A small group of protesters rallied in front of the Quebec Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s office on Sunday in Montreal to protest the lack of affordable housing in the city and the “mismanagement” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They’re calling on the government to impose stricter public health measures.
“It goes back and forth between easing the lockdown and re-imposing it and that hasn’t worked,” said spokesperson for the Socialist Action League, Robbie Mahood.
Quebec is still recording over 1,000 daily coronavirus cases and many are angered by the type of measures in place. They believe it’s the wrong way to go about dealing with a highly infectious virus.
“We want them to immediately do away with the curfew — all it does is deflect from their failures,” said spokesperson for the Montreal Democratic Socialists of Canada, Max Chorney.
They said policing and handing out fines will not cease the spread of COVID-19.
“Take a health and science approach to the pandemic instead of a police approach. We’re not going to police the pandemic away,” said Chorney. “We want them to close the schools, we want an actual lockdown and we want the removal of a curfew.”
Protesters are also asking the government to invest in more affordable housing — they said the private market condos are taking over the city.
“I think a massive investment in public housing is absolutely necessary,” said Mahood.
According to the Rental Market Report released on Jan. 28 by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and data collected by the Popular Action Front in Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU) — the rental housing shortage s worsening in Quebec’s metropolitan areas. The average cost of rent in Montreal continues to rise.
Protesters said the homeless population in Quebec has been treated unfairly.
“Those tickets were symbolic, symbols of the Quebec governments and the CAQ’s hatred of homeless people for not providing in the system,” said protester Tristan Moreau. “It costs more to keep them on the streets and they die because of it in our winters. In Quebec, we should not have people living in the street.”
Global News reached out to the Quebec Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for comment but didn’t get a reply back by deadline.