Concordia Students Join ASSÉ Demo During Province-wide Strike

(Originally published on November 7, 2015) Around 3,000 students and supporters marched through the streets of Downtown Montreal on Thursday to denounce the Quebec Liberal government’s austerity measures.

The march lasted nearly three hours and eventually ended with a hundred or so remaining protesters dispersing at the entrance of Berri metro station on Ste. Catherine St.

Montreal police confirmed that one person was arrested during the march for breaking a municipal bylaw, but could not confirm the nature of the offense by press time. Continue reading Concordia Students Join ASSÉ Demo During Province-wide Strike

Confusion at Concordia Voting Stations: Some Voters Turned Away Due to Misinformation

(Originally published on October 10, 2015) Some Concordia faculty, staff and students were turned away while trying to vote on campus Friday.

The disruption was based on “erroneous information,” according to Concordia University, to the community that residents of any district could vote at the LB Building between Oct. 9 and 12. Continue reading Confusion at Concordia Voting Stations: Some Voters Turned Away Due to Misinformation

Paris Attacks – Thousands in Montreal Gather for Vigil

Thousands of Montrealers gathered in front of the French consulate a day after terrorist attacks rocked Paris, leaving 129 people dead and 352 wounded.

The event featured a speech by the Consul General of France in Montreal, Catherine Feuillet, and a performance of “Imagine” by singer Geneviève Racette.

Gardens of Light – Halloween 2015

Photos taken at the Montreal Botanical Gardens during the “Gardens of Light” event – Halloween 2015. Click below for more images:

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Police Simulate Terrorist Attacks in Montreal

A bus full of passengers comes to a halt in an empty lot. The front door opens, and the driver dashes out. Shouts and screams suddenly erupt from the back section of the bus, and a man’s angry voice booms out. “To hell with all of you,” he screams. “You’re dead.”

Police on-site tell us there are two terrorists on this bus – and they’re carrying a biological weapon. Continue reading Police Simulate Terrorist Attacks in Montreal

Orange Crushed – NDP Lose Seats as Liberals Sweep Canadian Federal Elections

The “Orange Wave” came crashing down Monday night as Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party secured a majority government with 184 seats—pushing the NDP to a third place finish.

The mood was grim at the NDP headquarters in Montreal as the polls closed and results began to pour in. The shaking heads and long faces among supporters were interrupted by the occasional cheer for one of the party’s 44 victorious candidates.

The NDP’s poor showing on election night was closely tied to its crippled standing in Quebec—a province whose support largely bolstered the party to the status of official opposition in 2011.

Sandrine Traore, an NDP staffer, told The Link that the party succumbed to the divisive politics of the niqab debate, which she underlined as the main factor in their defeat.

“People talked a lot about it, and the media really played with the niqab story,” Traore said. “We lost a lot of Canadians who said to themselves ‘we’re against the niqab, and you’re for the niqab’ … that’s what really influenced them.”

After making phone calls to the other party leaders, Tom Mulcair—who managed to keep his seat in the Outremont riding—took to the stage at the Palais des Congrès to deliver his concession speech.

Despite the NDP’s significant losses, Mulcair remained smiling as he thanked his supporters and committed to working hard for them in the next majority parliament.

“To new democrats here tonight, and in every community across this country: thank you for your hard work, your dedication to our cause, and your steadfast hope and optimism,” Mulcair said. “The next chapter begins in our effort to build a better Canada.”

Results for other party leaders:

  • Although the Conservatives came in second with 99 seats, the party announced that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would step down as leader. However, Harper held on to his seat in the riding of Calgary Heritage.
  • Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe lost in his riding of Laurier–Sainte–Marie, leaving the party’s leadership situation uncertain. The Bloc made a few gains in Quebec, winning a total of 10 seats and finishing fourth nationally.
  • Green party leader Elizabeth May won in her riding of Saanich–Gulf Islands in B.C., remaining the only Green MP in parliament.

