Student Strike - a turning point? #12

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Student Strike - a turning point? #12


Issues Pages: 

[url= challenge to Bill 78 delayed to Friday[/url]


The case was scheduled to proceed today but a spokeswoman for one of the student federations contesting the law says logistical reasons forced the delay.

Lawyers representing the student federations and other groups will be in Quebec Superior Court seeking to have certain parts of Bill 78 suspended.

It's one of two legal motions filed last week against the emergency law adopted earlier this month to crack down on recent student protests.

The first motion seeks to suspend sections of the law that involve public protest.

The second motion is to have Bill 78 declared invalid altogether and it will be heard at a later date.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Reading Lolita in Montreal: Canada Doesn’t Want More Journalists

By Bhaskar Sunkara

There weren’t any bright lights or stress positions, but it was definitely an interrogation. Crossing over to Canada yesterday, I had the unusual experience of being detained for a few hours.

It started off innocently enough. I filed off a Montreal-bound Greyhound bus at the border with a few dozen others to go through customs. As usual, I was paid extra addition. Security officials may notice me, because I look suspiciously Muslim, but it’s a small price to pay for having enough melanin to pull-off a salmon-colored blazer.

Reasonably, a border official asked me why I was visiting Canada. Mostly sightseeing, I said. Did I know anyone in the city? Sure, I had a few friends who went to McGill. That struck the agent as bizarre. How could someone from New York know people in Quebec? Did I use the internet? Umm, what? Was I carrying more than $10,000 in cash? I wish. Does that mean I should search your things for that money? Next time, I’ll save my charm for a more receptive audience.....

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Tonight's 'casseroles' march takes place in 35+ cities so it's possible there will be infiltration from those who do not support the movement, and will try any manner of disruption.


i've thought about the post yesterday with reports from an Edmonton paper and Sun;

If people are at demos or events and violence occurs, perpetrated by police, provocateurs, or others, perpetrators ought to be reported and arrested, and peaceful interventions used for calm.  Occupy in Toronto practiced a good system when difficult situations arose.  Unionists and young people in Montebello helped talk to some disturbers, who turned out to be police. Indiscriminate kettling is illegal.

If people are at demos or events and some praise Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Western governments complicit with mass murderers, or current politicians or wealthy creditors responsible for abuses of people or planet, hopefully others present will speak to offer alternate perspectives.[edited to add]: It is not necessary and illegal, though, to prevent people from peacefully participating in events.

Reporting ought to represent a balance; if 99% of participants are peaceful, with particular goals, reports ought to reflect, rather than ignore, the peaceful behaviour and hopes of most, without ignoring behaviour of the 1%.

[edited to add];

All people have a moral and ethical duty to act when a law, or portions of a law, are introduced which contravenes our right to peaceful assembly, as well as our right to freedom of speech.  Police too have a moral and ethical duty to oppose a law which contravenes our rights.  'Logistical' reasons may postpone hearing of full arguments by lawyers; Does that annul our moral and ethical behaviour in the interim?



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Student leaders denounce arrests in Québec City (La Presse)

The student leaders unanimously denounce the massive arrests made Monday by the Québec police opposite the very building where negotiations are taking place.

“These arrests are arbitrary, almost random,” objected Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of CLASSE. “The Québec police are starting to develop the very bad habit of carrying out mass arrests during peaceful protests.”

The president of FEUQ, Martine Desjardins, who wondered Monday on her twitter feed whether it was a question of “political arrests”, finds it strange that they took place so close to the building where talks are taking place.

“You have to wonder why they waited here when the protest had been declared illegal since the beginning,” remarked Mme Desjardin, “Was it planned? Was it a gesture to put pressure on negotiations? It’s appalling.”....

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Heh. I suspect they had the negotiations there in order to lure folks nearby to get arrested. It's all a plot.

love is free love is free's picture

david suzuki:

The protesters are forcing us to confront a crucial question: What is government for? Governing is about priorities. Students can’t help but notice they aren’t high on the list.


thanks for the background and updates.


Pots are being banged all over - Hamilton, Winnipeg, Ottawa - and others will join I'm sure! Let it ring out!

Meanwhile, a cop was all smiles at 8:42 at Parc Émilie-Gamelin, because he had received notice of itinerary for the first time in 37 consecutive demonstrations...

But, moments later, the demonstrators took a different route!

