Wrongs and rights: how did Quebec’s student standoff come to this?

There is no shortage of finger-pointing on either side


Ryan Remiorz/CP Images

Reasoned debate is off the table. The student protesters and the Charest government are sharply at odds – in fact, they despise each other – but they’ve collaborated in one respect: each side has acted to ensure that rather than a robust public discussion about how to fund the province’s universities we get an ugly, protracted battle about the right to protest.

Why has the situation deteriorated so miserably? There is no shortage of finger-pointing on either side.

From the government’s perspective, too many protesters engaged in unacceptable tactics, including blocking non-protesting students from attending classes, vandalism, intimidation and violence. Some critics assert that the peaceful majority failed to condemn, in strong enough words, the hooliganism of those in their midst. Then, last week, classes on one campus were literally invaded, in defiance of court injunctions.

From the protesters’ perspective, the government has been obstinate, initially refusing to meet with student groups and then offering a fishy-looking compromise they quickly and roundly rejected. Peaceful, legitimate protests were often broken up by police. Then the government passed a law which, as I wrote here a few days ago, criminalizes peaceful protest in ways that are likely unconstitutional.

It is this latest decision by the Charest government that has guaranteed consecutive nights of tension, violence and arrests for the foreseeable future. By passing, in hurried and thoughtless fashion, a bill that casts its net so widely, that contains vague provisions and harsh penalties, and that does next to nothing to address the real lawlessness that supposedly necessitated it, the government has legitimated the sense of victimhood that so thoroughly saturates the rhetoric adopted by student leaders.

If much of the blame falls to the government for exacerbating the situation, the protesters – especially the student leaders – are by no means exonerated. That their response to unacceptable legislation was to label it a declaration of war was no heat-of-the-moment exaggeration. Well before the Charest government crossed the line, the movement had declared itself the “Quebec Spring,” with protesters likening themselves to revolutionaries battling a totalitarian state.

It is this mindset that impoverishes our political discourse. It is emblematic of a shift away from policy debate, political compromise and democratic deliberation. It is an attitude that infects people of all political persuasions, although it tends to be more intense among the less moderate on either side.

Some of the protesters’ critics have dismissed the entire movement as representative of a “culture of entitlement.” I think this is problematic, largely because it ignores the reasons and justifications for their legitimate position (even if I happen to disagree with them). There should be room for the policy debate, for the expression of legitimate concerns about access, equality and universality with respect to post-secondary education.

The real problem is the increasing tendency to replace policy discussion and political debate with the invocation of rights. Invoking rights is the equivalent of playing a trump card. It leaves no room for compromise. It denies the validity of other perspectives or alternatives. It reduces political discourse to the making of demands. It subjugates other values, policy ideas or arguments about the distribution of resources. It risks replacing logic and deliberation with emotion and threats.

Now, lest anyone think I’m arguing otherwise, let me state the obvious: fundamental rights are imperative for any functioning democracy. More specifically, the right to free expression and free assembly (including the right to protest) must be fiercely protected.

That said, not everything is a right. In the face of a bylaw regulating unkempt lawns, for example, it would be incorrect to claim one has a “right” to let his or her grass grow three feet tall.

Even more significantly, the fundamental rights we do enjoy also come with limits. This is a fact which almost never emerges in debates about rights. My own research has demonstrated, for example, that media coverage of Supreme Court of Canada decisions concerning the Charter of Rights often ignores the extensive analysis the Court engages in about whether rights limitations are reasonable under the law. The very first section of the Charter is a statement that the rights within are subject to reasonable limits and limitations analysis is often the core feature of Charter cases.

The problem is not that Quebec’s student protesters have asserted the right to protest. The problem is their rhetoric and actions are premised on the notion that a tuition increase constitutes an unreasonable violation of their fundamental rights. They believe their concerns about accessibility and universality override other concerns, like sustainability or quality of education.

Many of those who support the student protests will find this argument unpersuasive. They’ve pointed to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights, which includes free public education under its social and economic rights, conveniently ignoring the language of the section (“to the extent and according to the standards provided by law”).

