Student strike against tuition hike #3

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Student strike against tuition hike #3
Issues Pages: 

This morning - after today's victory at the [url= CÉGEP[/url]:

[url= disperse students protestors after clash outside Concordia's downtown campus[/url]

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Quebec Student Strike - Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois



RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms


[url= students win again - classes cancelled today![/url]

This is in direct defiance to Minister Lise Beauchamp's "directive" to CÉGEPs to resume classes whether students attend or not, in opposition to the democratic decisions made by students in general assemblies.

Also this afternoon, a group claiming to represent 1,000 teachers will call for the resignation of Beauchamp - stay tuned!


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..very creative! very strong in their position.
Quebec Tuition: We Have A Choice


We hear a lot from Charest and conservative lobbyists about how tuition hikes are the only way to finance the Quebec University system, but they never seem to present any actual facts. Why? Because, as you can see, the facts speak for themselves! For sources and more information, visit

The Graduate Students' Association of Concordia University represents 6000 master's, doctoral, and diploma students. With research from Free Education Montreal (, script and video work by AJ Korkidakis.



[url=]Teachers demand education minister resign[/url]

A group of teachers at College Ahuntsic says its call for the resignation of Education Minister Line Beauchamp is snowballing, with now more than 1000 teachers from elementary school to university adding their names and voices to that call in the last 48 hours.

The teachers say they refuse to bear the onus of breaking the back of the student movement and of having to put their own moral convictions and increasingly, they say, even their physical safety at risk by being forced to cross student picket lines.


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..i got goosebumps reading your post unionist!

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Manif-Action Banque Nationale


Blocage de la banque nationale du 11 avril 2012. Violences policières acclamées par les employés.


Blocage du pavillon Roger Gaudry à l'UdeM - 12 avril 2012

Le 12 avril 2012, l’Université de Montréal impose une injonction aux 17 152 étudiants de l’UdeM en grève générale illimitée (contre la hausse des frais de scolarité). Cette injonction est une atteinte à leur droit de grève puisqu’elle interdit les perturbations et le piquetage sur le campus de l’UdeM. Ce droit de grève a pourtant été voté démocratiquement en assemblée générale par une trentaine d’associations étudiantes. L’UdeM démontre qu’elle méprise ses étudiants en refusant d’écouter leurs revendications et en imposant ses directives anti-démocratiques. Une manifestation a été organisée pour faire valoir le respect du droit de manifester ainsi que pour répondre à cette attaque envers la jeunesse universitaire. Durant la manifestation les étudiants occupent le pavillon Roger Gaudry, symbole de l’université, où se trouve également le bureau du recteur, Guy Breton.


Hmmm... looks like there's a cyberattack going on against the Parti Libéral du Québec website, the department of education, as well as several others:

[url= Presse article en français[/url]

These appear to be the culprits:

As of right now, these websites among others don't appear to be working:

[url=]Liberal Party website[/url]

[url=]Ministry of Education[/url]

It's just awful. Isn't it?



Ha! Demo today, and nice spring weather!

See you there, MontréalaisES!!!!


Wow, this thing is huge! Organizers estimate 40,000 downtown right now! Here's ongoing coverage:


Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Amir Khadir is taking part in the rally with a big contingent of members of his party, which supports the students' demands. "We're here because we admire them - such courage, and such maturity, despite all the radical obstinacy of Minister Beauchamp and the Charest government," he said.

[Rough translation]


And what a beautiful sight it is. I wish students in other parts of the country would join in a show of solidarity.


Hahaha, just tweeted by the Montréal police:


Les manifestants sont au Square Victoria. Automobilistes évitez le secteur, les rues sont bloquées. #manifencours #mtlcirculation

— Police Montréal (@SPVM) Avril 14, 2012


Sounds like the streets are blockee'd at Victoria Square. 

Viva la revolucion!


