Already thinking about the post-COVID era? In the middle of the second wave stronger than ever? In full curfew? Eh yes ! We must, because on the blessed day when this pandemic will end, our reflex, very human, will be to plunge back with haste into our lives “before”.
As an individual, that would be understandable. As a society, that would be a big mistake. The reason ? Even in the wealthiest states, the pandemic has thrown our four truths right in our face. In Quebec, in particular, the veneer of our beautiful “social democracy” has cracked everywhere.
Inherited from the Quiet Revolution, the truth is that it had already faded long before. Over the past 25 years, through blind cuts, the dehumanization of our public services has taken hold without warning. Faced with COVID-19, it is catching up with us at high speed.
Under the quasi-religious dogma of “zero deficit”, all parties combined, the ax of budget cuts has always struck more brutally on our public schools, our health system and our social services.
In doing so, our leaders have greatly weakened the three main pillars of our society, which we had wanted so much more fair and united. The pandemic confirms it to us, but will we remember it in the post-COVID period?
This collective, political and social failure is undeniable. In just 10 months, nearly 9,000 Quebeckers have died from COVID-19. Often alone and in terrible conditions. This is three times the number of deaths in the fall of the two towers of the World Trade Center.
The canary in our collective mine is there. In Quebec, vulnerable people – the elderly, the disabled, the poor, etc. – have less and less access to quality public services.
We put them in concrete ghettos. Pretty for the less poor, and dilapidated for the less well off. Governments have also privatized everything they could: nursing and attendant agencies, accommodation resources, etc.
October 3, 2022
Combined with the Couillard-Barrette “reforms”, the repeated cutbacks of the past quarter century have ended up unraveling the social solidarity of which we were so proud. Without even realizing it. At least until a global pandemic hits us here, too.
So, the after? Because these issues are serious – and many others still – we will not be able to content ourselves with quietly returning to our little purr of every man for himself. If we do, future generations will pay a heavy price.
We will therefore have to demand better from our political parties. Beyond clientelist promises and surveys, as citizens and as a society, what values
What do we want them to offer us, concretely? Will we have the courage to demand innovative and clearly more humanistic public policies?
This short chronicle, we should perhaps keep it. And why not bring it out again in the months preceding the next election on October 3, 2022.
At the end of this crisis, masterfully revealing the colossal work of social and political reconstruction that awaits us, democracy, it is in “face” that we will have to live it. Together.