to be paying for that. That's why we came to demonstrate outside of Hydro-Québec today."

A Rio Tinto/Alcan retiree explained, "We are here today because we are opposed to the energy contract between the government and Alcoa and Rio Tinto. That money is in the pockets of companies and it has to be recuperated. Alcoa and Rio must pay for their hydroelectricity. Otherwise, Quebeckers will be paying for it. Alma workers experienced the same thing in 2012 during the lockout. We also waged battles like this one before we retired. I'm 80 years old and we retirees are carrying on fighting."

One of the aluminum workers from Alma pointed out, "We came a long way to get here. The dice are loaded, the government is creating a huge disequilibrium in power struggle between the workers and the company. This must be denounced, it's as much of a scandal as what happened with us in 2012. There are people here from most of Rio Tinto's installations in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Énergie électrique Nord, Port de Mer, the Alma plant, we have colleagues here from the FTQ Regional Council. We're a good gang and everyone supports the ABI workers."

A contingent of sealth care workers were also at the rally. One of them explained, "We are a FTQ union affiliate and are here today to support the locked out ABI workers. They have been locked out for 11 months and their employer refuses to negotiate. It's important that we be here for them. The more mobilized we are, the more helpful it is."

Workers from the retail auto sector also took part. One of them said, "We are here to express our support for the ABI workers, because a lockout is everyone's fight. We also experienced lockouts recently, one of which lasted at our local for six months, at Longueuil Kia, a car dealer. We know what a lockout is. Some of our workers found themselves in huge financial difficulty for months, so it's important to come out and support the ABI workers. The ABI conflict concerns everyone. It's not an issue of which union we're affiliated with, it's an issue that concerns all workers."

A machinist expressed the support of workers at Bombardier, saying, "What are Quebec workers experiencing at the present time? What we are seeing is that with the multinationals [in control], any worker can find him or herself locked out. It's not us who decided, it's not the ABI workers who decided, it's the employer who decided to lock them out. That employer is taking advantage of the option in its hydroelectricity contract to save money on the backs of the Quebec people, of workers. That should never be forgotten. That's why we're fighting these arbitrary actions. The ABI workers are our colleagues. We're part of the same family. Bombardier is another multinational that acts in a similar fashion. We'll find ways to get out of this."

An FTQ Union representive from Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, explained the need to take part in the rally by saying, "It's important to be here, because what the ABI workers are living through at this time shows the way in which working relations are being developed. We experienced the same thing in Alma in 2012. It's the refusal to negotiate with workers through actions such as lockouts and we are now seeing it with the back-to-work legislation against postal workers. We must prepare by mobilizing and by supporting all those who face such attacks."


(Quotations translated from the original French by Chantier politique.)

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All Out for Concrete Social Housing Measures



On November 22 in Quebec City, over 200 protesters hailing from several regions braved the bitter cold to demand concrete measures for the guarantee of housing as a right. They did so in response to call from housing rights organization FRAPRU (Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain) that brings to light, one year after the launch of the federal government's strategy on housing, the "slow pace of investments, the absence of tangible improvements for poorly housed tenants and the slowness of the process to have housing recognized as a right." On November 22, 2017, the Trudeau government tabled Canada's first housing strategy. The 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets mostly earmarked funds to be spent following the October 2019 federal election, within a hypothetical second Liberal mandate.

Demonstrators took the to streets of the Saint-Roch district, where several social housing units are located. Tenants there, who gave demonstrators a warm welcome, worry that their rents will continue to rise. Their fear is compounded by the lack of long-term commitments from the federal government. Protestors then made their way to the constituency office of the federal minister responsible for housing, Jean-Yves Duclos.

FRAPRU is demanding long-term protection for social housing units already built and subsidized by the federal government. Tenants living there have only been granted a 10-year reprieve. Despite its promises, the Trudeau government has only committed to maintaining their rent subsidies until 2028.

It is estimated that 457,340 tenant households spend more than the standard 30 per cent of their income on housing, including 195,635 who spend over 50 per cent.

The latest report of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Economic Rights decried the lack of social housing in Quebec and in Canada. FRAPRU spokesperson Véronique Laflamme noted that social housing "accounts for only 10 per cent of Quebec's rented housing market, while 244,120 Quebec tenant households, including 18,030 in Quebec's national capital region, have urgent housing needs as they are living in housing that is too expensive, too small or in poor condition. Such poor housing conditions have direct impacts on their safety, security and health and the full enjoyment of their rights."

