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Racism and austerity

PQ and Conservatives deploying similar attacks

by Stefan Christoff

photo by L'activiste
photo by L'activiste

As the Parti Québécois (PQ) continues a relentless campaign to push the racist Charte des valeurs québécoises, parallel moves to intensify austerity measures in Québec are happening.

All political integrity that the PQ cynically claimed during the Québec student strike in 2012, that catapulted the party into the halls of political power in Québec City, is imploding. Far from the values of social justice, social solidarity and economic equality that largely shaped the student uprising, the PQ is now deploying ethnonationalism in racist electoral calculations.

Racist attacks are on the rise, driven by a toxic and illegitimate political debate on identity, rooted in colonial privilege, is occupying the mainstream political debate.

Beyond the Charte des valeurs, the PQ is enforcing a neo-liberal vision of austerity to address economic turbulence. While extending massive corporate tax cuts (similar to the Parti libéral du Québec) and creating corporate pork barrel initiatives, the PQ is systematically attacking social programs and the poor.

Over the weekend housing rights activists from Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) held a downtown protest in Montréal to highlight the lack of action and deep cuts currently targeting social housing in Québec. FRAPRU also took the streets to propose a modest bank tax in Québec as a way to raise finances for social housing. PQ inaction on social housing is compounded by cuts by the federal Conservatives to funding social housing in Canada.

A similarly disturbing right wing populism is being deployed by cynical politicians today in Québec City and Ottawa. Today the PQ is regurgitating the same violent neo-liberal policies as the Conservatives.

As the Conservatives slice up the rights of immigrants and refugees, politicians in Québec are attacking immigrant communities via the charter. In both cases politicians continue to embrace a neo-liberal ideology that attacks the rights of the majority in our society, deploying racism as one way to create political scapegoats for their self-created socioeconomic disaster.

Clearly the rotten core of politicians embracing fundamentalist capitalism is on full display across these indigenous lands, lets stand up and fight back together, against austerity, against racism and for freedom from neo-colonial capitalism.

Stefan Christoff is a community activist, media maker and musician in Montréal.


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Stefan Christoff (Stefan Christoff)
Montreal, Quebec
Member since April 2010

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Stefan Christoff is a Montreal-based journalist, community organizer and musician.

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