Sunday, May 20, 2012
Jean Charest and the Great Distraction
When I see pictures like this one of my beloved Montréal on a warm Saturday night.
On sedate St-Denis street of all places.
And I read what kind of peace the Quebec government's totalitarian Bill 78 has brought.
The adoption of emergency legislation to end Quebec's escalating student crisis stoked fiery debate across the province overnight, from highly charged street protests that lasted into the wee hours to harsh editorials and some calls for civil disobedience.
When I read how police pepper sprayed the peaceful patrons of a bar. On a patio of all places.
Or watch the video...
Or the live feed of the nightly demos on CUTV.
I can't believe this is happening. In Quebec of all places.
And all I can say is you gotta give Jean Charest credit...a solid D-minus or an epic FAIL... for making a tense situation worse.
They don't call him Curly for nothing eh?
Or the Moe Moe de la Matraque.
But then he is almost entirely to blame for what is happening. He refused to negotiate with the students even as they staged massive peaceful protests for months. He has turned down every invitation to meet with their leaders.
Instead he tried to divide them. He provoked them, he betrayed them. Now he's using their anger as a Great Distraction, to try to make Quebecers forget the record of his corrupt government. And just as a commission is about to begin hearings into corruption in the construction industry.
Which will almost certainly make the word Liberal synonymous with criminal. If it isn't already.
But now he has overplayed his hand. Now it's more than just a struggle over tuition rates or the priorities of a civilized society. Now it's about standing up for civil liberties. And the revolt is spreading.
From this red square on a Montreal firefighter...
To the red squares worn last night by my favourite group Arcade Fire.
In New York, members of the Montreal-based rock band "Arcade Fire" wore the movement's iconic red squares during an appearance with The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger on Saturday Night Live.Jagger wore a red shirt, but no red square.
A day earlier, players in Quebec's film industry were sporting them at the Cannes Film Festival.
Yup. Jean Charest tried to fool Quebecers with his Great Distraction. But it will not work.
And for the sake of all Quebecers, before this situation spirals out of control.
Let's hope it really is the last time...
The struggle continues.
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