This article originally appeared in the French edition of Ricochet on March 27. Since then it has been shared over 3,000 times and been read by many times that number. Here it is for the first time in English.
Men and women of the police, I have to admit that I do not understand you. Since the start of the student strike against austerity, I see you on television tear gassing the students, pepper spraying them, hitting them, tackling them, arresting them violently and even having them bitten by your dogs.
I do not understand what you are trying to achieve with your actions. If the students continue to protest non-violently despite your increasingly violent aggression, what are you going to do? Continue to beat them until some are permanently maimed? Until someone is in a coma? Until someone is dead?
What are you looking to do with your actions? Convince people that protesting against austerity in a non-violent manner cannot happen in Quebec? Do you want them to protest against austerity violently? Do you want austerity not to be opposed? In both cases, your attacks against your protesting fellow citizens are attacks against yourselves.
You are also victims of the austerity the protesters whom you are attacking are denouncing. Like the majority of Québécois, austerity means childcare will cost you more, municipal taxes and tuition will increase, public electricity will be more expensive, you will have to wait longer at emergency rooms, your children will have less services at school, and so on.
In addition to the austerity that everyone is subjected to, you as police are living through an austerity nightmare all your own. First of all, the Liberal government has made significant cuts to your pensions, eliminating in the process what little right to collective bargaining you had left. Your next collective agreement negotiations will be difficult since Mayor Coderre has announced that he wants to cut your pay by 10 per cent. We also learned recently that 250 positions at the Montreal Police Service will disappear over the next five years. Other cuts will surely be on their way. Finally, austerity measures will increase poverty and make it more intense. The task of cleaning the visible signs of poverty from our streets, which our political and economic elites have conferred to you, will become more and more difficult to accomplish.
Austerity will decrease your revenues as surely as it will increase your expenses. Austerity means that your job will become more and more intense, and more and more difficult, with fewer and fewer colleagues and resources. The protesters against whom you are waging war refuse to accept this individual and collective impoverishment.
I hope you enjoy wearing your ridiculous pants and hitting protesters, because with your strategy of zealously obeying the rulers who aim to impoverish us all it’ll be a long time before you retire.