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(en) Canada, Angry tenants Evict Quebec Housing Tribunal

From Nicolas Febus <nicolasphebus@yahoo.com>
Date Wed, 12 Mar 2003 17:05:17 +0100 (CET)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Quebec, march 10th 2003 -- More then 300 angry tenants took part in the
symbolic eviction of Quebec Housing Tribunal during a demo in Quebec City
monday afternoon. The protest, organised by the Regroupement des comités
logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ, a coalition of tenant
unions), wanted to denounce the constant rent rise we withness across the
province. The Regie du logement (that's the Housing Tribunal) was targeted
as one of those "responsible for the rent hikes".

Demonstrators came from several tenant unions all over the province. The crowd
was a testimony to the 'unity will' of part of the housing right movement as
many groups not usualy linked to the RCLALQ where in attendance
(including several radicals and anarchists). 

After a quick march, demonstrators arrive in front of the building that house
the Housing Tribunal. It seem autorities expected us to pick another more
prestigious targt (such as the parliement or the PM office) as there was no one
waiting for us there (maybe they just didint believe us when we talked about an
eviction too). As the door where open, it was easy for the action group to get
inside, quickly followed by the whole demo who 'occupy' the loby of the
building. As an activist was reading an 'eviction notice' others where removing
furniture from the office (not much actualy as it is a waiting room...). The
workers seem chocked and surprised, they are not used to be seen as the ennemy.
Maybe they just dont realise that their eviction of some 40 000 tenants a year
may lead some people to view them as "on the other side".

"Rent control in Quebec is a shame" explained one of the organiser, adding "as
long as tenants dont complain, landlord a free to do as they please!" Indeed,
rent control is volontary, so tenant need to first refuse their rent hike
before it is applied (and not many know that they have a right to do so). It
seem there is less then 1% of the rents that are fixed by the Housing Tribunal
(many more tenants struck deals with their landlord, but still). The RCLALQ
is fighting for an universal and automatic rent control.

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