Wipe that smile off your face, officer, sir, please!!

[url= coverage.[/url]

And live coverage:

Meanwhile, I fear that negotiations may not be going well. The government yesterday offered to reduce the seven annual increases of $254 to $219 - and then to make up for the "lost revenue" by decreasing the tuition fee tax credit. What is it that they don't understand? Is it still divide and rule, hoping that one or another leader will cave? They're forgetting the "followers", who call all the shots.

Headed for impasse. Hope I'm wrong.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

OH, SORRY, I forgot Toronto. Thanks for the photo, Jimbo!!


Brilliant! Thanks, CF. Does this mean we like the Globbin' Male now??



Our own Krystalline Kraus reports that over 1,500 are marching in Toronto! How come they didn't provide us with their itinerary in advance?



There were several in Toronto.  The one at Dufferin Grove Park was in the west end, and radiorahim and I went to one in Leslieville in the east end, at Queen and Jones.  We had a great time, and not a cop anywhere to be seen - we figured they were probably all at Dufferin Grove!

Oh, and another fun thing - while we were on the sidewalk and the park banging our pots and pans, we saw a woman in a window in the building across the street banging on a pot in her kitchen window for a good half hour with us.  Her kids were looking out the next window at the show. :)


[url=]Yay, Vancouver![/url]



Michelle wrote:

There were several in Toronto.  The one at Dufferin Grove Park was in the west end, and radiorahim and I went to one in Leslieville in the east end, at Queen and Jones.  We had a great time, and not a cop anywhere to be seen - we figured they were probably all at Dufferin Grove!

Oh, and another fun thing - while we were on the sidewalk and the park banging our pots and pans, we saw a woman in a window in the building across the street banging on a pot in her kitchen window for a good half hour with us.  Her kids were looking out the next window at the show. :)


I tried walloping a pot and ladle on my balcony in TO and brought my neighbour and his wife immediately onto theirs to ask me 'What's wrong!?'. I explained but they still had that  'crazy neighbour nextdoor' look. Next time I'll probably try a gathering..


Haha!  I was thinking of doing the same thing - going out on my front porch at 8 p.m. and banging a pot at home.  But I figured that would happen too - our neighbours would either think we've lost it, or call the cops on us for disturbing the peace!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Unionist wrote:
[url=]Yay, Vancouver![/url]

As I said in this thread, I just got back from the Vancouver march. I'm bad with numbers, but I reckon 500 pot-bangers in the pouring rain. Super!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

On my facebook home page folks have posted links to les casseroles right across the country. Smile


ps: nothing here, though. I've got tendonitis in my left shoulder and just had a cortisone shot, and I'm numb.Frown 


Anonymous Quebec (and vid)

"Expect Us"


It's good to hear support, however though an article by Jacobins was put up, no one yet has critiqued use of a guillotine...what's the problem here?  You can't rely on me or any one person.

Of course praising names of groups who had bad behaviour needs critique while its no reason to limit their rights to assemble..

and love may be free however time is money.

which reminds me;

Harper's and McGuinty's cuts to public services and jobs leave burdens on mostly women to pick up the slack in childcare, healthcare, eldercare, clean up, cooking with pots and pans, etc.

Harper's cuts to the long-form census removed the questions which women had worked very hard to include-  questions recognizing the time put into unpaid domestic work, following Marilyn Waring's book ("If Women Counted") and others. A female social work prof at Ryerson and other groups are still working to have women's unpaid work appreciated.  If there is qualitative inclusion and assessment then laws and practices can support women rather than make burdens heavier.

we did a bit of music here last night with pots, pans, and other kitchen tools.  it was good.

and we talked about unnecessary austerity, cuts to environmental laws (summed tidily by K. nerenberg at rabble yesterday).

Money can be created by the federal government without inflation for lower tier governments, public services, and job guarantees. (, also see NFU 2011 resolution to advocate the federal gov't 'create this country's entire money supply debt- and interest-free').  fiscal and monetary tools can be used together.

some useful ideas e.g. to help prevent climate change and inflation are at , and adding federal money creation and multi-level laws to support green public energy would also help. 'Dutch disease' seems like an unhelpful way to characterize tarsands when many people don't know what it means, though it initiates talk about economy/ecology and alternates.



maybe i'll morph into a women's strike here  against the failure of babblers to do necessary critique/clean up, and federal/provincial cuts to public services and jobs


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

CSU Donates
Surplus Money To Go To Juripop, CUTV

In a special council meeting held on May 30 the Concordia Student Union voted unanimously to donate a total of $16,000 of their projected surplus from this year’s executive to legal clinic Juripop and campus media outlet Concordia University Television.


