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Political Eh-conomy: Austerity and economy in Quebec (transcript)

On last week’s podcast, I interviewed two researchers from Montreal’s IRIS, or the Insitut de recherché et d’informations socio-economiques, which has now been producing important progressive research for 15 years. This conversation with Julia Posca and Eve-Lyne Couturier is a great introduction to Quebec’s experience with austerity, the resource extraction agenda and popular organizing against both. Here’s the (almost) full transcript of that interview, edited for clarity and length.

Michal Rozworski: Why don’t we start with this little white book, “L’austerite au temps de l’abondance” that was recently published in Quebec. The title translates roughly as, “Austerity in a time of prosperity”. (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Podcast: Austerity and economy in Quebec


Many in English Canada recognize the CCPA, but relatively few know of IRIS. Tucked away in an old Montreal school that has been repurposed as a home for a wide array of social enterprises and NGOs, IRIS, or the Insitut de recherché et d’informations socio-economiques, has now been producing important progressive research in French for 15 years. Sadly little known outside Quebec, IRIS and its researchers have explored everything from widening inequality to resource extraction to the damage that austerity has done to Quebec’s historically more robust welfare state.

This week, I sat down with Julia (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Summer of Protest

At a time when Stephen Harper is trying to drag us into his monstrous darkness.By using fear as a weapon against his own people, whipping up war fever for crass political purposes, and trying to bribe us and brainwash us.While preparing to turn us into a police state, and sucking the life blood out of this country, its democracy and its values.It's great to see the noble and idealistic Brigette De Pape still standing up to him, still trying to Stop Harper. Read more »

Montreal Simon: Why Young Canadians Can Help Build a Better Canada

As you probably know, I believe that one of the most important things progressives must do is reach out to young Canadians and encourage them to vote.Not just because if they did vote in greater numbers we could crush the ghastly Cons who are destroying our country and torching their future.But also because they could help build a better Canada. Read more »

Montreal Simon: The Harper Regime and the Summer of Protest

As you know I was so happy to see thousands of Canadians taking to the streets to let Stephen Harper and his foul Cons exactly what we think of them.Because I will never understand why we have remained so passive and so quiet for so many years, while Harper and his Cons raped our Canada and its values.Instead of protesting like they do in other countries.Not when his behaviour has been so brutish, not when he's now trying to use fear to scare people into voting for him, not when he's trying to turn us into a police state. (Read more…)

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The Canadian Progressive: New student coalition vows to block tar sands pipelines at Quebec border

A new student coalition promises to block Transcanada’s Energy East and Enbridge’s line 9B tar sands pipeline projects “at Quebec border.”

The post New student coalition vows to block tar sands pipelines at Quebec border appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Montreal Simon: Scottish Independence, Canada, and the Power of a Movement

I have always believed that while a political party can change a government, only a movement can truly change a country. Or the world.I got a glimpse of the power of a movement during the Quebec student protests.When for a while at least, young and old came together to challenge the very foundations of the increasingly savage capitalist society we're living in. And dream of something better.And now I'm seeing it again in Scotland, where despite massive opposition from the Big Business and other forces of the establishment, it's one of the reasons the YES side may be (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Has the Time Arrived for a Canadian Spring?

Well I think I can now OFFICIALLY declare that Spring has arrived in Simonville, the small humble corner of Canada where it's never Harperland.And I must admit that all I feel like doing is climbing on to the old boathouse roof, stretching out my arms like Jesus, giving thanks to the merciful Gods of The Great White North, and soaking up the sun.But this is shaping up as a Spring like no other. Because everywhere I look in Canada I see signs of rebellion, as ordinary Canadians mobilize to defend their democracy…Read more »

Montreal Simon: How To Move Young Canadians To Help Defeat Stephen Harper

It should be obvious by now that the key to winning the next election is getting out the vote.For why else would Stephen Harper and his Con regime be going to such desperate lengths to suppress it?And there isn't a group that needs to be encouraged more to vote than young Canadians.Not just because, as a new study by the pollster Nik Nanos suggests, they can make a huge difference. Read more »

Montreal Simon: The Winter from Hell and the National Unity Hysteria

In his well known song Mon Pays, the Quebec poet and singer Gilles Vigneault famously sings: "My country is not a country, it's the winter."And in this seemingly never ending one, this Winter from Hell, I think we can all relate to that. But since just a few weeks ago during the Olympics we were all happily chirping or tweeting #wearewinter we can't complain too much eh?Even if it seems to be driving a lot of Canadians crazy.For what else can explain the hysteria over national unity?Read more »

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper: The Madness and the Blindness

When future generations of young Canadians are forced by their teachers to study the history of Stephen Harper's years in power, the so-called Great Darkness, one question will probably be really difficult to answer.Because it will exceed their understanding of depravity and insanity.And it is this one: Why if he was so bad, so mad, such a compulsive liar, and such a ghastly bully, did he fool so many Canadians for so long? Read more »

Montreal Simon: Why We Should Fear What’s Happening in Montreal

It's a scene that keeps repeating itself in the streets of Montreal.A few hundred demonstrators set out on a peaceful march to protest against a totalitarian by-law limiting freedom of assembly.Only to be kettled by the riot squad, and then arrested. Like they were again this weekend.Read more »

Montreal Simon: The Harper Cons and the Great Job Scam

Gawd. I should have remembered I'm living in Harperland, not Wonderland.I should have realized why that damm cat was laughing at me eh?I should have known you can't trust those two old Con artists, Steve and Jimbo, no matter what they say.I should have known it was all a scam.Read more »

Montreal Simon: Harperland and the Birth of the Maple Winter

When I first saw the pictures I must admit my heart started beating faster.For a moment I thought that Spring had arrived in Harperland. Finally.But it wasn't the Maple Spring eh?It was the Maple Winter.Read more »

Montreal Simon: Harperland and the Horror of 2012

Golly. It's hard to believe that the horrible year of 2012 in Harperland is finally almost over.And that I'm still standing. For if on this day in 2010 I wrote this:It was the worst of years. The year when the crazed tyrant Stephen Harper ripped a giant hole in the fabric of Canada, chewed on its heart and its liver, and lied through his bloody teeth.This year was even WORSE. Read more »

The Canadian Progressive: Is Chief Theresa Spence your 2012 newsmaker of the year? POLL

Is hunger striker Chief Theresa Spence, who entered Day 20 of her peaceful protest today, your 2012 newsmaker of the year? Is it the Idle No More movement? The Quebec student movement? Beleaguered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? Is it Kevin Page, Canada’s fearless gallant Parliamentary Budget Officer, who showed uncommon courage recently when he took the Harper government to court seeking accountability and READ MORE

Montreal Simon: The Harper Regime and the Road to Resistance

When the dark history of the Harper regime is finally written, historians will note that it took a very long time before many Canadians realized what was happening.Before they finally understood into what monstrous pit of moral depravity the deranged leader of the Con cult was dragging them.As he slowly turned Canada into a brutish prison state. Read more »

Drive-by Planet: New PQ government cancels tuition hike: victory for student movement

Bottom: Photo from last Saturday’s march in Montreal  celebrating victory and calling for free tuition.

Pauline Marois, the newly elected premier of Quebec, announced that her government has cancelled the proposed hike on student tuition fees. The hike was repealed by the new Parti Québécois government.

Yes it can be done even against steep odds. Students can challenge the neo-liberal policies of a standing government and win. As Naomi Klein noted in a recent tweet – “This is why radical movements are mercilessly mocked. They can win.”

The announcement by Marois was hailed as a “total victory” by Martine

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