Unionist wrote:

Wow, this thing is huge! Organizers estimate 40,000 downtown right now! Here's ongoing coverage:

It was a very well-attended demo. I was there; the 40,000 number sounds plausible to me.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Quebec student protest marks Premier Jean Charest's ninth year in power

MONTREAL - Quebec students showed no sign of backing down Saturday in their battle with the provincial government, staging another massive march through the streets of Montreal.

Thousands of students were joined by residents young and old for the protest against the planned tuition hikes that coincided with the anniversary marking Premier Jean Charest's taking power nine years ago.

"I've always thought that change comes from the young," said Lise Lajoie, 72, who attended the march with a friend. "It's nice to see young people mobilize."

Students like Barbara Dufour say they remain committed to the strike, despite warnings the spring semester could be scrapped if the walkout continues.

"I think it's worth it," said Dufour, 25, an animation student at a junior college in Old Montreal. "What would be the point if we stopped now? Everything would be lost."

The march stretched along several city blocks and tied up traffic in the city's already congested Plateau neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, a group of students at Universite de Montreal set up tents on a campus lawn, vowing to "occupy" the university until the government backs down.

There were no incidents at the march on Saturday, but protests have grown more heated in recent days as the government takes steps to force students back to class.

The websites for the Quebec Liberal Party and the province's education department were apparently hit by a cyberattack on Friday evening. While no one had claimed responsibility, Twitter and Facebook users had circulated a link denouncing the Charest government and explaining how to crash a website....

Global News | Quebec student protest marks Premier Jean Charest's ninth year in power

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..apr 14


[url= demonstration of solidarity with Québec students[/url]

« Neuf ans, jour pour jour, après l'élection du gouvernement libéral. Deux semaines après le budget Harper. Le Québec croît dans la rue! Vers un Printemps québécois! »

"Nine years, to the day, after the election of the Liberal government. Two weeks after the Harper budget. Québec believes in the street! For a Québécois Spring!"


And now - finally - divide and rule. Let's ensure this attempt fails:

[url= Beauchamp ready to talk to Quebec's student strikers[/url]

That's the bullshit headline of the Gazette wishful thinkers.

With the province still locked in a dispute with students over tuition fee hikes, Education Minister Line Beauchamp announced Sunday that she is prepared to lead talks for creating a permanent, independent commission to ensure sound management of universities.

To do so, Beauchamp said she was ready to meet with the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec.

Beauchamp noted that the student federation, which has more than 125,000 members, adopted a resolution on the weekend calling for an independent commission to improve how universities are managed.

“It’s a good topic for discussion,” said Beauchamp, adding they can sit around a table on that issue.

Beauchamp has nixed the idea of talks with students unless they are prepared to budge from their position opposing an increase in tuition fees.

Of course, she doesn't want to talk to CLASSE, who are the real leaders and coordinators of the strike movement.

Will FEUQ agree to sit down with Beauchamp without CLASSE present - or, more importantly, without abandoning their opposition to the tuition hikes? It's hard to imagine such a betrayal happening, and still less, being tolerated by the students.


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Blocking the Hall

First Day of Exams Sees Violence

Anti-tuition hike protesters blocked the entrance to Concordia’s Hall Building on the morning of April 12, delaying the first day of scheduled exams and increasing tension between striking and non-striking students.

After about 45 minutes the picket was broken, followed by riot police dispersing the the group of approximately 75 protesters using CS gas and baton tactics.

There were arguments between protesters and students attempting to enter the building, and some students reportedly threw fruit and coffee at the protesters in attempt to break through the line.

“I don’t mind them doing this during the semester, but not when I have an exam in an hour and I have to study,” said Actuarial Mathematics student Tom Riskas. “We’ve already paid for the semester, by losing the semester what money are we saving?”

“Using force to block people is not peaceful.”

Protesters were a mix of Concordia students and Syndicat des étudiant-e-s employé-e-s de l’UQAM. The group moved from their 7:00 a.m. meeting point at Lucien-L’Allier Metro to the Hall Building, police following and advising them to move with the flow of traffic.

Police direction was ignored. Once the protesters reached the corner of de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Bishop St., they ran to the Hall Building. They linked arms and wrapped chains around several doors to prevent anyone from moving in or out from about 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.

