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Chantale Jean

Reaching for the Sky, by Chantale Jean (2011)

A friend is doing my income tax report.  In a telephone conversation, he told me that Madame Marois, Quebec‘s Premier, was demanding that tax payers provide her government with a new tax for medical care and medication.  Such a tax did not exist in Quebec a year ago and it does not exist outside Quebec.  To my knowledge, no one was told about this new tax.  In my case, it will amount to a minimum of $300.00.

How will persons living on welfare pay this amount of money?  Their monthly income is $600.00 and barely pays the rent.  As well, how will the disabled survive, particularly men?  If a man is disabled but was married at some point in his life, his former wife receives half of his disability benefits.  So, he must live on $300.00 a month.  This decision was one of Madame Marois’ victories.  She was then courting the feminists.  Finally, what about the elderly many of whom are working well into their seventies and early eighties, if they can find employment.

The Economy: 2008 & its aftermath

In fact, what about me?  My pension fund suffered because of George W. Bush’s totally useless wars and it is not growing, not in this economy.  So my current income is a combination of Old Age Security benefits and what little money I withdraw from my pension fund.  I can let it grow until I am seventy-one, which is what I must do if it is to provide me with a decent living when I am older.  Fortunately, I own my apartment and have accumulated good furniture, pots and pans, dishes, kitchen gadgets, books.  My income is therefore adequate, but…

From House to House

As you probably know, I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, since February 1976 when I had a flu which took away much of my energy.  I could teach despite this illness, provided I was assigned a reasonable workload.  However, the Chair of my department worked me out of my position by asking me to teach a new course: Animals in Literature, i.e. World Literature.  I wish I could have said ‘no,’ but I couldn’t.  He had lost his temper before causing me to faint and I was afraid it would happen again.  Later, when I started feeling extremely tired, he would not allow me to leave the classroom and the results were catastrophic.  I told that story in a post entitled From House to House, but I am trying not to remember.

Back to Madame Marois

To my knowledge the above changes were not announced.  Everything was done behind closed doors.  But I have now learned how Madame Marois will not increase tuition fees.  Quebecers pay higher taxes than other Canadians, 15% instead of 10% of their income, and, beginning now, they must pay an extra tax.

The poor in Quebec are not the students who get a nearly free education compared to Canadians living in provinces other than Quebec. Besides, the students have a future.  The poor in Quebec are the elderly, those who were not members of a powerful syndicate and those who did not have a position that provided fringe benefits, such as a pension plan.  Among the elderly, some find jobs, but indépendantisme has taken its toll.  Quebec could be a very rich province, but who wants to invest in a province that threatens to separate from the rest of Canada.

At any rate, the students are now paying $25.00 more than they did last year or will pay, next year, $25.00 more than they do at the moment.  The money will be taken from tax payers and, among them, needy persons and the elderly.

Artwork: with permission from La Galerie Klinkhoff


—  The Conquerors, by Chantale Jean (2012)

The Truth

The truth is as follows.  I  wondered why Quebec’s mighty unions, les syndicats, had not supported the students in their last bid for a tuition-free education.  The reason is that the Unions needed the students to get rid of veteran political figure Jean Charest‘s Liberal and federalist government.  This goal was attained on 4 September 2012, when Madame Marois was elected to the premiership of Quebec.

My dear readers, I wish I could write more today.  We have one more bestiary to look at and there are so many fascinating subjects to discuss, but everything has to wait until tomorrow.


© Micheline Walker
14 March 2013