On August 25th, hundreds of Montreal residents took to the street to denounce Bill 31, a bill which was proposed in the Quebec parliament back in June by France-Élaine Duranceau of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) party. The bill seeks to restrict tenant's rights, particularily when it comes to the right of tenants to transfer leases amongst themselves, which has historically been one of the few methods that tenants have to combat abusive rent increases.
"The CAQ government is taking that away from us, and considering both the real estate and rental context in Canada, Quebec and just about everywhere else in the world, it's an attack on the working class," Pierre James, an attendee at the protest told North Star.
Nicholas Harvest of the Pointe-Saint-Charles Housing Rights Association pointed out that the bill houses other attacks on tenant's rights aside from the reform on lease transfers. "It removes the vocabulary of socialized housing, and replaces it with 'affordable housing', which is very nefarious... It also has an implementation that states that the OMHM (Office Municipal d'Habitation de Montreal) can sell off their low- rental, low-income housing stock to make profit, to recoup costs upon themselves."
Benoît Dumais of Alliance Ouvrière sees this bill as part of a broader attack on the working class by the CAQ. "When you put it in the context of all the reforms [the CAQ] is making, what you see is a single attack on workers' rights - the social safety net in general, unions, every aspect that will affect a worker's life."