Demonstration to sustain the financing of CEPs

Protest to sustain CEP0 funding More than a hundred people came to demonstrate, placards in hand, to obtain recurrent funding in popular education centres.

More than a hundred people gathered Friday outside the Montreal offices of the Ministry of Education on Fullum Street to demand sufficient and long-term funding for popular education centers (CEP) in Quebec.< /p>

The six different Montreal CEPs present on site raised the rent strike as a potential means of pressure to obtain the funding requested from the Ministry.

“We need a solution. We've been asking for a long time, and we're still coming together to ask for a solution that is simple. We need a recurring and sufficient subsidy to finance the rent, which in return ensures the maintenance of our activities and our survival”, proclaims in the megaphone the director of the René-Goupil Educational and Community Center (CECRG), Nathalie Prieur, one of the facilitators of the event.

Invaluable services

The various interlocutors repeatedly underlined the inappropriate funding for the rising cost of living, especially with regard to rents. The facilitators also recalled that financial insecurity is an obstacle to the mobilization and services of the CEPs since the specter of a closure prevents the start of long-term projects.

Demonstration to sustain funding for CEP1The crowd was loud and several people took the microphone to tell their stories. Photo: David Beauchamp, Metro

Many users of the CEPs present also took the microphone to tell their story and share their concerns about a potential closure of their center, which would have a severe blow on their quality of life.

“CEPs provide essential services. Today, many of us did not have the chance to learn computer science in our youth. Thanks to CEPs, we now know a lot about computers and telephones, and we can now write and send CVs to find a job. So, Mr. Minister [Bernard Drainville], not taking into account the demands of the centers is putting us in danger, “said a user of the Carrefour d’popular education in Pointe Saint-Charles who learned to master the computer basics, which allowed him to find work more easily.

The presence of elected officials

Several elected officials and politicians were present at the demonstration. Of the lot, three of the deputies of Québec solidaire (QS) were there, namely Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, Alexandre Leduc and Manon Massé. The latter was also one of the guests of honor to take the microphone to show the support of her political party for the demands of the CEPs.

Demonstration to sustain funding for CEP2Manon Massé smiled at the crowd during her speech. She was accompanied by Alexandre Leduc, MP for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and the new MP for Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne, Guillaume Cliche-Rivard. Photo: David Beauchamp, Metro

“The popular education centers change the lives of many people, every day. There are some for whom their CEP is their home, a living environment and even a family. They go there to obtain food, housing and integration services. The funding must be sufficient, recurrent and commensurate with their mission. Popular education is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, and Québec solidaire will continue to demand that funding be recurring,” says Ms. Massé.

The PEC in the spotlight

Among the CEPs present, the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Community Education Pavilion (PEC) did not go unnoticed. Remember that the PEC and all the tenant organizations located at 1691, boulevard Pie-IX, have recently learned that they will have to move by December 31, 2023 due to the significant deterioration of the building they occupy. , endangering several organizations which fear that they will not be able to find premises with sufficiently low rents.

This situation is of particular concern to the Member of Parliament for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Alexandre Leduc, for whom the closure of the PEC and the relocation of tenant organizations would create a void of services in the neighborhood, which would weaken the social fabric.

“It looks like the government is waiting to see each year if the CEPs are still moving to give them a little extra subsidy. As far as my constituency is concerned, I am fighting for the PEC to maintain its well-located premises. Their literacy and food aid services, as well as their unemployment, immigration and advocacy services are all essential in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.”

The Executive Director of the PEC, Martha Ortiz, was also present at the demonstration to show his support and solidarity with the other centers and also to make their notice of eviction more visible. “The solidarity of our centers is really a balm on the heart. I did not expect so much solidarity, and it proves that we can continue to work together to obtain respectable funding, “she concludes.

The PEC has also learned from from the Center de service scolaire de Montréal (CSSDM) that the analysis of the air quality of the building was completed three weeks ago. The PEC is still awaiting the results to find out if they will have to move earlier than December 31.

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