NDPP wrote:

Michelle wrote:

There were several in Toronto.  The one at Dufferin Grove Park was in the west end, and radiorahim and I went to one in Leslieville in the east end, at Queen and Jones.  We had a great time, and not a cop anywhere to be seen - we figured they were probably all at Dufferin Grove!

Oh, and another fun thing - while we were on the sidewalk and the park banging our pots and pans, we saw a woman in a window in the building across the street banging on a pot in her kitchen window for a good half hour with us.  Her kids were looking out the next window at the show. :)


I tried walloping a pot and ladle on my balcony in TO and brought my neighbour and his wife immediately onto theirs to ask me 'What's wrong!?'. I explained but they still had that  'crazy neighbour nextdoor' look. Next time I'll probably try a gathering..


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Med school maxes tuition hike

An 8% increase in first-year tuition at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine isn't expected to deter people from applying, says the school's founding dean.

The board of directors of Canada's newest medical school voted this month to raise tuition for first-year students to $19,275. Tuition for the second, third and fourth years at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine will increase 4%, to $18,516, Roger Strasser said.

That still makes a medical education in Northern Ontario a relative bargain. Ontario's other five medical schools haven't all set their tuition increases yet, said Strasser, but he expects the school's to come in at the middle of the pack or lower.

Last year, first-year medical school tuition at the University of Toronto cost almost $19,000.

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The violence of the casseroles (La Presse)

When you throw stones, it reassures them, they say, look, we have to pass special laws.

But when you play the pots and pans, they are afraid.

There’s this friend and colleague from Rosemont, not particularly against the tuition increase, who went out and joined 2000 people on the corner of his street with his 4 year-old little girl and his two-and-a-half year-old son, bang, bang the casserole (saucepan). There’s this girl on the front page of Le Devoir Friday morning, the one with the frying pan in her hand, wait, but I know her! Hi Christine! Me who knows no one, if I start to recognize people on the front page of Devoir, it’s because everyone is in the street or will be there soon.

I called one of my two granddaughters, grand-papa, I don’t have time to talk, we’re going out to play our casseroles on the corner of the street.

Wait for me, I’m coming.

Maisonneuve, brave Mr. Maisonneuve, was worried midday Friday: yes, but if all these protests are going to disturb the festivals, our dear festivals?....

love is free love is free's picture

from the most recent harper's magazine.  not specifically on the quebec actions, but written with them very much in mind:

Massive indebtedness changes a person, maybe even more than a college education does, and it’s reasonable to suspect that the politicos, who have allowed the tuition disaster to take its course, know this. To saddle young people with enormous, inescapable debt— total student debt is now more than one trillion dollars—is ultimately to transform them into profit-maximizing machines. I mean, working as a schoolteacher or an editorial assistant at a publishing house isn’t going to help you chip away at that forty grand you owe. You can’t get out of it by bankruptcy, either. And our political leaders, lost in a fantasy of punitive individualism, certainly won’t propose the bailout measures they could take to rescue the young from the crushing burden. What will happen to the young debtors instead is that they will become Homo economicus, whether or not they studied that noble creature.

David Graeber, the anthropologist who wrote the soon-to-beclassic Debt: The First 5,000 Years likens the process to a horror movie in which the zombies or the vampires attack the humans as a kind of recruitment policy. “They turn you into one of them,” as Graeber told me. Actually, they do worse than that. Graeber relates the story of a woman he met who got a Ph.D. from Columbia University, but whose $80,000 debt load put an academic career off-limits, since adjuncts earn close to nothing. Instead, the woman wound up working as an escort for Wall Street types. “Here’s someone who ought to be a professor,” Graeber explains, “doing sexual services for the guys who lent her the money.” The story hit home for me because I, too, wanted to be a professor, once. I remember the waves of enlightenment that washed over me in my first few years in college, the ecstasy of finally beginning to understand what moved human affairs this way or that, the exciting sense of a generation arriving at a shared sensibility. Oh, I might have gone on doing that kind of work forever, whether or not it made me rich, if journalism had not intervened. It’s hard to find that kind of ecstasy among the current crop of college graduates. The sensibility shared by their generation seems to revolve around student debt, which has been clamped onto them like some sort of interest-bearing iron maiden. They’ve been screwed— that’s what their moment of enlightenment has taught them. As for my own cohort, or at least the members of it who struggled through and made it to one of the coveted positions in the knowledge factory, the new generational feeling seems to be one of disgust. Our enthusiasm for learning which we trumpeted to the world merely led the nation’s children into debt bondage. Consider the remarks of Nicholas Mirzoeff, a professor of media at New York University, who sums up the diminishing returns of the profession on his blog: “I used to say that in academia one at least did very little harm. Now I feel like a pimp for loan sharks.”