After 30 minutes, students inside the building attempted to force their way out. A window was smashed and protesters swarmed an open door, shoving coming from both sides.

Soon after, riot police arrived and the picket was broken. Protesters quickly gathered at the corner of de Maisonneuve Blvd. and McKay St., but the riot police formed a line and pushed them back using CS gas and batons.

“There are a number of reasons for the action, but an important one is the way the administration has been inflexible regarding the strike, especially with the examination schedule,” said one student demonstrator who spoke with The Link on condition of anonymity.

“We telling them, ‘you’re not the ones with all the power here.’”

Exams scheduled at 9:00 a.m. were moved to 9:30 a.m. without losing the three hour allotted time.

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Mouvement étudiant : des centaines de Rimouskois dans la rue

Le centre-ville de Rimouski a été envahi par plusieurs centaines de manifestants samedi après-midi à l'occasion d'une marche populaire pour soutenir le mouvement étudiant contre la hausse des droits de scolarité.

Le centre-ville de Rimouski a été envahi par plusieurs centaines de manifestants samedi après-midi à l'occasion d'une marche populaire pour soutenir le mouvement étudiant contre la hausse des droits de scolarité.

Après s'être rassemblés à la Place des Anciens combattants, les manifestants ont fait des haltes aux bureaux du ministère du Revenu, à l'hôtel de ville et à la Banque Royale avant de se rendre au parc Beauséjour.

La marche, intitulée « Pour un printemps québécois » a été ponctuée de plusieurs discours et de prestations artistiques. L'une des organisatrices de l'événement, Sarah Charland-Faucher, explique que les étudiants, les travailleurs et les familles se sont réunis autour d'un même message : « Nous ne voulons pas, en tant que société, être gérés comme une entreprise, donc c'est ça le message qu'on lance. Cela fait 9 ans aujourd'hui que les libéraux sont au pouvoir. C'est pour ça que nous sommes réunis : pour inciter les gens à appuyer les étudiants parce que l'éducation, c'est la cause de tous les Québécois. »

Une manifestation semblable, organisée par la Coalition large de l'Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, a eu lieu simultanément à Montréal.

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Banner read "High schools are angry - Popular Movement" with the name of the group.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Wow - amazing photos!


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Over 165,000 Students On Strike in Quebec Over Planned Tuition Hikes

video and transcript


Early this morning protesters made sure no classes would be held in two Cegeps who announced they would force people back to class.

Pas de cours aujourd'hui aux cégeps de Valleyfield et Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu

Les cours sont suspendus, lundi, au cégep de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu et au Collège de Valleyfield, deux établissements où la direction a annoncé son intention de recommencer des cours malgré des grèves étudiantes.

Au cégep de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, la direction a annoncé sa décision lundi matin, après avoir constaté que des dizaines d'étudiants bloquaient toutes les entrées de l'immeuble. Des autobus transportant des grévistes d'autres villes étaient aussi attendus....

Freedom 55

[url= Students Defy Injunction, Barricade Campus[/url]


The Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) suspended classes on Monday, April 16, as students defied a court injunction and blocked access to the Alexandre-Taché campus building.

Following the announcement, the university administration asked everybody to leave and return the furniture but students say they will continue to occupy the campus until the administration agrees in writing to suspend classes until the next general assembly on Friday and guarantee students will not be reprimanded for their actions.

Negotiations between the administration, police, professors, and students ended around 1pm with police threatening to storm the building to dismantle the occupation if students remained.

An emergency general assembly on the inside decided to remain, while professors and students on the outside came together to block police access to the main entrance.


image too large: [url= at UQO[/url]


Profs and students form human chain around occupied UQO building.


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CBC on Quebec student strike: Deploying government discourse?

CBC news reports are now using inaccurate language to describe the ongoing Québec-wide student strike.

Journalists on the CBC are regularly repeating, without question, the terminology of government officials, tilting reports to justify the planned $1,625 hike in post-secondary tuition fees over the next five years.