Finally, like many other organizations in Quebec and Canada, FRAPRU is also demanding that the federal government formally recognize the right to housing and that it do so without delay by tabling the legislation it promised on November 22, 2017, when it committed to guaranteeing every Canadian access to decent housing.

According to Véronique Laflamme, "It's not the money that's lacking, but the political will to improve the disastrous housing conditions in which thousands of people live." She gave as an example the fact that Export Development Canada wrote off a $2.6 billion loan provided to Chrysler in 2009 under the previous Conservative government. This was revealed in one of the 2018 statements Public Accounts of Canada filed in Parliament in October of this year. The reason given was to keep the struggling automaker afloat. That amount corresponds to close to the annual amount that FRAPRU is demanding from the federal government for social housing.


(Source: FRAPRU press release November 22, 2018. Translated from French by Chantier politique.)

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Workers Speak Out

The Need to Recognize the Majority of Workers Who Make Up the Base of the Health Care Network

I represent approximately 6,000 people at the Montreal North Island Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre (IUHSSC), categories two and three. Category two includes all auxiliary services, people working in the laundry, in the kitchen, in sanitation, along with skilled tradesmen and attendants, who form the majority. Category three includes administrative agents and technicians. In my opinion, the biggest need with regard to nursing attendants and the people who I represent is recognition at work, the recognition of people at the bottom of the ladder. Expert opinion is important, however in my opinion, the main experts are those who do the work. This lack of recognition and appreciation of the work of those who make up the base of the health care network is of great concern to me.

Another big problem is the work environment, which continues to greatly deteriorate in the health care system, and this has been the case for a long time. Changes have come one after the other and the Liberals hurt us a lot in that respect. Everything is moving very quickly, and general management does not want to hear from the unions -- from the people at the bottom of the ladder. We've been told for at least 20 years that we have to tighten our belts and cuts have to be made. We have reached the point where we are working with reduced staffing on a regular basis and we know that in some units those who are absent are not being replaced. If attendants do not show up at work due to illness or some other reason, they are sometimes not replaced. Other aides are asked to perform the same task that is supposed to be performed by four attendants. And since people are committed to providing good care, they will do that work, with the employer realizing that the work can be done with reduced staffing, so that everyone is called upon to achieve a zero deficit. We know that we are not allowed to have deficits within the network. So once again, it's the little guys who are paying the price.

An example of lack of recognition is seen in the disciplinary regime. For example, if an employee arrives a few minutes late, those minutes are taken off. Their tardiness is accounted for but the fact that they skip a break because they are providing care is not. There are a lot of disciplinary measures. The opinions of the workers are not taken into account. For example, we have a budget of $50,000 for a pilot project to reduce violence in one of our institutions. That's money, all the same. A lot of work has been done in elaborating the project, yet an attendant has yet to be mobilized for it. Another example is that in multi-disciplinary meetings to discuss issues that arise, the team is made up of all kinds of professionals but almost never the attendants. The working environment has deteriorated as a result.

In our work we put forward constant demands. We use every possible forum, be it meetings with management, with the health care service or with the human resources department. This has opened things up a little, but we are still in the early stages. For example, we've been asking for a joint health and safety committee for two years now and we still haven't got it. In the meantime, very little prevention is taking place. We also talk to journalists because these problems must be heard about outside of the institution's walls. We saw certain developments following discussions with academics hired by the IUHSSC to discuss the problem of psychological health, workplace violence and recognition.

When it comes to health and safety, we try to do as much prevention as possible and we also do a lot of what we call "reparation" in our jargon. People who become ill or are depressed, who are followed by the medical office, must be accompanied and represented.


Announcements

Commemoration of the Polytechnique Massacre -- December 6 Actions to End All Forms of Violence Against Women

Montreal
Rally
 December 6  -- Noon - 1:00 p.m.
December 6 Commemoration at Cabot Square,
corner of Ste-Catherine Street West and Atwater (Atwater metro).
Organized by the 12 Days of Action Committee
to Eliminate All Forms of Violence Against Women

Quebec City
Rally and March

December 6 -- 5:15 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Rally in front of the Gabrielle-Roy Library,
followed by a march to the University of Quebec park
(corner of Charest and Dorchester)
where there will be interventions and a hot broth served.

Organized by
the Quebec Regional Coalition of the World March of Women

Calendar of Events in Quebec

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Public Meeting on the Occasion of the
70th Anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights

Montreal
Sunday December 16 --  3:00 p.m.
Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) Local
1360 Ontario Street  East

Organized by the PMLQ

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