Yesterday was May 1st, also known as International Workers's Day or May Day in Montreal. The anti-capitalist group CLAC announced that they intended to “disrupt commercial activity dominated by the local bourgeoisie (...) in an attempt to destroy capitalism.”
Like most protests in Montreal, the message is unclear, the desired results aren't achieved and the situation quickly turned chaotic and violent.
The crowd started launching colored smoke grenades, fireworks and paint bombs at Montreal police on Sainte-Catherine Street West, so they obviously responded by launching smoke grenades and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Spoiler alert: Capitalism was not overthrown this day!
Montreal LGBTQ+ and gender advocacy groups are demanding that the CAQ make significant changes to a bill that's been widely condemned as transphobic. Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barette, meanwhile, says he's open to making "improvements" to Bill 2.
While Barette said in a Facebook post that the CAQ is "confident" it can "find a solution with LGBTQ groups," several organizations are demanding that the government do a better job of including trans, non-binary and intersex people in the decision-making process.
In the post, Barrette said that "Bill 2 clarifies the distinction between sex and gender."
"Gender identity will now be able to appear on civil status documents and be changed to reflect the identity of a trans person [...] a trans person will therefore be able to continue to have documents that reflect their identity without undergoing surgery. There is no need for surgery in order for civil status documents to be changed to reflect the gender identity of the person concerned."
Barrette furthermore insisted that "sex and gender will not be contrasted in the documents. Birth certificates would show either one or the other."
What do you have to say about Bill 2 and Barrette's comments?
"This is a flat-out lie," the Centre for Gender Advocacy said of Barrette's claims about the bill.
The centre said the new marker would expose one's trans status, leaving it "out in the open by having it be separate from the 'sex' marker, resulting in the same or similar dangers a trans person with no IDs at all would face."
Conseil Québécois LGBT+ Executive Director Ariane Marchand-Labelle told MTL Blog that "the mere presence of the gender designation will expose a person's trans identity" since the bill proposes adding a gender identifier on some documents only by request.
"This will be even more revealing if the gender identity does not correspond to the sex designation, in the case of people who have not had surgery for example."
Marchand-Labelle also took issue with a part of the bill that says a birth certificate would have to indicate if it underwent any change.
The bill would therefore, she said, "[create] a new category for trans people, and we know that trans and non-binary people experience a great deal of discrimination."
"How is this helpful or necessary?" she asked. "What reason would the government have to put [trans people] at greater risk of exclusion, harassment, and violence, which they already suffer disproportionately?"
The Conseil has taken action and penned a letter of opposition to Bill 2 that anyone could send directly to their MNA. The Montreal LGBTQ+ Community Centre and the Coalition des familles LGBT+, both members of the Conseil, say they support its campaign against the bill.
What changes would your organization make to Bill 2?
The Centre for Gender Advocacy wants "all of the discriminatory, transphobic and/or interphobic articles within Bill 2 to be removed from the bill immediately."
"If the government wishes to modify the articles affecting trans people and intersex people, we would like the trans community and the intersex community to be at the front and centre of any laws, any article changes directly affecting them; we want the trans and intersex communities to be consulted and be able to approve any bills which will primarily affect them."
Marchand-Labelle echoed the statement, saying "it is essential for the government to consult those who have the necessary expertise, namely the trans, non-binary, and intersex communities."
A collective of coffee shops and community organizers is inviting all cyclists to join them for a Montreal bike protest to celebrate the milestone of over one million cyclists on the Réseau Express Vélo (REV). The group is also calling on the city to keep the controversial REV paths on rue Bellechasse and expand the network even further.
"We are celebrating hundreds of lives protected, thousands of healthier people, tons of GHGs avoided, all those happy school children and all the happiness we have had in the last year!" event organizer Jacques Nacouzi exclaimed in a statement shared with MTL Blog.
Cyclists are asked to meet up at Carré Saint-Louis in the Plateau at 11 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, October 23.
From there, the protest will move north along the REV Saint-Denis before hitting the REV Bellechasse moving east. The protest will end when the group circles back to rue Saint-Denis.
With a mayoral election in Montreal just around the corner, cycling advocates are concerned about the REV Bellechasse.
The project has been criticized by Ensemble Montréal with Denis Coderre pledging to remove part of the bike path on Bellechasse to add more parking spots if he's elected.
The REV is a key accomplishment of Mayor Valérie Plante's administration.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
"As such, we want to encourage everyone to approach September 30 as a day of action. Reflection is not enough - participating, listening and supporting Indigenous people, who are still reeling from the multi-generational trauma of residential school, is a proactive stance to commemorate this day."
Many people at the march wore orange shirts, a symbol of truth and reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots movement that commemorated residential schools and honoured their survivors, was the precursor to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and some people still refer to it by its original name.
"Joyce Echaquan lost her life because somebody thought she didn't matter," said Ellen Gabriel, a Mohawk activist and artist from Kanehsatà:ke Nation, addressing the crowd. "Don't make this the last demonstration you come to. Don't make this the last thing you do for those children who never came home."