CBC's willingness to adopt malicious Québec government discourse, attempting to define the strike as a “boycott”, is deeply disappointing, illustrating a broader CBC shift toward the right.

Student strike or student boycott?

In a report, broadcast nationally on CBC Newsworld, journalist Alison Northcott reported from the vibrant and mass student protest in Montreal’s Plateau district over the weekend.

As tens-of-thousands of students and community members filled block after block on St Denis street, CBC's Northcott reported that “many” students have “been boycotting their classes for nearly two months.”

Utilizing the term “boycott” to describe the collective action of striking students, is both dishonest and distracts from the reality of the student strike as a grève politique. Namely, a mass political action, democratically decided upon in open votes or general assemblies within Québec student unions and associations.

Why is the CBC adopting inaccurate language to describe the ongoing student strike?

Why are CBC reporters adopting the language of politicians in Québec City, terming the mass student strike a boycott, a linguistic move that demeans and undermines the strike movement.

Student strike and social justice

CBC reports are also failing to highlight the wider implications of the weekend protest in Montreal, an action that called Pour un Printemps québécois ! and involved the active support and participation of many Québec unions, such as the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), and community groups like Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU).

Québec's student strike is not occurring in isolation from other social justice struggles, the mutual solidarity and links between grassroots campaigns, was clearly expressed on the streets of Montreal at last Saturday's rally.

This fact was completely ignored by the CBC's reporting on the march....


Wouldn't a news report exploring the complexity of the broader social movements, including artists, community groups, and unions, who are actively involved in supporting the strike, be more engaging?

Certainly the mass weekend protest, which stretched across the Plateau, clearly expressed the demands of striking students to halt tuition fees hikes, quite literally the demonstration was a sea of red square, but it also addressed broader social justice campaigns.

Placard signs with the words « Rêve général illimité ! » written on them, illustrate the many wider dreams for the current strike movement, and have been common in the student protests over recent months.

Student protests are also highlighting the campaign to cancel a recently imposed $200-per-year healthcare flat tax, or 'user fee', for all in Québec. This grassroots push back by anti-poverty organizations, and workers unions is strongly supported by striking student unions.

The Coalition opposée à la tarification et à la privatisation des services publics is campaigning on this issue, shedding light on how the Québec healthcare user fee is a clear drift toward the privatization of public health care. This campaign is supported by the Coalition large de l'Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSÉ).

A critically important campaign at a time when the Conservative government in Ottawa has moved towards a hands-off approach on healthcare transfer fees, opening the door for provincial governments to experiment with, and drift toward increased privatization in the healthcare system. At the same time as Conservatives signal that the Canada Health Act will not be strictly enforced.

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Red flag on Pont Jacques-Cartier bridge in Montreal April 6, 2012.

Red flag on Pont Jacques-Cartier bridge in Montreal April 6, 2012.


[url=]Québec students: Eat your broccoli![/url]


I had to pay the flat tax last year. I made less than $15,000 (thanks to the Harper cuts to all my clients in the arts and international cooperation).



What a great cover for the Liberals as their well connected friends face fraud charges

"Police also arrest 13 others for alleged kickbacks"


Freedom 55

Minister of Education Line Beauchamp has given the three main student organizations until the end of today to publicly condemn acts of "violence" and "vandalism". On that basis, she will decide who she will be kind enough to sit down and negotiate with.

Beauchamp, of course, has ignored invitations to condemn the numerous instances of police violence since the start of the strike. And she is also well aware that CLASSE (the organization she hates the most and which represents the largest percentage of strikers) has said it has no mandate to make such a public declaration and can't get one before its weekend meeting.

This fascistic divide and rule tactic was likely learned from the Israeli Zionists' method of avoiding negotiations with the Palestinians - putting forward preconditions which they either know can't be met, or if they are, will undermine the credibility and bargaining power of the other side.

Unfortunately I'm making no predictions about what will happen, but it's clear that a critical point is fast approaching. All I have is the hope and confidence that the students will maintain the kind of solidarity they have shown to date.



