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But the sound wasn't sad!

Why, this sound sounded merry!

It couldn't be so!

But it WAS merry! VERY!

Reports are the casserole protests continued tonight. Thousands marching up St-Laurent Blvd earlier this fine evening. Good for them. "That's the spirit," as my eight-year-old son likes to say.

You know, for months I was reluctant to get behind this particular student-led movement. It really left a bad taste in my mouth every time I heard about "striking" students thwarting others from attending classes. And like many others I spoke with, "strike" (or its french equivalent, "grève", rhymes with Bev) seemed a misnomer. If anything, these guys were boycotting their classes, or at the very least, "protesting". But calling it a strike seemed disingenuous.

I am however, a tolerant Canadian, so I did not quibble with them throwing bricks on subway tracks to get attention when the hardline Quebec Liberal government of Jean Charest refused to even meet with them and hear their grievances. It was not very becoming of Charest, but then again, he is a pompous ass, and when you knowingly elect a pompous ass, you have to expect to live with that devil you knew and know. He was, after all, merely a young pup when learning the tricks of the trade within Mulroney's cabinet.

But once he had had enough of these unwavering protesters, his pomposity grew to such outbound proportions with his Bill 78 that I knew in a heartbeat that rather than making a Swift, Decisive, Strong Leader decision, he had instead impetuously shat the provincial bed.

I look on it now as my Grinch moment. It awakened me.

There I was, hand cocked to ear, sitting atop Mount Crumpet with all the self-righteousness of the many people like me, feeling unlawfully hindered from wending our little ways through the workings of life to get to our woefully underpaid jobs. I was fully (gosh, naively) expecting to hear the mea culpas from CLASSE spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and the others. And like all those who'd poo-pooed the movement and quietly categorized them as uber-brats, I had expected them to back down and accept that they were about to be firmly screwed again. The way I got screwed. The way we all have been getting screwed by the untenable but nonetheless well-embraced mantra of neo-liberalism that doesn't know anything other than sucking every ounce of life from the 99.9% to feed the self-important point-0-one.

But this generation of students? Nuh-uh. They wouldn't - and won't - have any of it,
even though Bill 78 meant these students had just had their whole semesters scuppered.

But just like the Whos in Whoville who had been robbed of all their worldly possessions, the "entitled" young buggers came right back out into the commons anyway. They came out in numbers much greater than what wept for Maurice Richard's passing, and they sang their protest song on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012. Over a hundred thousand people marched in bold defiance of a law that so obviously contravenes our utmost rights (bestowed by the people to those that rule us, remember, not the other way around), even the dimmest of voters could not help but see it.

We all heard them; me from the 8th floor office on de Maisonneuve Blvd where I earn subsistence wages for an American company that constantly insists none of us may take a sick day without later furnishing a Doctor's note, never mind that it's against Quebec law to ask for that for absences of less than three days.

I went down to the street on my break and watched the marchers head down Peel Street. They were joyously defiant. They had all the violence of a John Lennon or Ghandi.

They were on the right side of history, I figured.

For what I had heretofore failed to see was that the tuition increase wasn't all they were protesting. The increase, or "Hausse" was more like the straw that broke the camel's back - the camel that the mass media was always looking beyond because it figured nobody cared so much about camels as about Kardashians. And if it's sad that they are right in that assumption, it's also true that they had a big hand in making it so.

I guess I didn't relate because my own experience in university was that tuition kept going up each year, but my parents (what foresight!) had been saving for me and my sister since we were tots to make sure we had money to get a degree. And they had expected it to be a lot more expensive than it turned out to be.

My first year at Concordia University was also the last year of a long-standing tuition fee freeze (1988), and my contract for a full year's study, including extra administrative costs, was all of $750. After that, there was books and living expenses of course. And I did my bit. I toiled unrewarded as a volunteer student journalist; I paid my way and switched to studying part-time once the $350-a-year increases kicked-in in 1989, working minimum wage at McDonald's - a real Flaherty job if ever there was one.

Since graduation, I have found the market for my writing, my reporting, indeed the sum of my skills learned within the two departments of Journalism and Communications, to be drier than a James Bond martini. The jobs just haven't been there, and when they were, I jumped at them, only to find myself jammed-up with numerous others, like the hammers of an old manual typewriter all struck at once, with none eventually hitting the ribbon, but left with no recourse save full retreat.

