Re: Quebec protestors by Jim Sutherland, Red Deer Advocate, May 23.
Jim Sutherland’s criticism of the protests by students and the working people of Quebec amounts to nothing more than name-calling.
The decision by the Liberal government of Jean Charest to raise student tuition fees is not the whim of a politician, not an isolated phenomenon. It is part of a widespread pattern across the globe, a generalized attack on the living standards of working class people.
The crises of the capitalist system (Jim will remember the great banking crash and subsequent state bailout of 2007-2008) is the force behind the drive to push back the modest economic and democratic gains achieved by workers in the post war period from 1948 to 1974.
Working people are being made to pay for the bank bailout debts incurred by the state: this is translated into cuts in wages, pensions, living standards, the social wage and increased student fees.
The power of the state is being used to achieve these ends, as demonstrated by the vicious police attacks in Quebec against demonstrators and non-demonstrators alike. State power includes the use of the law, which is illustrated by Bill 78 a draconian move against civil rights and the democratic right to protest.
Workers across Canada are suffering cuts in their wages and pensions; the Conservative government will pass legislation against the striking Canadian Pacific Railway workers as they did against the workers of Air Canada and the post office.
At the same time, the banks report huge profits. The Canadian Tory government gave over $125 billion to the banks in bailout money.
The universities in Quebec may be closed but students and workers are receiving a first-rate education in the role of the state.
The present system is unable to provide secure jobs, free education, free health care, affordable housing and retirement at 60 on a living wage.
The NDP must actively support both students and workers while campaigning for a democratic, planned, socialist society.
Keith Norman Wyatt