[url= demonstrators, mostly CEGEP students, arrested in Sherbrooke for picketing government offices[/url]


Bravo! Big tactical victory:

[url= de Montréal retreats from providing classes - Tensions high as students resist hardline tactics to try to force them back to class[/url]

Attempts to have any kind of normalcy on the campus of the Université de Montréal in the wake of an ongoing student strike completely unravelled on Wednesday after the administration had to retreat on its efforts to provide classes in striking departments for students who don’t support the boycott.

Tensions were high not just at U de M, but on many campuses, where there were clashes as students resisted hardline tactics to try to force them back to class during the tenth week of their protest over tuition increases of $1,625 over five years.

Injunctions taken by university administrations backfired as students found increasingly violent and disruptive ways to ensure campus activities could not resume, such as broken windows, vandalized art work and fire alarms going off during exams at U de M. [...]

U de M made a decision to temporarily end all classes in departments that have strike votes, a decision that Stéfanie Tougas, secretary general of U de M’s student association, called “good and responsible.”

[...] Tougas said the administration’s decision gives students what they want: recognition of their strike votes.

“This will definitely calm down tensions on campus,” she said.


Freedom 55

[url=]inspiring video from Wednesday at UQO[/url]

Freedom 55
Freedom 55


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I still cannot get over the uniforms of the SQ riot police. Are we living on an Alfonso Cuarón film set?


Recall Minister of Propaganda and Repression Line Beauchamp had given all three student organizations until the end of Wednesday to declare their opposition to "violence and vandalism". CLASSE said it couldn't do so before putting the issue to its assembly this Saturday. Beauchamp therefore condemned them to the wasteland and has been furiously working to get a meeting going with the FECQ (CÉGEP students) and FEUQ (university students) tomorrow. Divide and rule.

And this just in:

[url= refuses to meet Beauchamp without CLASSE[/url]

Never without CLASSE, replied FEUQ.

And then this:

After having said that it accepted Mme Beauchamp's invitation, the FECQ has reevaluated its position. It will no participate in the meeting because of FEUQ's decision.


The students united will never be defeated!!


It is absurd, given the rather extreme police violence against peaceful protestors - the young man who lost an eye was playing the harmonica at the time; that was on camera.

There is only one action - done by Gord knows whom - that could be considered potentially violent - bags of bricks on metro rails. It would be a very odd thing for anyone in a progressive student movement to do - usually it is rightwing groups that attack public transport, from fascists in Italy to Al Qaida in London and Madrid. All the other stuff was just the usual "redecorating" - some of it actually very creative and pretty - one usually finds in such conflicts, some sit-ins and occupations, etc.

In my very humble opinion, it would not be a bad move for the student associations - all together - to speak out against such sabotage that could endanger ordinary commuters, but to emphasize the fact that not only have  Beauchamp and Charest failed to condemn the extreme police response and the serious wounding of students, arrests of reporters and professors etc, Charest has actually said (I don't have the exact quote, unfortunately) something to the effect that if one takes part in a protest, it is at the participant's peril. Very authoritarian indeed.

I'm wondering how the student movement will be approaching the upcoming Earth Day demo.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..this article uses the word boycott instead of strike. there seems to be a serious attempt to contain this action now. they've brought out the riot squad. the other day i was wondering about what they (the gov, the police, military/security) must be thinking. it's is slowly being revealed. and then i thought of europe.

Student Strike Closes Montreal Court

MONTREAL (CN) - Montreal Superior Court was closed Wednesday afternoon due to a 2-month long student strikeagainst Quebec's plan to increase tuition fees. Court doors were locked when security officials decided to block a crowd of student protestors from entering the building.Tens of thousands of Quebec students, clad in red as a sign of debt, have dropped out of their school year, staging protests throughout Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec to challenge the government's plans to raise university tuition fees by $325 a year for 5 years.


In recent weeks Quebec courts have issued three rulings on temporary injunctions for three post-secondary institutions, forcing students to end picket lines and allowing classes to resume.

