What were you doing on Sunday? - Macleans.ca

What were you doing on Sunday?


“Goddamned liar.” Photo Le Devoir

You were probably watching golf. Me, I was grouting the bathroom, with the help of these guys.

Meanwhile, in Quebec City, 50,000 people took to the streets armed with brooms, baloney sandwiches and pancartes in a bout of furious street theatre. They call themselves the ‘red collars’, because they are righteously peeved. At what, you ask? Jean Charest’s recent budget, a cornucopia of new taxes, user fees and spending slashes. On a Sunday. It’s somehow heartening to know that this sort of thing doesn’t really happen anywhere else in the country.

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What were you doing on Sunday?

  1. I thought most of them were out to protest your last blog entry.

    • Wicked!

  2. I don't know, it looks a lot like the Parti du Thé

  3. Wait, the Bionic guys were grouting your tub? or playing in your tub? Wait, scratch that visual…

  4. As one of the many Canadians who have spent years financing a level of services in "have not" Quebec that is often leaps and bounds above the services we can afford in the rest of the country (partly because we're busy subsidizing Quebec's awesome services), I hope these protesters will forgive me if I say that it's about time they started PAYING for things like the fact that they have the lowest tuition rates and most comprehensive day care system in the country.

    If Quebecer's are upset about having to now pay taxes commensurate with the services that they receive, perhaps they'd spare a moment to think of all of the people who've been footing that bill up until now.

    You're welcome.

    • We gave you Celine Dion, you're welcome.

      All kidding aside, it is time we start paying more money for our services. I liked the ideas brought up by the Fédération 
des médecins spécialistes du Québec in their campainghttp://www.lexpertiseaunprix.com/ , sad the government did not applied them in the budget. As a student, I believe we need to pay higher tuition fees; if I am to study for years to get a degree, I want that degree to be worth something.

      Only real thing that is disturbing to some if the new user fees want seeing a doctor. Dubuc talks about it this morning in La Pressehttp://www.cyberpresse.ca/chroniqueurs/alain-dubu… .

      • User fees are right wing mantra and make no fiscal sense.

        • Depends on the service.

          • I think that the context is clear. In what context would you see user fees as an adequate fiscal policy to address mounting costs?

          • The context in which people are abusing the system by going to the doctor unnecessarily because they have no concept of the price paid for the service.

          • So, using your logic, you believe that imposing these fees will result in healthcare costs going down, yes?

          • No, because I believe there are much deeper problems with the system. The context is not as simple as that.

        • if beer were free would that make more sense ?

    • I'm so tired of the constant bitching about transfers to Quebec. You act like Quebecers don't pay any taxes. In fact, Quebecers have one of the highest (if not the highest) tax levels in the country.

      I, for one, agree that tackling the provincial debt has to be a priority for Quebec. The issue that I have is the manner in which Charest is proposing that they go about it. Instead of imposing all these ineffective user fees, he would have been best advised to just raise taxes all together. Those fees won't even begin to cover what we all know will be significant increases in healthcare spending given the aging population.

      This means that the very next government is likely to have to increase taxes anyway because they will still come up short.

    • As one of the many Canadians who have spent years financing a level of services in "have not" Quebec that is often leaps and bounds above the services we can afford in the rest of the country (partly because we're busy subsidizing Quebec's awesome services)….

      LKO, could i recommend this piece?

  5. Some explanation is needed here. The demonstration was not in favour of more government spending, much to the opposite. The reason why people came with brooms is they wanted the governement to clean up its act first before asking for more contribution from citizens.

    From what I gathered in the news, most people there are ordinary folks who would belong ideologically to the Action Démocratique du Québec's electoral base. A guy I know who is a conservative sympathizer told me that the demonstrators booed a few people who had come to ask for more social programs.

    Last point, the whole thing did effectively remind me of the Tea Party Movement, in that the organizers are not the most articulate or educated people I've ever seen. Still, we're not talking something really like the Tea Party, with its conspiracy theorists and other cracknuts. I would also add that this red-collar movement should not be brushed off as a gathering of uneducated whiners: there is real opposition to the budget, which comes in part from a distrust in the ability of the provincial governement to effect real spending cuts.

  6. No Marty, it's disheartening.
    The have not provinces in the ROC could use a wake up call as well. Quebec's not the only province that is too nervous about the reaction of unions and public service to be unable enact real spending cuts.

    And by the way, a fast fact for you, on sunday we watch 'tout le monde en parle'.
    Although grouting can be more interesting.

    Please stop being typically anglo and advocating the liberal status-quo in Quebec.

  7. Some people outside Quebec would be surprised how intense this debate is in Quebec, espacially since the ADQ rose in popularity and the famous "lucide" manifesto. Many in Quebec are proudly not happy with the financial situation of the province and the many are ashamed of the amount of equalisation we received. However, for the last 20 years, we could say the province is governed under two umbrellas: the money-baggers (re Gomery) and the unions.

    Like other things, Canadians might watch and see another reform miracle from La Belle Province!

  8. Imagine how devastating the Quebec budget, and consequently how large the protest, would have been if Alberta and Ontario collectivley shut off their taps to Canada's belle welfare province.

    Are these protesters tea-baggers, and if so, should we develop a proper French equivalent to the term "tea-baggers"? Just be careful with the translation.

  9. I like your main point: why should Quebec get to say "we want better service and we'll pay for it through taxes" when the "taxes" in question come from people outside Quebec who (a) can't receive the services they're paying for, and (b) weren't involved in the decision.

