Khadir comes to Sherbrooke on economic tour

By Gordon Lambie
Khadir comes to Sherbrooke on economic tour

Quebec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir was in Sherbrooke on Tuesday along with party spokesperson Andrés Fontecilla and local representatives Hélène Pigot and Colombe Landry as a part of a province-wide tour they’ve undertaken to talk about an economic vision for Quebec. The four representatives met and spoke with members of the media on Tuesday morning at the Le Cartier Restaurant on Jacques Cartier Street, while saving their meeting with party supporters for the evening time.

“For us the economy is not just a matter for the richest one per cent,” Fontecilla said, explaining that the primary mission of the tour is to engage in public consultation throughout the province and draw inspiration for party initiatives from the needs and experiences of the people of Quebec themselves. “It is a question that concerns the whole population, and everyone has a right to have their concerns heard.”

Each taking their turn at the microphone, the four representatives all presented their own explanations for how Quebec Solidaire intends to counter the politics of austerity they see at play in Quebec’s Liberal Government by support regional economies and fighting cuts to public services.

“Our regional economic tour is meant to build our vision on a concrete reality,” Khadir said, explaining that the consultations that have taken place have been nonpartisan and simply focused on giving citizens and small enterprises an opportunity to voice their concerns.

Pigot and Landry each, in turn, brought up matters of local concern. Pigot spoke more to the impacts of austerity in the region, highlighting cuts to the CHUS, the public health administration, local school boards, universities, CEGEPS, and municipalities. She denounced the centralization of services as exemplified in the creation of new regional health boards and said that the Liberal government has demonstrated a tendency to support big enterprises over the public interest.

Landry, on the other hand, spoke in favour of supporting the local economy.

On a stop in Richmond on Monday afternoon, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said that there is no austerity in Quebec because there have been increases in the province’s budget over the last year. Asked about that position, Khadir rejected this definition outright.

“Either he’s not knowledgeable in that fact and he’s just repeating something that spin doctors have told him to say or he’s lying to the public, because austerity has a definition,” The MNA said. “Austerity is the relationship between your budget and your gross national product; when it contracts, when your budget loses percentage with regard to your GNP, you’re in austerity.”

Khadir argued that even if there has been a budgetary increase in the province, the political stance of the Provincial Government is still one of austerity because when measured against all the cuts the Liberals have made, the economy is being compressed.

“He says that because he knows how austerity has damaged economies and lives. Austerity measures are not sustainable and do not give the desired result,” the QS representative said. “We are in austerity; mr couillard has to admit it or get himself a good economist to explain it to him.”

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