NDP Leader Rallies Montreal on Eve of 2015 Elections

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair fired up the party faithful at the Olympia theatre in downtown Montreal on Sunday evening.

The final rally of this election campaign came before the pivotal day for the party, which is currently in third place according to the latest polls.

The party became the official opposition in 2011 due in large part to support in Quebec, but has lost a lot of ground in the province to the Liberal party, according to surveys.

The pressure from Justin Trudeau’s party was evident during Mulcair’s speech. He spent as much time criticizing the Liberals as he did Prime Minister Stephen Harper, attempting to frame them as a party of politics­-as­-usual.

In particular, Mulcair took jabs at Liberal campaign co-­chair Dan Gagnier, who was found to be advising TransCanada on how best to lobby a Trudeau-­led government.

“The Liberals have not changed one bit,” Mulcair told the packed house at the Olympia. “Justin Trudeau wants to take Canada back to the same old Liberal party, with the same old insiders, and the same old scandals.”

On the eve of election day, Mulcair touted the NDP as the party of real change, and underlined the significance of electing a government that would break the two­-party dynamic that has long defined Canadian politics.

While lineups are to be expected at election day polls, Elections Canada reported last Wednesday that there was a sharp increase in early voting this year—up 71 per cent from 2011. In total, 3.6 million Canadians voted at advance polls, including 942,008 in Quebec.

Election day polls will be open in Montreal on Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Riot Police Surround Protesters for Marching on Sidewalk

There was a tense standoff between Montreal police and about 50 protesters on Wednesday, as officers in full riot gear attempted to block the group’s route on a Ste. ­Catherine St. sidewalk.

The protesters were members and supporters of l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSE), who had gathered at Square Phillips at approximately 1 p.m. to march in opposition to the Quebec Liberal government’s austerity agenda.

ASSE is an organization that represents 80,000 university and college students in Quebec.

Just minutes after the march began, however, the group was cut off on a sidewalk by roughly three dozen riot police officers. Many of the visibly frustrated protesters called this police tactic “absurd,” and demanded they be allowed to march westward on Ste­. Catherine St. Continue reading Riot Police Surround Protesters for Marching on Sidewalk

Unions March Against Austerity in Montreal

An estimated 150,000 people marched through downtown Montreal on Saturday afternoon to denounce Quebec’s Liberal government and its austerity agenda.

The event was organized by a self-described “common front” of union organizations, including the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) and the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ).

The unions say they brought their members from around Quebec into the city with the use of approximately 250 buses. The protesters—including public and private workers—converged on the corner of Parc Ave. and des Pins Ave. at around 12 p.m. and began marching shortly afterwards, along with supporters from student unions.

The large group marched slowly toward the offices of Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, then proceeded to McGill College Ave. There, a stage was set up for various union representatives to deliver speeches, including Jacques Létourneau, president of the CSN.

Létourneau denounced the Liberal government over its austerity measures, and said that Saturday’s gathering was one of the largest in Quebec union history.

He went on to challenge the Liberal government to acknowledge the contribution that his union members make in Quebec society when negotiations resume.

“The Liberal government will have to clearly understand the determination of workers in this fight for social justice, for equality and for recognition of the work we do,” Létourneau said.

In a release published on its website, the CSN specifically criticized the government’s plans for a two year salary freeze for public-sector employees, and what it describes as a “meagre” salary increase of 3 per cent over five years.

After the speeches, the crowd was treated to a musical performance by francophone musician Yann Perreau, who said that the demonstration was the start of “l’automne chaud”, a term being used by unions to describe ongoing strike and protest actions in Quebec.

A media relations officer with the Montreal police told The Link that the demonstration was peaceful, and that no arrests were made.

Montreal Protest Recap: September 30, 2015

Thousands of people – including striking teachers and students – converged on Square Victoria to protest against the Quebec government’s austerity agenda.

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