Flock of Sheep Pledge to Follow Couillard Government

  • A herd of “sheep” sarcastically protesting for recent austerity measures posed by the Quebec government. Photo Zach Goldberg

A parade of people dressed as sheep led the way through the Berri-UQAM metro station, “baaaaa-ing” their support for Premier Philippe Couillard and making the station a scene of protest for austerity last Thursday.

Austerity measures posed by the Quebec government have received much flak in recent months, but the metro station became the site of a sarcastic demonstration of support.

Organizer Louis-Joseph Couturier described the event as “the perfect protest for the Liberal party” and “a bunch of sheep asking for more austerity.”

Around 25 people wearing sheep masks followed Couturier, who himself was wearing a Philippe Couillard mask, through the station announcing their intent to endorse the Liberal government’s austerity measures. After being denied entry into the metro system by STM employees, they proceeded to march backwards in a circle to demonstrate the progress that they believe the provincial government’s policies will potentially bring.

Bemused spectators watched the supporters of Couillard praise the premier for prioritizing the elimination of the provincial deficit before social services and assure onlookers that they would only say yes to whatever the government proposed.

“À droit! À droit! Toujours à droit!” chanted the flock of protesters, eager to fall in line behind fiscal conservatism.

“We’re just following Couillard […] because we trust that we should go for capitalism, we should go for austerity, all of this is very good for our population, and we really enjoy being like sheep,” said Stephanie Thibodeau, one of the herd of sheep.

Of course, whether the Quebec Liberal Party would appreciate the protesters’ message is a whole different matter. Beneath the humour of the “baaaaas” echoing through the station is a growing discontent over the Couillard government’s austerity measures; a discontent that could have significant ramifications in the future.

After the protest finished Émile Simard, one of the organizers, talked of his hopes for the movement.

“It raises poverty, so it’s a big problem because all the sectors of society are attacked by these measures,” he said. “So I think it’s important that everyone moves right now, like we did in 2012, and have a big social movement.

“I hope for a strike in the spring 2015, so that’s the objective. It’s a small symbolic flash mob today, but it’s going into rise to something bigger in the next few months.”

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