More generally, critics’ response to my argument that the debate should not be about rights often amounts to “of course it should, unless you don’t believe in social justice.” The problem with social justice, like rights-based arguments, is that everyone favours it but have legitimate disagreements about what counts as social justice. For example, proponents of the tuition increase have pointed out that rather than functioning as a progressive policy, subsidizing tuition is in fact a regressive policy that disproportionately benefits the middle and upper classes.

Unfortunately, that policy debate has been taken off the table. Thanks in part to a foolish law passed by a government that has bungled its response to the protests from the beginning, the rights narrative dominates. And look at how productive it has been.

Emmett Macfarlane is a political scientist at the University of Victoria. You can follow him on Twitter: @EmmMacfarlane


Wrongs and rights: how did Quebec’s student standoff come to this?

  1. I was going to write something but at the end of my thoughts I couldn’t be bothered. I mean what can one say about a society going around in the bowl?

    • I’m pretty sure you wrote something. Not that it was much worth reading. But what can one say about the quality of discourse found in online comments sections?

      • Even if your not sure you read it, or after, figured it wasn’t worth reading, the bottom line is that you read it. You took the time to focus on the words and actually read it. That says something about people who read online comments of questionable quality. They really do try and absorb the words. Not all the meaning gets absorbed. But they try. Good for you. Keep working at it.

        • Pardon?

          • I think he was refering to the first sentence in your comment; “I’m pretty sure you wrote something”, which would indicate an uncertainty as to wether or not anything was written. In referencing it, he was slandering your ability to understand the written word… which judging from your second comment, seems to be a fair critique.

          • You know, if you were funnier and more clever, you would definitely be funny and clever.

  2. This is a silly commentary because it’s so disconnected from the reality of how power operates in society. The author seems to suffer from the ignorant notion that decisions made by government are primarily a result of some grand democratic experiment in which we convince one another of our position. The old canard that if only reasonable people would bring grievances to light and debate them that things could change. It’s great to call for dialogue and a higher level discourse but that’s such an empty gesture unless the various positions share power. The real world isn’t like some political science class considering Athenian democracy. .

    I suggest this experiment to the author. They elect me to distribute thier food budget for the next month. Ok. Now, each time you want food you approach me and we discuss how much you should get and whatever I don’t allocate to you I get to keep for making myself happier and fatter. Hmm. In my view you’re getting a bit fat so I think I’m going to stop giving you food. Wow. You got angry quick. Look, anger is not going to solve anything. I welcome you to make a case for why you should get more food for as long as you want but I’m absolutely not going to be moved. Wait? Why are you getting tired. Lets keep talking. See. This is the problem with people such as yourself. Instead of convincing others to lobby me to give you more food you’ve become childish and are acting out. That’s not going to get you anywhere. Now. If you’re dissatisfied with my decisions I invite you to elect someone different next month but I’m pretty sure they will reach a similar decision.

    • Comparing the tuition decision to a hypothetical government that literally withholds food from people is *exactly* the type of “helpful” discourse I’m talking about. Thanks for further illustrating my point.

  3. I would love to see the mish mashed data that “proves” high income families benefit most from subsidized tuition. That must be a miracle of number-juggling.

    • I personally doubt these numbers exist due to the fact that it is fairly common sense. If I can afford to pay for all of something, but I only have to pay for 50%, that is a boon to me. If I can’t afford something, even at a discounted rate, the fact that is 50% off is of no help.

  4. I just wish people would understand that this is more than just about tuition fees. The arab spring, the London riots, the occupy wall street vs teabaggers, are just symptoms of a generational war. Past generations are asking the young to pay (and work till AT LEAST 67 to pay) huge debts, for crumbling infrastructure, environmental damages, not to mention the increasing OAS and health care bills from the baby boomers. It is reprehensible that these entitled, self-absorbed and selfish past generations would make the young pay for their past mistakes and lack of planning. Who should be paying these university fees??? It should be the generations who benefited from the reduced tuition fees yet still did not plan for the baby boom retirement problems, who caused Quebec’s financial problems and who allowed for the creation of a hugely corrupt bureaucracy!!!! How about past generations being held accountable for their actions? How is that even controversial???????

    • Well, I guess the bottom line is us old geezers ain’t gonna pay. The ball’s in your court son.

    • The fact that our parents paid more to go to university in 1968 than Quebec students will be asked to pay once the increase is fully implemented (taking inflation into account) would not appear to bolster your argument.