I am 43 years old, with two dependants and an ex-wife. I had to start over last year, grateful as hell to find employment that provides good family benefits and a measure of security (not maternity-leave replacement or fixed-term contract work, but permanent, full-time with vacation), despite the fact it pays less than I made twelve years ago as a McDonald's manager.

So if the greater message is that this society is just not providing opportunity for the average Joe and Josephine, yeah, I get it.

And as someone who is squarely in the red, living in a tiny apartment with no money to go on vacations and unable to set aside anything for my kids' education, let alone my own retirement (which I imagine won't come before I am 70, if not 67 - unlike the tsk-tsk-ing well-heeled Boomer generation that is so disgusted by all this protesting), you bet I get it. Even Arcade Fire and Mick Jagger get it.

So I am with you. Sorry I wasn't listening earlier. That's what happens when you're working for the clampdown. I always loved that song. Now I've lived it.

Not the way I'd hoped.

Originally posted to Scott in Montreal on Sun May 27, 2012 at 12:46 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Canadian Kossacks, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I loved the pictures you painted with this... (25+ / 0-)

    and not just because the Grinch (original) is my favorite Christmas tale and cartoon.  Not only is it an important message, but it is very well written. I at least appreciate your journalism degree!

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sun May 27, 2012 at 04:21:51 AM PDT

  •  Well done Scott. (23+ / 0-)

    I am awed by the student protests going on up your way. I'm very proud of those students and their supporters. When oppression becomes too great, standing up is all you can do. Good on them for doing it so well.

  •  I'm glad that everyone could hear them (17+ / 0-)

    and "joyously defiant" is a good description for Occupy Wall Street marches too.  There is so much energy.  On May Day as they approached Zuccotti Park, they were like one united pulsing living being, as were the people along the street in solidarity with them.

    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:08:24 AM PDT

  •  more of us working for the clampdown (12+ / 0-)

    than not.
    Wish more of us would just see that one fact.

    Thanks for the picture from Montreal.

  •  And the young will lead us...... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    la urracca, shortgirl, kyril

    "The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it.". Abbie Hoffman

    by Joes Steven on Sun May 27, 2012 at 10:59:36 AM PDT

  •  Well there certainly (11+ / 0-)

    ..should -- be a market for your writing.

    The student protests of our northern neighbors have been getting zero traditional media publicity in my neck of the woods. I can't imagine why..

  •  I've been hesitant to support them (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott in Montreal, eve, kyril

    The overall complaints i've not questioned, but i've had reservations about how the protests have been directed to some degree by a minority who have their own goals. All the same, i know that i'd have been banging my pots were i back in Montreal.

    Especially now that the governement has so greivously fucked up with this response. They've foolishly turned this into a wider issue. Dumbasses.

    You've got a character encoding issue: try grève, or the use the HTML entity è

    All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

    by subtropolis on Sun May 27, 2012 at 11:12:47 AM PDT

  •  The tsk tsking of Boomers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    like Joe Strummer.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Sun May 27, 2012 at 11:33:08 AM PDT

  •  Police Demand Map of Students Protest March Route (12+ / 0-)

    You just gotta love those Québécois.  When students in Quebec were asked by Police to provide them with a map of their recent protest route about raising tuition, this is what they sent them:


    “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” ~ FDR

    by dmhlt 66 on Sun May 27, 2012 at 01:03:40 PM PDT

  •  I support them as well.... (6+ / 0-)

    And I am in Waterloo, Ontario! But my daughter is at school in Concordia.
    She called me last week, which was odd, cause as most dad's know, the girls always call for mom, but when she asked for me, I knew something was up. I have always told my kids to be active, socially and politically, though I thought they never listened, until last week. My little girl (she is 21, but, you know...), was having a crisis of conscience, for lack of better words, and wanted my advice.
    "Do I go and support them, or should I stay away?" was the question. She could not believe what was happening, could not believe that a bill was passed to trample her rights (you are right Scott, it is not about the tuition any longer), she expressed to me that if she cant speak out, if she cant protest to bring her and others views to the forefront, what rights do we have left? How else do we effect change? I simply asked her what did she think was the right thing to do? With no hesitation she answered "I have to grab a spoon and a pot and have to go Dad, thanks, talk to you soon".
    So I support them for all the obvious reasons, and the subtle ones as well. If we cant speak out in numbers, we are done.