20-year old Université de Montréal political science major Stephane Viau called the tuition increase "class war."

Viau compared the lack of education funding with the tens of millions of dollars spent on the construction and mining industries in Quebec.

Paul Gareau, a court runner with a son attending Concordia University, said he pays taxes to fund education, and thinks students should fight for their rights.

"The people in power are making all the decisions, when it should be the civilians, especially when it comes to education," Gareau said.

With no end to the protests in sight, the Quebec government has not backed down and the student movement is equally unrelenting, with daily protests being organized by student groups.


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Riot Police Kettle UQO Students, Make Dozens of Arrests

Gatineau riot police kettled over 200 students, professors, supporters, and journalists on Lac des Fées parkway on Wednesday, April 18.

The demonstration was en route to the Université du Québec en Outaouais’s (UQO) Lucien-Brault campus as students defied a court injunction for a third day ordering them back to class and criminalizing protests within 25 metres of both UQO’s Gatineau campuses.

On Monday, students barricaded themselves inside the Alexandre-Taché campus and forced the university administration to suspend classes. One student was injured by police and sent to hospital after the university rector ordered food not be delivered to students barricaded inside.

On Tuesday, protests and road blockades were held at the Taché campus, with police entering the campus building and riot police deployed. Video footage revealed a professor being arrested and taken outside of the building, the same man who spoke at a press conference on Monday and condemned the police as well as the Quebec government for using the judicial system as a weapon to end the strike.....


Within a few minutes, the students were kettled, boxed in by police on all sides, and told that they could not leave. Meanwhile,supporters gathered outside police lines on the road and on the campus. After an hour or so, police announced that they would let people leave one by one where they would then show identification and be given a $300+ fine for blocking the road. Those who refused to present identification would be arrested for obstruction.

Police later threatened demonstrators outside the kettle that they would raise the fine for those inside to $500. Radio-Canada reported fines were being issued for $444 and that over 100 arrests had been made by 2:15pm.

Students remained peaceful throughout the day although infuriated that the judicial system and the police are being used to stifle their freedom of assembly and expression.



Lagatta, I agree with you about provocations, etc. But what violence?? Even the bricks on the Métro tracks were carefully preceded by synchronized pulling of the emergency stops at several stations. I repeat: What violence??? It's a diversion, pure sabotage by Charest and Beauchamp. And of course, there's no definition of "violence" or "vandalism", so the student organizations are being asked to denounce everything from artistic murals to "hard picketing" (as the students call it, by contrast with "soft picketing"), and who knows what else. The government is isolated and is running around like cornered rats, trying anything to divert attention from the main game.

The students have responded well, by calling on Beauchamp to condemn police brutality (only the police and security guards have actually committed violence!). And CLASSE has said, "Don't tell us what declarations to make - we are answerable to our members. We'll let you know!"

Meanwhile, another day on the front lines. This is downtown Montréal:

[url= strike: Several police interventions[/url]

Another demo was declared illegal here today. Many other demos around Québec. Students at U de M did a silent artistic demo, physically recreating Rodin's sculpture "The Thinker", in order to promote the education of "free thinkers".

Too many other events to report. Read the article! More to come.



You are right - it was not violence as such. But it would have been a very unwise move by the students, who have been making use of such creative and inspiring tactics.  I am so relieved that the FECQ is standing with the other two groups now. Charest and Beauchamp have a lot to answer for.

As for "boycott", it is a deliberate weasel-word used by right-wingers - the same who natter on about student "entitlement". Lysiane Gagnon, Alain Dubuc, that sort of person (oddly, both were lefties in their youth). Strike is a legitimate word for collective actions not involving wage-labour - think rent strike, hunger strike etc.