    • It’s worth noting that this greedy, wasteful, corrupt past generation is the one that has paid for the whole of these students lives up to this point. Every morcel of food, stitch of clothing, school book, teacher, doctors visit, toy, or anything else conciously or unconciously consumed in the first 17 or 18 years of thier lives was paid for with the taxes of the previous generation, or directly by thier parents. Maybe its time they start to tow the line a little bit.

    • So your response to freeloaders is to try to freeload yourself… Yep, ok, future generations are totally going to buy that.

    • what drugs are you on?

  5. As much as I believe in the right to protest, I cannot agree with the violence and awful behavior I have witnessed. To prevent other students from going to class is appalling. I find it hard to consider this a “strike”, as some have called it, since the students do not work for the University. And even if I agree that the Quebec governement has many flaws, I would say that we should be thankful to have the right to protest in the first place.
    I have seen with my own eyes what a “free university” is. Unfortunately, it translates in lower income for professors (which means fewer professors and not as educated) and administrative staff, almost no students services (library, cafeteria, programs) a poor quality of education and, to my absolute shock, no toilet paper in the public bathrooms (we had to bring our own). Mind you, this was in a socialist country.
    No one likes to have to pay more for services and sometimes, those increases are unjustified. But there are times when they are justified. Inflation is another factor to take in consideration.
    Another point that makes it hard for me to side with the protesters is that students in Quebec pay the least in tuitions fees, compared to Ontario, for example, where they pay the triple. Me and my parents payed for my bachalor degree (in Quebec) and I am now persuing a Master’s degree in Ontario, which I am paying myself, so I know the fees they have to pay. Yet, I cannot help but think that this has blown out of proportion.

    • What would you call a hunger strike then? A food boycott?

      Semantics aside, I don’t how many times we have to remind everyone in the Rest of Canada that they are not a model for us in Quebec. Neither is the US. Why should we care what you pay in Ontario? The high tuition fees there are your disgrace, not ours. We look at Germany, Finland, Sweden and many other countries and see free or very low-cost university that is compatible with fiscally responsible and highly robust economies. Don’t get me wrong – Quebec (and Canada) are far from that. But that’s our aspiration and we will continue to fight for it.

      • So long as the citizens of Québec are, broadly speaking, willing to accept the demands that such a system comes with, there will be not much in the way of problems for demanding it. We certainly don’t have to be in the specific European situation to desire the outcomes that they’ve traditionally enjoyed. On the other hand, I do wonder just how committed the Québec population is to such a reorganization in the first place. Is there much popular support in the province at the moment for higher personal taxes?

        • Good point. Are they? Some are, some aren’t. There seems to be a lot of naivety on the part of some students, that we can have low-cost education and a generous welfare state just by taxing the rich and corporations… As you point out, taxes are higher in Europe, especially Scandinavia. The middle classes contribute most of the taxes. Taxing corporations higher than other provinces makes no sense (and I say that as a social-democrat!).
          I think that overall, a lot of people would be willing to accept higher taxes if the money was well spent, on education for example. Unfortunately the government and the PQ have pretty much lost any credibility.
          I’m waiting for the next generation of politicians… It would help if other provinces and the US would share our vision too, which won’t happen I guess.

        • There may be popular support in Quebec. There clearly isn’t in R.O.C., which is also paying the bills.

          This issue could be the final straw that leads to a “taxpayer revolt” over subsidies to Quebec.

      • And if Quebec wants to provide their residents with these “perks” then will they stop accepting money from the other provinces (*Alberta cough cough*)? If not, then the rest of Canada IS a model for your province because they are footing the bill. It’s really unfair for a province to have to support your free tuition utopia while they charge their own students significantly more tuition than Quebec is used to paying.

        • The transfer payments were set up by the Conservatives in the 1950s. At the time it was to help the Western provinces. Will you give us back the money that was transferred to you then?
          And since Quebec receives far less on a per-capita basis than the Maritime provinces, will you stop sharing with them as well? Or is this just about targeting the Frenchies?
          The question is then, what would you do with all your petro-dollars? Indulge in a Beverley Hillbilly lifestyle? Build an even bigger shopping mall? Have your cowboy hats tailored on Saville Row?