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A solidarity message for the Quebec Students from Zimbabwe . People and the social movements in Zimbabwe are struggling hard for social and economic justice. In Solidarity


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Quebec government, students hit a wall in negotiations


Earlier on Wednesday, the government rejected a student counteroffer after its own proposal to reduce the annual tuition fee increase of $254 by $35 was turned down. The government offer also included changes to the tax credit offered to post-secondary-education students.

The government came back with a new proposal that shocked student negotiators and led to the gridlock at the bargaining table.

The students argued that their proposals were being ignored while the government was bent on taking the talks in another direction. That wasn’t the message they had anticipated heading into the third day of negotiations.

“There are certain things that we thought we had agreed on [Tuesday]. I don’t know what happened but the tone became harder on the government’s side,” said Mr. Nadeau-Dubois earlier Wednesday. “Things have changed.”....


Also from today's Globe:

Yes, flip through them.


The province has walked out of negotiations:

love is free love is free's picture



It's hard to believe they'd invest so much into a production that says absolutely nothing.  Luckily Spongebob runs on another channel at the same time.

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Just watched the Charest press conference on CBC. I think it's all about controlling the situation and not letting the students dictate the terms. Politics - playing to their base.

P&P has the student response coming up in a few minutes, probably the power panel will be up first (with Tom Flanagan - ugh!).

 Panelists are saying Charest's only option now is an election - but with polls as they are, the best Charest will likely manage is a minority government. And he could even lose.

Students waiting to respond - just minutes away.

Evan Solomon: could be a long hot summer of protests ahead if Charest calls an election (or not). The tourist season is another factor to consider.

CBC is playing the clip again - Charest looks pissed off and frustrated - ready to explode. Laughing

Students are up now!!!

CLASSE: "yes, the Grand Prix is coming up, but we are in crisis..."  "We will continue to mobilise and demonstrate peacefully"

"The government is trying to score political points, not to negotiate..."

Gerry Caplan:*  "I don't know why this is happening, I don't think anyone does"

Tom Flanagan and John Ibbitson of course take the extreme right view in support of Charest.

*I've been watching Gerry Caplan on this show for the past few weeks, and I'm shocked by his lack of support for the students. I'll have to look and see if he's more supportive in his Globe and Mail column.

Charest comes across as a politician whose time is up. He looks beat. And everyone knows he's in the pocket of the big companies and corporations - look how he sold out the north in Plan Nord. Unfortunately, we're probably in for more of the same if Pauline Marois beats him in an election. If Charest manages to eke out a minority, he'll probably be supported by the CAQ.

Meanwhile, les casseroles just announced they want another big night next Wednesday, June 6th - and are hoping for a bigger turnout than even last night, which was already by most accounts awesome enough. Smile

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The UN lectures Quebec on the Special law

The United Nations (UN) has snubbed the government of Quebec, exhorting it to respect the rights of students and demonstrators. It has also criticized the Special Law adopted by the Charest government, emphasizing that this legislation “unduly restricts the right of association and peaceful assembly in the province of Quebec”.

The UN stands by the report prepared by two independent experts who specified being in contact with the government, which had promised to clarify these issues. The special rapporteurs were particularly concerned by the “acts of serious violence” and by the massive arrests made during the night of May 24 when at least 700 demonstrators were arrested across the province of Quebec.....


The Charest government walked out of negotiations at 4 pm today, declaring an impasse and with no intention to return. For this, they were condemned by the representatives of all four student associations, as well as all three opposition parties in the National Assembly.