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The Student Movement: Radical Priorities

The student movement in Quebec is an incredibly important development, with implications that reach well beyond provincial borders. The movement emerged in response to a 75 per cent increase in tuition fees to be implemented over the next five years, but it has quickly evolved into something far more significant. “People are starting to realize that the real problem behind the rising tuition fees and the commodification of education is something related to a socioeconomic system that is behind it all,” said Frank Lévesque-Nicol, a spokesperson for a protest that was held on February 2, 2012. The student movement has rekindled the political imagination to a degree not seen since the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. This is the most troubling and dynamic period in recent Quebec history, and the possibility that this energy will foster fundamental social change is very real.


Broadening the Struggle

The speed with which the student movement broadened to a general social struggle is significant and worthy of replication elsewhere. Austerity budgets have been introduced in provinces and cities across Canada and the world, and the level of political organizing in opposition to these measures is promising. It is important to recognize that most of these initiatives are led by students and youth. As Noam Chomsky wrote in defence of the students in 1968, “the student movement today is the one organized, significant segment of the intellectual community that has a real and active commitment to the kind of social change that our society desperately needs.” The achievements of students and youth in the 1960s were significant, and they are certainly replicable, but the conditions and struggles being waged are radically different today.

The student movement began gaining visible momentum in January 2012, as college and university student unions across the province started to adopt unlimited general strike mandates during their general assemblies. These assemblies affirmed the merits of syndicalist organizing, as the strength and effectiveness of the movement in Quebec rests upon highly localized student associations meeting regularly in their communities to adopt collective decisions. Implementing the strike was most effective where students organized within their own departments, rather than through larger centralized unions. The smaller departmental associations then send delegates to weekly congress meetings organized by La Coalition large de l'ASSÉ (CLASSE), which must wait for local assemblies to adopt positions before moving forward. The model is proving very effective. This same approach should be emulated elsewhere – in university departmental groups and associations along with public and private sector workplaces, for example.

Students received a boost of support when two of the largest public sector unions publicly endorsed the student strike, calling on their membership to join the national protest in Montreal on March 22. The protest drew roughly 200,000 people and may have been one of the largest marches in Canadian history. It was around this time that the movement clearly became a general social struggle. Streetlamps, windows, storefronts and balconies are draped with red felt squares that have symbolized the Quebec student movement since 2004, and dozens of people don the square on their lapels in a show of solidarity with the movement. Students organized solidarity actions with locked out Rio Tinto Alcan workers and with hundreds of Aveos employees who recently lost their jobs, and actions were also organized in opposition to the Liberal government's controversial Plan Nord, which seeks to exploit natural resources on indigenous lands.

A major action is planned for Earth Day on April 22 that will be organized along internationalist lines in solidarity with environmental struggles across the world. Several internationalist solidarity actions have taken place in France, England, South Korea and elsewhere. The actions are simply too numerous to list. Queer and feminist groups have also had a visible and articulate presence within the movement, and autonomous actions and mass events have become a daily occurrence.


This is incredible:

[url= arrests at Cégep Limoilou[/url]

A philosophy teacher decided to show her support for the strike by giving her lecture outdoors. Some 400 students showed up at lunch hour to attend. The school administration stopped the teacher from giving her class. This resulted in a spontaneous demonstration, spilling into nearby streets. Police were called, brutally arrested 49 students, and gave them all tickets of up to $494. This has become the norm for cops declaring demos "illegal" and dispensing on-the-spot physicial and financial "justice".

Meanwhile, university and college professors have held another press conference condemning the "judicialization" of the strike and the establishment of a police-state atmosphere in and around educational institutions.

ETA: OH, forgot the best part. Students at Limoilou are not on strike, having voted against in their general assembly. But in these times, any young person outside a school is the enemy. Some of those arrested were for the fee increase and against the strike!

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Oppression is not merely taking the form of rhetoric. The Occupy and student movements were treated naively when they began, but youth are now pepper sprayed and beaten on a near-daily basis in Montreal and elsewhere. Police have begun to deploy riot squads immediately to dismantle actions, whereas some effort was made at conciliation in the past. “Our job, as police officers, is repression,” said the President of the Police Fraternity of Quebec, Yves Francoeur. “We do not need a social worker as a director, we need a general. After all, the police is a paramilitary organization, let's not forget it.” It is wretched to say this, but the point has been reached where creative thinking is needed to figure out how to organize effectively in the face of increasing physical oppression.