  •  The protesters are wrong. The govt is right. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The people of Quebec have made a democratic choice to increase tuition (from just over $2000 a year for Quebec students to just under $4000 -- still the lowest in North America -- phased in at $250 a year over seven years, with increases in financial aid that fully offset the increase for all working class and most middle class students) in order to adequately fund our starving universities. The tuition increase represents one third of almost $3 billion in increased university funding, with half coming from taxpayers.

    This has been an election issue for the past couple elections, and parties supporting a tuition increase have won 60-65% of the vote, which is about the level of support for the tuition increase consistently reported in public opinion polls.

    So: the people have made a democratic choice, and elected a government to carry it out.

    And a minority has tried to override that decision though mass social and economic disruption. According to the largest student association:

    Across the province we will block the State's administrative centres, we will paralyze key points of the economy; we will disrupt, where ever we are, the interests of the political and economic elite. We will force the Charest government to back down by disrupting its ministries, its crown corporations and by disrupting the economic activity of major corporations and the movement of goods in the economy.
    They will force the elected government to back down from a policy with strong majority support? They'll do that by economic and social disruption, and by interfering with the operation of government? There's a term for that. It's called mob rule.

    Protests organized by this and other student associations have shut down classes at colleges and universities for months, and caused millions of dollars in costs to taxpayers, through police overtime to monitor constant (sometimes violent) protests, and through lost business -- and therefore, tax revenues -- in downtown Montreal.

    To stop this attempt at imposing mob rule, the government passed Bill 78 last week. Bill 78 says, basically:

    1. Organizers of large protests must provide 8 hours (ie, one duty shift) advance notice to police. That's it. You don't need a permit, or permission. You just need to provide notice.

    2. Blocking classes at colleges and universities is illegal.

    3. There are significant fines for violating these rules. Student associations that organize protests without notice, or block college and university classes from meeting will lose their funding.

    4. These requirements and fines expire in July 2013.

    Contrary to the hysterical nonsense that you may have heard, this law doesn't infringe anyone's rights. It defends our rights. It defends the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, which the protesters have systematically denied to thousands of students for months now. And it defends Quebecers' democratic rights to elect a government to carry out our popular will and not be dictated to by a mob.

    The pots-and-pans protests are misguided (and really annoying), but basically harmless. But the attempt to impose mob rule is dangerous and anti-democratic.

    •  correction (0+ / 0-)

      Regarding point 3, student associations only lose funding if they shut down classes. If they organize protests without notice, they face escalating fines, but not loss of funding.

      My bad.

    •  Quibbles (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      m16eib, Scott in Montreal

      First, I don't recall tuition hikes being part of any party's platform in the last election.   The increase does not seem like much by American standards, but percentage-wise it's huge.

      As for protesting the policies of a majority government and trying to get them to change their mind, well, that's active democracy.  Most of the disruptive things they're doing I would consider OK (marching, student strikes, pots and pans, etc.)  Some of it is inevitable petty misdemeanors on a large scale.  Some of it is completely unacceptable, like physically barring the doors to classes from non-striking students in defiance of a court order to let them go to class.

      You left the worst parts of Bill 78 out of your list, namely the nonsensical fines levied on student associations for each infraction of their members.  Not only am I sure no such fine will ever be paid, I'd even bet at least that part of the bill will be struck down in court.

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        Thanks for acknowledging that these are just quibbles, as in not very significant objections.

        It may not have been in the platforms (who reads party platforms?), but it was definitely part of the public debate. No one paying attention could have had any doubt where the parties stood.

        The percentage increase is large and irrelevant. Any significant increase at all over a small amount will be huge percentage-wise. But it's phased in over seven years, tuition will still be far cheaper here than anywhere else in North America, increased financial aid will offset the difference for any student who would have difficulty paying more, and loan payments will be adjusted to post-graduation income. Lower income students will actually get additional grants worth more than the increase -- they'll come out ahead. And for those who'll have to pay it, the difference is only a few thousand dollars total over an entire undergraduate degree (normally three years here), which will increase students' lifetime income, on average, by hundreds of thousands.

        I have no problem with peaceful protests that try to persuade the public while respecting democracy and individual rights. That's not what this is. The largest student association -- the one in the driver's seat -- has been quite clear that the goal here is imposing its will on us (by shutting down college and universities, and causing economic disruption), not persuading Quebec society to change its mind.

        And I didn't leave that bit about fines out. it's not in the bill. You've got your facts wrong. (I think you may be misreading article 23, which is about civil liability and imposes no fines. Or maybe you're confused about article 15, which requires student associations to encourage their members to comply with the law, but says nothing about fining them for individual members' transgressions?)