Details can be found [url= If nothing equally descriptive turns up in English soon, I'll maybe translate tomorrow. Meanwhile, our gang here needs some rest after louder pot-banging than usual!

Bonne nuit!



Here is a CBC article on the same topic.

The Quebec government has pulled out of talks with student leaders meant to end the province's months-long tuition crisis.

Premier Jean Charest said a "big gap" remains between the province and students on the issue, and he's "the first to be disappointed" at the lack of a deal.

Student leaders, however, say the government is image-obsessed and is refusing their cost-neutral proposals because it doesn't want to lose face over the issue.

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Westmount students rally in solidarity with Quebec protesters

Students of Westmount Secondary School held a rally at 12:40 p.m. Thursday to support Quebec strikers protesting higher tuition fees.

Student organizers Conner Patrick, Chloe Moss and Cohen Wylie, all in grade 12, gathered on the front lawn of Westmount Secondary School to show solidarity for the Quebec students protesting the rise in tuition.....

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Bad faith, thy name is Charest: Negotiations in Quebec come to a screeching halt


A massive protest has been called by the student groups for this Saturday, June 2, at 2PM. Set to start in Jeanne Mance park, the protest is billed as a family event, and people are encouraged to bring their children. Student reps hope to see a huge crowd in order to send a message to Charest that he must compromise.


I guess the high-school comedy "The Trotsky" is not a fantasy any more!

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Negotiations collapse in Quebec, protesters take to the streets

"For this reason, we are calling for a big demonstration this coming Saturday, June 2, at 2 pm at Parc Jeanne Mance. We want people to bring their pots and pans so we can be heard all the way to Quebec City."

- snip -

There seems little doubt that just as in Quebec, so too across Canada, we are in for a rising popular movement demanding not only quality education but a different vision for society than the destructive, dog-eat-dog model of the country's present rulers.


CLASSE makes public its 9-page report on the failed negotiations:


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


This is the #YoSoy132 Student Movement in Mexico.!


students' cost-neutral ideas were reasonable.


Charest was unreasonable:


Making education unaffordable is unreasonable.

Reducing access to education reduces human social and cultural rights, including right to public services.


Bill 78 is unreasonable.

Bill 78 takes away human rights and freedoms-  muzzling any dissent- even dissent which addresses government's stated problems.


re: festivals;  with all the energy of casseroles nights, you'd think it would add positively -numbers in the streets, spirit, to fair season..



i'm glad casseroles and other events are planned, including gatherings in Quebec re: fee freeze, across Canada re:  Black Mark Budget (at rabble today) to raise awareness about and stop Harper's austerity omnibus bill, and Ontario Health Coalition meetings to stop McGuinty's austerity.

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lagatta wrote:

I guess the high-school comedy "The Trotsky" is not a fantasy any more!

As someone who organized a Communist club at his high school, this movie has a special place in my heart.


"the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives demonstrates that with a contribution through the tax system of a mere $170 per household, tuition fees at Ontario universities could be eliminated. Under this model — which already exists for Quebec colleges — every Ontarian with the skills and talent to learn could get a university education without taking on insurmountable debt. Compared to the $500 that every Ontario household will contribute towards reducing corporate taxes by $2.4 billion, universal education seems like a bargain...I can only hope that Ontario students and their families will find inspiration in Quebec and join them in striking for a better future."

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Quebec's student protesters give UK activists a lesson

The extraordinary student mobilisation in Quebec has already sustained the longest and largest student strike in the history of North America, and it has already organised the single biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. It is now rapidly growing into one of the most powerful and inventive anti-austerity campaigns anywhere in the world.

Every situation is different, of course, and Quebec's students draw on a distinctive history of social and political struggle, one rooted in the 1960s quiet revolution. Support for the provincial government that opposes them, moreover, has been undermined in recent years by allegations of corruption and bribery. Nevertheless, those of us fighting against cuts and fees in other parts of the world have much to learn from the way the campaign has been organised. It's time that education activists in the UK, in particular, started to pay the Quebecois the highest compliment: when in doubt, imitate.....

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David Suzuki:  Protests shine spotlight on skewed priorities


As Canada's government axes programs and organizations that inform us about the environment and climate change, guts environmental protection measures, and shovels money to promote fossil fuel interests while wilfully ignoring urgent calls from scientists, students, First Nations, and tens of thousands of citizens, it's up to all of us to listen and join the conversation.


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