Robin Hoods March in Villeray

Coalition Main Rouge protests Couillard Government

A crowd of about 400 people marched to protest against austerity and the Couillard government in Villeray this Saturday. Photo Shannon Carranco

A crowd of about 400 people marched to protest against austerity and the Couillard government in Villeray this Saturday.

The group was led by the Coalition main rouge who are dedicated to fighting for social justice and more government funding of social services. They organize marches, rallies, and block streets.

Coalition Main rouge claims that tax cuts–which are often accompanied by tariff increases–only really benefit the richest and biggest companies. The middle class, women, the poor, visible minorities, and the elderly pay the price for these measures, they said.

“[The liberal government] made gross budget surpluses on our backs, and we are asking them to give back that money,” said coordinator of the Regroupement des organismes communautaires famille de Montréal, Nancy Harvey.

The Main Rouge demands that the Quebec government reinvest massively in public services, social programs, and autonomous community action after being threatened by years of underfunding and cuts.

“We are sick and tired of the austerity politics of the Couillard government, [that] cuts in services and community groups,” said the Coalition’s spokesperson, Dominique Daignault. “It’s totally unacceptable.”

When it comes to cuts in kindergartens and daycares, Harvey said that it limits families’ choices in the care that their children receive. Instead of thinking about quality, families now have to think about costs because of the privatizations of daycares, Harvey continued.

“This is a huge step back. It’s limiting support for families and the access for women in the workplace,” said Harvey. “It has to be denounced.”

The Coalition consists of community, labor, student, feminist, and grassroots organizations that are all opposed to the charging and privatization of public services. This coalition demands access to universal and quality public services, namely education and daycare services.

Photo Shannon Carranco

“You can go get more money where it is: in the pockets of the richest. Tax the banks’ profits,” said Daignault. “Put an end to tax havens. There’s money, and we need to reinvest it in public services, education, kindergartens, and health.”

Among the crowd were members of community and popular groups, education unions, public services, health, and social services, private sectors, women’s groups, and families such as Federation autonome de l’enseignement and Le Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec.

Many were dressed as Robin Hood to symbolize the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. The protesters chanted, gave speeches, and played French folk music as they marched.

To illustrate the the need for a better distribution of wealth, bags of ‘money’ were dropped in front of some public schools, housing co-ops and community centers.

“If we don’t do anything, nothing will change,” said Daignault. “We need to mobilize more and more.”