Are Quebec teacher protests working?
DOLLARD-DES-ORMEAUX – A morning protest is becoming a normal start to the school day in Quebec.
Dozens of students, parents and teachers lined the street in front of Wilder Penfield Elementary in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.
They’re protesting the on-going contract disputes between teachers and the government.
Parents said they simply don’t trust the province is negotiating with their best interest at heart.
“It’s very difficult for us to have faith in what the government might do when the majority of our politicians send their kids to private schools,” said parent Brendan Larrissey.
“What do they care about the public system?”
In the past month, there have been dozens of protests including student walkouts, human chains and 34,000 French teachers marching downtown.
What effect does this actually have on negotiations?
Parents and teachers insisted it’s simply having their voices heard.
“We’re living in a democracy and it’s the voice of the people, they cannot say ‘oh, it’s just the teachers,” said teacher Helene Constantin.
“It’s everybody, the community who are fighting for the schools. So I hope that Minister Blais is going to be sensitive to our protests.”
The Quebec government is spending, but protestors said it’s simply not enough.
This year, the education budget is set to rise 0.2 per cent.
With the rate of inflation, that actually represents a $360 million cut.
Premier Philippe Couillard has been steadfast that the government has been putting in their fair share.
“Since 2004 the financial resources have increased by 64 per cent for education in Quebec at all levels,” he said.
“It’s more more than inflation and it’s much more than the growth of the economy.”
Teachers and the government haven’t been able to agree on a number of demands including a salary freeze, cuts to funds for special needs students and student/teacher ratios in classrooms.
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