Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quebec and the Big Freedom Party

It's just after 8pm in Montreal, and the reporter from CUTV is talking to a young mother who is taking her two kids to the 28th nightly demonstration in a row.

Even though she knows she could be arrested, for defying the Charest government's totalitarian Bill 78, like so many were the night before. 

About 300 people were arrested and 20 were injured during overnight protests in Montreal in defiance of Quebec's contentious Bill 78, which cracks down on student-stoked demonstrations sparked by the province's proposed tuition hikes.

And the leader of the largest student group warned today that it could be a long, hot, and dangerous summer.

One of Quebec’s main student federations called upon its fellow citizens to disobey the provincial government’s emergency law, passed last week to stymie the daily and sometimes violent student protests.

The government should cancel the bill “before people get injured, before people die,” said spokesperson Gabriel Dubois-Nadeau.

But then this is now more than a protest about tuition fees, and that young mother is not alone. As the people on this website say.... arrest me somebody! arrêtez-moi quelqu'un!

And Je désobéis...


Because some things are worth getting arrested for, and the freedom to demonstrate in a democracy is one of them.

You know I hate to see Quebecers fighting themselves, and I have absolutely no time for the handful of hoodlums who would throw things at police or break windows.

But whatever the Con media says, this is an overwhelmingly peaceful movement. Tonight some of them were wearing rabbit ears, and carrying balloons...

And because the police stayed at a distance, there was no violence or mass arrests. Just another big freedom party in the streets of the city I love so much.

I have no idea where this awesome struggle is going, and sometimes I fear the worst.  Because it is polarizing opinion in the province like nothing I've seen before.

But I do know that this Quebec Spring is now too big and broad based  to be suppressed with night sticks and pepper spray. Jean Charest must do the right thing, scrap Bill 78, and negotiate with the student leaders. Instead of hoping that he can use the protests to win the next election.

And I also know that the people in the streets of Montreal, the students and the others, are marching for ALL of us in Harper's ghastly Canada. Where Peace, Order, and Good Government never sounded more like a fascist slogan, as the Cons dismantle our country.

Today it's their turn. Tomorrow it will be ours.

Which is why I love this message so much......

This afternoon there will a big march to mark the 100th day of the student protest.

Here's to the big freedom party.

Solidarité FOREVER...


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Anonymous said...

Keep up the excellent writing. From a "dyed-in-the-wool" Montrealer exiled in Hotel California.

e.a.f. said...

It is interesting that governments thought it was great when students started protesting in Arab countries but not so much in Canada.

Charest did himself a disservice by passing the anti demo legislation. it will bring more people into the protests. First the protests were about fees, now its about democracy & our right to protest & gather peacefully. Not looking good.

I might not have joined the protests about student fees but I would when its about the right to gather peacefully.

Simon said...

hi Ellen...thanks a lot, I'll do my best. I'm afraid I'm not very gifted, but I do find it easier to write about the things I LOVE .Like freedom, social justice, and Montreal... ;)

Simon said...

hi e.a.f...I supported the students from the beginning, but as you point out, now it's also about freedom and the right to protest peacefully and Jean Charest has brought all kinds of other people into the streets. He may not be our next Emperor yet, but he sure ain't no genius...