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by Mary Soderstrom

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Friday, 3 October 2014

The Reason Why We Need Local Government Boards and Why Governments Want to Cut Them

The Liberal government of Philippe Couillard is anything but "liberal" in the sense of progressive or enlightened.  It is slashing government spending, endorsing austerity while denying that is its aim, and generally messing things up.  The health and education system are being pressured to make particularly harmful changes.


But interestingly some school boards are refusing to comply or going public with the terrible effects the cuts--much of which were announced after the start of this school year--will have on the quality of education.  Public outcry over the elimination of $4.26 a day given mentally handicapped people working sheltered workshops forced the governement to back down.  So did the mobilisation of the cultural community in protest of a plan to axe music five music conservatories in areas some distance from Montreal  that in effect are the heart and soul of their regions. (The video is of a protest concert last week.)

This has not set well with Couillard or his ministers who say that their cuts can be made by eliminating fat in administration.  They say: combine regional health boards, chop staffing in school board offices, stick to the "basics" in everything else.  And do it now.

In other words, get rid of all the local or regional instances who have a mandate to listen to people in communities and react to their concerns.  I can imagine that Couillard and his friends are cursing those uppity school commissioners and regional health administrators who question what's going on.  Pursuing an austerity agenda is so much easier if you don't have any organizations around who know what's up and are in a position to protest vigorously. 

Gee, wouldn't it be great that way, say I in an attempt at irony?

BTW, kudos to Amir Khadir of Québec Solidaire (one of the party's three MNAs) for denouncing Pierre Karl Péladeau for being an "aggressive capitalist."  PKP may talk against austerity as he positions himself to run for the leadership of the Parti Québécois, put he's an economic conservative from the get-go.


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