        •  Not totally in disagreement with you (0+ / 0-)

          However, you are sugar-coating Bill 78 if you fail to mention that it makes any public gathering of 50 persons or more automatically illegal.

          And I would also point out that any student under 23 by the time the planned hikes kick in - were by dint of their birth year - not part of the "democratic" 2008 election of this majority government, which has seen its popularity drop sharply in the last two years, under intense fire for rampant corruption. And fronting $200 million of taxpayer money for an unnecessary new top-of-the-line hockey arena for Quebec City that they certainly did not campaign on back in 2008, while asking the kids to pony up in ways their parents never had to, with loans at interest rates way higher than prime... Well can't you see where the rage is coming from? I can.

          "If you're after getting the honey, don't go killing all the bees" Joe Strummer

          by Scott in Montreal on Mon May 28, 2012 at 04:50:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The lowest tuition in no america (0+ / 0-)

            Used to be in the state of California and the city of new York. No longer - why?  "Voter" approved gradually phase in tuition increases. Really all began with Raygun and Wilson in Ca.  People who vote for this kind of regressive tax policy(& there is only ever one reason and that is the hope of paying less personal tax) could care less about the next genetation(s) who have no say in the matter.

            And I am sorry for Quebec that it is still stuck with Jean C.  

            •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

              Not sure where you're from. I used to live in both California and New York state. When I moved to Montreal, it took me a few years to get used to the politics, which are completely different. (For example, here it is politically fatal for a candidate to question the principle of socialized medicine. The main divide here is not left-right; it's sovereigntist-federalist.) My point is that your slippery slope analogy to California and New York is complete nonsense, because Quebec is nothing like those places politically. A phased in tuition increase of less than 1800 dollars does not mean Quebec is going to turn into California. (It's more likely that our climate would change to resemble California's.)

              And I'm confused by your reference to regressive tax policy, but what's regressive is keeping Quebec's tuition so low: it's a subsidy to families of middle class and wealthy students who could easily afford higher tuition, paid for mainly (even under Quebec's highly progressive tax system, because there just aren't very many rich people here) by the majority of taxpayers who have lower incomes and don't have university degrees themselves. The government's plan to raise both tuition and financial aid shifts the burden (a little) to wealthier families of university students.

              And Quebec is not "stuck with" Charest: we elected him in three straight elections.

              •  I live in NYC (0+ / 0-)

                I used to live in both Nova Scotia and California. i have extended family in both NS and Montreal. I am also from Vermont and am well aware of the tension between the Federal gvot and the provinces, particuularly wrt Quebec.  

                But none of this is germaine to my comment.  Higher education tuition, was at one time free in both NYC and in California.  Now it is very very high. Once you leave the barn door open, it is likely that the horses one day will decide to leave.  In the 80s it  was "only" $50 per semester for a 2 year college, and $750 for a 4 year college which was consdered a bargain even back then.  But the people who fought it fought it on principal and they turned out to  be right.  

                •  Quebec is not CA or NY (0+ / 0-)

                  The reason tuition at public universities increased in US states was cuts in government funding:

                  But at least at public colleges and universities — which enroll three out of every four American college students — the main cause of tuition growth has been huge state funding cuts.
                  That's not what's going on in Quebec. Charest's proposal that everyone is so upset about constitutes a major increase in provincial funding of universities. The tuition increase just offsets inflation that has eroded student's contribution and shifted the burden to taxpayers over the years. Students who don't qualify for grants will be paying the same proportion of the cost of their education as in 1969.
            •  Consider the alternative. (0+ / 0-)

              Besides being separatist, the Parti Québécois is known for bribing GM to keep producing Camaros (the plant shut down 2 years later anyway, not to be confused with the Detroit auto bailout that saved the whole company), unilaterally fusing together municipalities without campaigning on it, and liking the trappings of office a little too much (Ms. Marois herself got caught in a "silent toilet" scandal).  Their otherwise laudable progressive initiatives are incompetently administered.  Worst of all, they got caught selectively rejecting "no" ballots in the 1995 referendum.

              The third-party CAQ (formerly known as the ADQ) has tried to occupy the right side of the economic spectrum and soft-pedal sovereignty, but their message is incoherent and they've never governed.

              The provincial liberals have some decent politicians (Mulcair was one of them).  I'm not crazy about Jean C., but he's no Harper.

