MONTREAL (CUP)—HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE gathered in front of Premier Jean Charest’s office in downtown Montreal on Sept. 24 to protest loudly, but peacefully, against allegations of corruption in the construction industry. Similar protests occurred in Quebec City and Sherbrooke.
Over the last 18 months, a pall was hung over Charest’s government as allegations of corruption have swirled around both the government and the construction industry. While Charest vowed to investigate the corruption allegations, he has refused to launch a public inquiry.
Saturday’s event was presented as a non-partisan citizen’s protest to kick off “Le Mouvement du 24 septembre.” The idea for the protest came from local historian Patrick Poirier, who noticed on Twitter that anger was building over the corruption allegations.
“The first thing you can do as a citizen is speak, and the place to do that is the street,” he said, in an interview with Canadian University Press in French. “We’re going to plan a protest, and we’ll see what happens. I’m very happy with the results. People have things to say. We had to come together to express our discontent.”
—Sarah Deshaies, CUP Quebec Bureau Chief
OTTAWA—OC TRANSPO HAS plans to resume service to the bus route that circles the Ottawa General Hospital Campus. The 106 bus, which made stops at the U of O campus before route cuts, will be brought back starting Dec. 28—the next time bus drivers book a work schedule. In the meantime, OC Transpo will be providing a shuttle service.
The route cuts, which saved $20 million, have affected 21 routes out of about 100. The changes were voted upon by city council and, in most cases, were meant to redirect larger buses to heavier routes.
OC Transpo has been blamed for a failure to recognize overcrowding and the bus jams that happen in and around the U of O campus.
General Manager of OC Transpo Alain Mercier believes the overcrowding is caused, in part, by the end of summer vacations and the fact that people are returning to work and school. Mercier hopes that overcrowding will smooth out in the coming weeks.
Oil sands protesters gather at Parliament; dozens arrested
OTTAWA—ON SEPT. 26, demonstrators from across the country were in Ottawa to protest the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and further exploitation of Alberta’s oil sands. About 100 people who attended the protest on Parliament Hill were arrested for civil disobedience.
After a rally around the Centennial Flame, protesters crossed a barricade on parliament in groups, and one by one they were arrested. Several organizations were responsible for coordinating the protest, including the Council of Canadians, Greenpeace Canada, and the Indigenous Environmental Network.
“We’re risking the lives of billions of people, depleting [water resources], in exchange for oil, when we should be moving away from our dependency on oil,” said Cassy Andrew, a student from the University of Guelph.
Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver released a statement on Sept. 26, reaffirming the government’s support of the Keystone XL pipeline. According to Oliver, “Canada’s energy sector is a cornerstone of our national economy and future prosperity.”