Freedom 55

Unionist wrote:

Lagatta, I agree with you about provocations, etc. But what violence?? Even the bricks on the Métro tracks were carefully preceded by synchronized pulling of the emergency stops at several stations. I repeat: What violence???


Yes, reasonable people can disagree on the appropriateness of that tactic, but it really shouldn't be compared to bombing trains and buses. The Tyendinaga railway blockades of 2006 and 2007 are a more apt comparison. Disruptive? Yes. But not violent.

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CAUT supports Quebec students’ protests to maintain accessibility

The Canadian Association of University Teachers joins with our colleagues in the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU) in expressing support for Quebec students currently opposing higher tuition fees announced by the Charest government. We also deplore the excessive force that has too often been used against student demonstrators.

Quebec universities require more funding, but shifting the burden to students and their families is counterproductive. CAUT’s policy is that tuition charged to students must be kept as low as possible with the goal of moving toward a zero tuition policy. The reasons are many.

A high tuition policy makes post-secondary education less accessible to students with modest means. Access to post-secondary education should be decided by ability and interest, not family wealth or willingness to undertaken substantial debt. On average, university and college graduates more than pay the cost of their education due to the higher income they earn and the resulting higher taxes they pay.

Perhaps most importantly, as has been recognized for elementary and secondary education, the benefits of post-secondary education are societal as much as personal. As a society we all benefit by having doctors, engineers, librarians, nurses, and other educated professionals and personnel. Our costs for health, social services, and social assistance are reduced as our population is better educated. The cultural benefits are enormous.

Quebec students know this and are speaking out.  We support them. But we also support the demand of many in the post-secondary sector in Quebec for more adequate public funding for universities and colleges. This is a difficult economic time that tests a society’s true values. Regrettably, too many recent federal and provincial governments have valued lower taxes for corporations and the wealthy at the expense of education, health care and social welfare.

Canada is a rich country.  Quebec’s students are reminding all of us of what our priorities should be.


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Today, multiple contingents of demonstrators defied the injunction again, blocking roads, protesting outside of buildings, and seeking to outflank police lines upon the deployment of kettles. In mid-afternoon, police began making mass arrests, filling two buses with protesters, including at least one professor, destined for a detention facility. Many others were ticketed on site and released.

Buses tomorrow morning are expected to transport dozens of supporters from Montreal to Gatineau, where resistance to judicial and police intervention in the strike will continue.

Student associations are facing similar battles elsewhere in Quebec. A critical site will the Université de Sherbrooke, where a judge today ordered all students back to class tomorrow morning and banned protests within 25 meters of campus for the next ten days. A protest is planned for tonight at 8pm outside the Sherbrooke courthouse. Another judge rendered a less heavy-handed decision on a request for a similar injunction at Cégep de Saint-Laurent, upholding today the agreement between the administration and students suspending all classes, with the exception of those in which the petitioner is registered, which are mandated to restart.

The Association des juristes progressistes has joined all national student organizations in denouncing the government’s growing recourse to the courts to repress student protest and strike activity.




Downtown Montréal is the scene of massive confrontations between police riot squads (city police, now apparently bolstered by provincial cops) and thousands of student demonstrators. The protestors massed at the Palais des Congrès (Convention Centre), where Premier Jean Charest was addressing some kind of fair to promote his Plan Nord. There were rocks, bottles, some broken windows, lots of tear gas and stun grenades, physical fights, injuries, about 16 arrests known so far, and in the past hour the cops have declared the demonstration "illegal" several times - it doesn't work. Charest can't get out of the Palais, nor has anyone else been allowed in or out for the past couple hours.

I've also heard that the demo is splitting up, some going to Complexe Desjardins (a major nearby office and shopping complex - I think it still houses the U.S. consultate?), others to Parthenais (police HQ).

Here's the ongoing live coverage from the Gazette:



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