              •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                I think we're mostly in agreement on the merits of the alternative parties (except Mulcair; he's my MP. I didn't vote for him, and I'm not a fan).

                And we agree that Charest, whatever his flaws, is no Harper.

                But, to me, this isn't about Charest. The protesters want to make it about Charest, because their views on tuition are unpopular, but their dislike of Charest is widely shared. But this is about a policy, not a politician. And the government's policy -- on tuition -- has two-thirds popular support, even though the government is unpopular.

          •  Nope (0+ / 0-)
            However, you are sugar-coating Bill 78 if you fail to mention that it makes any public gathering of 50 persons or more automatically illegal.
            That's completely wrong.

            I'd highly recommend reading Bill 78 (link is PDF, English). There's a lot of misinformation out there.

            The only restriction Bill 78 places on demonstrations of 50 people or more is (Article 16) that the organizers of the demonstration are required to notify police 8 hours in advance of the time and place where they will demonstrate. They don't need a permit; they just need to provide advance notice. And if the police determine it would pose "serious risks to public safety," they can require a change of location or route. This applies only to "demonstrations," not to other public gatherings (like, say, a wedding). And it applies only to organizers.

            So, if 50 people demonstrate without providing 8 hours notice to the police, is the demonstration illegal under Bill 78? No. But the organizers are subject to the fines specified in Article 26.The demonstration is still allowed (as long as it's conducted peacefully and safely), and participants who aren't organizers don't violate any provision of Bill 78 and aren't subject to any of its fines.

            Democracy is based on societal, not individual, choice and consent. A student who wasn't old enough to vote in the last election is not exempt from respecting democratic principles or the legitimacy of the laws. And while the government is unpopular (though still as or more popular than any other party), the tuition increase is not. According to recent polls, the tuition increase has the support of about two thirds of the public. So it's both the policy of the elected government, and the will of the people.

            The Quebec city hockey arena is madness. So protest that.

        •  My facts are wrong? (0+ / 0-)

          You could have read all the way down to Article 26.  Read for yourself:

          Anyone who contravenes section 3, the first paragraph of section 10,
          section 11, the second paragraph of section 12 or section 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 is guilty of an offence and is liable, for each day or part of a day during which the contravention continues, to a fine of $1,000 to $5,000.
          However, the fine is (...)
          (2) $25,000 to $125,000 if the offence is committed by a student association, a federation of associations, an association of employees or an institution, or by a legal person, a body or a group that is the organizer of a demonstration.
          The fines prescribed by this section are doubled for a second or subsequent
          [emphasis mine].  These penalties are ridiculous.  A student association tweets a meetup for 49 people for some pot-clanging, two bystanders join in, and out come the paddywagons and fines?  A couple of anarchists wander off the approved marching route and brake a window, and the AERCUM is out a hundred grand?  They're unenforceable and may even contrevene the Charter.  The governement knows this.  They're using these scary provisions as an intimidation tactic.  Which is bad lawmaking and bad morals.

          As for percentages, they most certainly do matter.  If they didn't, there would be no reason not to implement the whole increase all at once.  It's not just in terms of public perception.  Students on shoestring budgets now have to seriously rethink the debt burden they're willing to assume in order to get a degree.  I know, the cost is hardly prohibitive especially with available studen aid, but it's still a significant disruption to the current social contract.

          I actually have some sympathy for the Government having to deal with the increasing fiscal burden of 15 years of frozen tuition.  It's not like educational costs are unaffected by inflation.  But such a steep increase is a significant change in fiscal policy.  It was easily foreseeable budget-wise.  It may be good politics to be vague about how they're going to patch the budget holes, but it's also cowardly.  It doesn't really matter whether you or I read their platform (I didn't).  It matters whether they stated their intentions to the electorate.

          Which "largest student association" are you referring to?  Individual CEGEPs and university faculty associations held votes on whether to strike.  They're using pressure tactics, just as striking unions do.  They cannot actually stop the government from increasing tuition.  They can only try to provide a strong disincentive for doing so.

          •  Try again (0+ / 0-)

            Above, you claimed that the Bill imposed fines on student associations "for each infraction of their members."


            As the language that you boldfaced says, the fines in Article 26 apply "if the offence is committed by a student association." NOT if the offence is committed by individual members of the student association on their own. If individual members commit an offense, those individiuals are subject to the fines for individuals specified in 26(1). But the fines in 26(2) are for offenses committed by the student association as an organization, not by its individual members acting independently.