    But isn't it just a logical consequence of the whole "let's provide non-essential services through taxation" mentality? If Alberta subsidizes university tuition, that means non-university students are forced to pay for the education of university students. Some of those paying can't go to university, and may be poorer than those they're subsidizing, but they have to pay for someone else's benefit anyway.

    Seems to me you can't accept socialization in general and then scream about it when it impacts you adversely. Take it or leave it, we have a country in which lots of people are forced to pay for the unnecessary (often selectively available) benefits accrued by lots of other (often wealthier) people.

  10. So then user fees in this situation are useless. Raising taxes was the way to go. In the case of tuitions, I agree. The tuition freeze is ridiculous and a great many Quebecers agree with that.

    Healthcare is a different story.

    • Just because something is insufficient to solve a problem does not mean it is "useless".

      • It's not insufficient, it's ineffective. But ineffectiveness is of no concern when ideology is at play. Charest makes no secret of the fact that he wants a two tier system in Quebec. This is his roundabout way to get at it. Once Quebecers get used to the idea, the rest should be easy, right?

        They are even using that same ideological line… You know… The one about Quebecers needing to accept that healthcare isn't free.

        As if Charest was using his own cash to pay the system. It boggles the mind.

  11. I definately have to agree with Chris Martel and J. Lebel.

    There is some tea-party element to it, but the opposition to the current state of affairs is pretty strong amongst young people too, not just trailer park types. People who are confident the current (equalisation-financed) overspending is going to crash and burn before they're old and sick enough to benefit from it or retire on it anyway.

  12. Why would you want to attend McGill? It is an overrated institution, as one of my teacher put it, "It is a Victorian toilet".

    • Actually, I already graduated from McGill.

      Also, in my experience, when you hear someone putting down a well known educational institution, it's because they're still bitter that they didn't get in (and, do you have any idea how valuable a Victorian toilet is in 2010?!?!?).

      • It was a teacher that taught there and was happy when his contract was over, found it too restrictive at teaching level, not allow to do any real thought provoking lectures. Not bitter just very straight forward.

        Personally don't really have an opinion about McGill, didn't even apply, the program I'm in is ranked better at Concordia and my last comment was mostly sarcasm/joke/showing school spirit (go school!). A couple of my friends went there, one went because the program he went in was highly ranked at McGill and the other just he thought McGill would look good on his resume, funny enough he has not found work in the financial world yet and works as a security guard last time I heard, I think he is still a little bitter about that.

  13. Quebekcers directing their anger against their own internal politicking?

    How refreshing!

  14. Ça pue la condescendance ici! So you guys know what's better for Quebec then?

    We Quebeckers are the ones who pay the most taxes throughout North America. Oui, nous avons de généreux programmes sociaux, mais nous les payons aussi. Vous, vous n'en avez peut-être pas, mais vous payez moins d'impôts et de taxes. Get real!

    Equalization payments are not a wealth transfer program from one province to another. It's a program paid exclusively by the federal government to which every taxpayer contribute. Yes, Quebecker also pay for the payments they receive.

    The protests of last sunday were that of Quebecker tired of their government spending here and everywhere. Taxpayers in Quebec are fed up with those social programs they are paying for (and we pay for it more than you guys do, for that matter).

    Quit complaining you can't afford those programs allegedly because you're already paying for Quebeckers'. This simply isn't true. If you don't have daycare today, well ask your own government, they're the one making choices.

    Quit taking the easy path of blaming Quebec for everything.

    P.S.: Health care is going to cost a lot more in the future than it has in the past, and the Canadian Health Act won't do nothing about it. All the impulse for a change in that law are coming from Quebec.

    We'll be helping you a lot in the future guys.

    • Aha! Familiprix!

  15. Lord Kitchener: Thank you for your very logical and observant argument. It's really a pleasure to read an insightful, intelligent take on the Quebec situation. I couldn't agree with you more.

    As far as the Mcgill debate, I also graduated from McGill (twice actually) and tend to agree with you, although I can see the flip side of the coin. I was pretty disillusioned by the graduate program, I must say. Not the profs, who were generally fantastic, but the whole structure of the program.

  16. the last time I checked federal income tax rates were the same in every province, so is GST at 5% across Canada. So a Quebecker at a given income level pays exactly the same amount of federal taxes as an Albertan. The Albertan gets exactly the same federal services as the Querbecker.

    A Quebecker attending the university of Toronto, say, pays exactly the same tuition as an Ontarian attending McGill.

    The last time I checked, Quebec had not signed the 1982 constitution which enshrines the principle of equalization, based on , I believe, a province's capacity to raise taxes not its spending habits. If Quebec had no social services at all, it would still receive the same equalization. Only it would have a surplus instead of a deficit. In any event neither Quebeckers nor their provincial government decide how equalization is calculated, it is imposed by the federal government.

    So in a round about way, I'm wondering how you can complain about Quebec's prolific spending habits, as they finance them with their deficits and by piling on debt. Just wondering and getting tired of hearing all the squawking about Quebec's spending.

  17. your argument is like the ones we used to hear about the baby bonuses paid by the federal gov't. Only those mothers who spent on baby formula and blankets should get their cheques while those that smoke and spend it on cigarettes should not !

  18. Change de job Patriquin

  19. I once witnessed a rally like that few years ago and securities all over the facilities are competent enough to control the situation that end up in a peaceful rally without any accidents and collision.

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