Montreal

Martin Coiteux defiant amid austerity protests

As a week-long blitz of anti-austerity demonstrations gets underway, Treasury Board President Martin Coiteux says the Quebec government won't back down from its plans to cut spending and balance the budget.

Anti-austerity coalition is holding multiple events every day this week

Anti-austerity protesters are removed from the room as they disrupt a speech by Quebec Education Minister Yves Bolduc, right, at the Montreal Chamber of Commerce luncheon last Friday. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

As a week-long blitz of anti-austerity demonstrations gets underway, Treasury Board President Martin Coiteux says the Quebec government won't back down from its plans to slash spending.

​Coiteux, the MNA for Nelligan, told Daybreak Montreal the Liberals were elected on a promise to balance the budget and that's what they'll do.

"We have to remember the problem. We're spending $11 billion on interest every year. That's like a family with an income of $75,000 spending $11,000 on interest alone," Coiteux said Monday.

"What Quebecers want is a government determined to bring back fiscal balance."

The comments come as a series of "disruptive actions'' begin across the province.

A coalition of community groups, unions, and student groups is holding five or six events per day this week, including marches and protests as well as more creative actions such as flash mobs.

"We've tried for many years to tell the government that there are other choices instead of cutting back public services," Sébastien Rivard​, a spokesman for the coalition, told Daybreak, arguing that corporations should pay more taxes

In addition to this week's demonstrations, the coalition is planning other actions throughout the spring, including a province-wide protest day and a new round of student classroom boycotts in the hopes of another "Maple Spring" like the one in 2012.​

The domain name printemps2015.org has already been registered.

with files from Canadian Press

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