            So, yes, your facts were wrong.

            A student association tweets a meetup for 49 people for some pot-clanging, two bystanders join in, and out come the paddywagons and fines?  A couple of anarchists wander off the approved marching route and brake a window, and the AERCUM is out a hundred grand?
            Not quite. If the student association organizes a large demonstration, it needs to provide 8 hours notice. So tweet it at 11am for an 8pm demonstration, no problem -- but call or email the police by noon. If it doesn't provide the required notice, the Bill provides no basis to round anyone up in "paddywagons," but the association would be subject to fines. And there's no basis in Bill 78 to fine a student association for anarchists deviating from a parade route, because the student association wouldn't have committed any offense.
            As for percentages, they most certainly do matter.  If they didn't, there would be no reason not to implement the whole increase all at once.
            The reason to phase it in gradually is the absolute amount, not the percentage. People who object based on the percentage increase object to the increase, not the time period it's phased in over. And students on shoestring budgets will be eligible for financial aid that offsets the tuition increase. Students with the latest iPhone and brand name fashions (and that's a common in my classes) can and should pay more.
            Which "largest student association" are you referring to?

            CLASSE. Sorry, should have said federation not association.

            Individual CEGEPs and university faculty associations held votes on whether to strike.  They're using pressure tactics, just as striking unions do.
            No, they held votes on whether to boycott classes. They're not unions, and can't strike. If they were just boycotting, that would be fine. But using intimidation and violence to physically shut down campuses, and fostering economic chaos in order to override a democratic choice of the people of Quebec is not.
            •  Alright look, (0+ / 0-)

              my phrasing "each infraction of their members" was ambiguous.  I meant each time their members, collectively, commit an infraction.  Not the huge fine multiplied by the number of members committing it.  Which is accurate.

              You, on the other hand, claimed the "bit about fines" wasn't in the bill, when it was.  Please ease up on the whole calling me wrong stuff.

              The students themselves call it striking.  I know it's not legally the same as worker unions going on strike, but the intent is the same, even if they're not witholding labour.  I raised the point myself about intimidation and violence to shut down campuses, so there's no disagreement there.

              But your claim about "overriding a democratic choice" could apply to any protest or demonstration that causes economic damage, by design or by accident.  The only body that can override a democratic choice in our society is the courts.  Everyone else can only exercise their civil rights in trying to influence said choices.  Including causing chaos, as long as it's legal.  There's all the more justification for doing so if the governing party hadn't made their plans available before they were chosen democratically.  That's why party platforms are important even if no one reads them.

  •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott in Montreal

    Thank you, Scott in Montreal as well as some of the commenters, for bringing me up to speed about what is happening up there on your side of the border!  I am not only far away from Canada's border with the States, I am literally 15 miles away from the border with Mexico and on the ocean here in San Diego.  But I am very moved and impressed by what I've learned over the last couple of days.  Stand strong for your rights!  For whatever it's worth, I am rooting for you as I am sure others elsewhere outside of Canada are doing too.

  •  God, I miss Montreal, Scott. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott in Montreal

    I hope the broader student message gets out: It's not the tuition, it's the underfunding of the whole post-secondary system in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

    It's reached a crescendo [sic] under Charest and Harper, but the rest of the provincials are up to their necks, too.

    Meanwhile the wealth gap grows faster in Canada than anywhere else as a matter of deliberate policy. How many billions did Harper throw away with the GST giveaways to businesses? How much did that insipid war cost?

    Typical conservative management: Cut taxes to the rich, go to war, then act surprised at the deficit, blame it on the poor and cut social services to rectify the situation.

    Soyez bien.

    •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
      I hope the broader student message gets out: It's not the tuition, it's the underfunding of the whole post-secondary system in Quebec and the rest of Canada.
      That's not the broader student message. The student organizations are arguing explicitly that higher education is overfunded [PDF file, see point number 5]. Their last set of proposals was to either freeze all spending on universities or cut research funding, in order not to increase tuition at all. They are very clear that they don't care about underfunding of universities, and deny it exists. Their leaders have no problem undermining the quality of universities to keep tuition low.

      The government's higher education policy goes a long way to addressing the underfunding of Quebec universities, and dramatically increases the public funds provided (mostly from sources other than tuition). But the student organizations (which speak for a minority of students) just want tuition frozen or eliminated without regard for adequate funding of post-secondary education.

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