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Schools in Shannon, Que., closed due to PSAC strike

Three schools in Shannon near the Valcartier military base outside Quebec City closed today because of the strike by federal public employees. 

The Dollard-des-Ormeaux elementary and high school in the English sector, along with two francophone schools, Alexander Wolff and the Mont Saint-Sacrement private school, have cancelled classes for the day.

Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) picket lines have been disrupting traffic at rush hours when students are arriving by bus or car.

But Thursday, workers picketed in front of Service Canada offices on Des Quatre-Bourgeois Road, near Sainte-Foy, instead of the military base where school administrators expected. 

Johanne Rouillard, president of the local chapter of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), urged people frustrated with heavy traffic to write to the government, so workers can have better work conditions.

“It’s our right to protest,” said Rouillard on Radio-Canada’s Première Heure. “When we slow down employees and the military entering the Valcartier military base, of course it creates traffic, but our goal is to pressure the employer.”

“We’re in a sector where there are schools, but we’re collaborating with the Sûreté du Québec so it goes well.”

Children play outside Alexander-Wolff School in Shannon, Que.
Nearly 50 per cent of students at Alexander-Wolff School in Shannon have at least one parent in the Canadian Armed Forces. (Radio-Canada Archives)

In a notice to parents of students at Dollard-des-Ormeaux, the school says it decided to close both the school and the daycare because the safety of students and staff are their top concern.

The director general of the Centre de services scolaire de la Capitale, Pierre Lapointe, said that as pressure tactics by the strikers intensify, the service centre can’t ensure safe access to schools.

“We have to understand that this blockage involves queues of dozens and dozens of cars,” he said.

Several parents said they waited more than an hour before arriving at school this week.

Consequences have become ‘intolerable,’ mayor says

The mayor of Shannon Sarah Perreault says the town has become hostage to the strike.

“The consequences for the citizens of the town of Shannon have become intolerable,” Shannon Mayor Sarah Perreault said in a news release Wednesday.

“We therefore demand that the federal government do everything possible to put an end to this deplorable situation and [that it] use all the means at its disposal, in particular a request for an injunction.”

In the same news release, the City of Shannon listed the ways it has been disrupted, such as the presence of obstacles on De la Bravoure Road during rush hour, school buses being prevented from circulating, the endangerment of schoolchildren and school crossing guards as well as the closure of the two elementary schools and daycare services.

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