          • I’m sorry, but I don’t think the answer lies in insulting eachother or pointing fingers either…

          • You are right.

          • Are you saying Alberta is still working on “paying back” what it got in transfer payments from the rest of Canada in the 1950’s? If you are making that contention….well that is just funny.
            I notice how you say things about the Maritimes making more “per-capita” than Quebec…so what? Quebec is still a “have-not” province that receives money from other parts of Canada to boost up its social programs. What other ‘have-not’ province has a $7.00 per day daycare program? What “have” province has that. You asked what Alberta would do with the money it didn’t give out in transfer payments….we already don’t charge people healthcare premiums; we pay our nurses $45.00/hr (you pay yours less than $35.00/hr;). Maybe we would look at giving our working poor a subsidized pharmaceutical plan or….$7.00 per day daycare.

          • No I’m not saying you need to pay back the exact amount you received. Obviously you “returned” much more than you received. I’m just saying that it’s like an insurance. Things might go bad for you one day. Oil prices might tank – they have in the past. Quebec might strike gold – we might be asked to contribute to transfer payments – that’s what’s happening to Nfld now, isn’t it. I’m saying you have to consider the historical context – to completely ignore the fact that Alberta and the West received massive transfers of wealth from the East in the past would be just ungrateful.
            As for our expenses… well to be absolutely honest this has nothing to do with you. Do you want $7 a day daycares? Then start them! Our transfer payments are equivalent to 1/40 th of our GDP. We won’t let that dictate our social and other policies.
            By the way, you have no idea how our so-called socialistic programs works. There is a 2-3 year waiting list to get in the daycares now… But far from reducing them, we should increase them! Why? Because studies have shown that they have a net positive impact on both the economy and government finances. Why? Because it allows people (especially women of course) to work and hence contribute to the economy. It’s simple as that. Look at Japan for a counter example, where you have 20-30% of the population staying at home (good for the kids though!).
            We do have to worry about debt though! But you guys have it all wrong when you whine about the students and their low tuition and the daycares and all that. Why should we these programs and not the waste that is rampant in both the Provincial and Federal governments, not to mention municipalities starting with Montreal? We don’t agree that education and social welfare need to be cut. Au contraire, we think that these are investments for the future. Even the convervative Economist and Obama’s not-so-liberal economists agree: austerity is NOT the path toward fiscal balance. It’s like trying to save your hand by cutting off your arm.

            This is getting long but one more thing, regarding my comment about how you would spend the extra money… I’m sorry, that was a bit childish and mean-spirited. Of course there are many ways you could spend it, and perhaps you might even give it away to other provinces but on your own terms. I’m sure there are lots of things you could right at home, for example make truly world-class universities. I fully understand your frustration.
            There is a simple solution to all this: let’s break up the Federation! I wonder why Albertans and Quebeckers bicker all the time, when in fact we have the same aspiration in that regard.

      • You may not look to the rest of Canada as a model, but you certainly look to them for equalization payments. Until Quebec pays its own way, it’s entirely valid to compare Quebec services to those elsewhere in Canada.

        You say you look at Germany as a model. Look how their taxpayers are revolting at having to pay for bailouts to countries with more social benefits than the Germans themselves enjoy (i.e., Greeks being able to retire nearly a decade earlier than Germans, etc.).

        You want R.O.C. to subsidize your free education, while they themselves pay more, and then you call them a disgrace? This is why people call you immature.

        • When did anybody in the student movement or PQ or anywhere say they wanted to finance this with equalization payments? Nah, we want full independence. Equalization was set up by the Cons in the 1950s, and then expanded under Liberals. In other words, federalists. I totally agree, you can keep your fossil fuel wealth and use it to spend on your Beverley Hillbilly lifestyles.

          • That’s hilarious logic, Al, considering that Quebec would look like Haiti now if it wasn’t for those equalization payments. In fact, the province is practically a third-world state even with that extra infusion of cash.

            Quebec’s infrastructure is literally crumbling before our very eyes; the quality of its hospitals and schools is embarrassing; corruption is entrenched at all levels of the government; the government is so bloated that it has more public workers than the states of New York or California; and it suffers from generational welfare, which is encouraged by lazy residents who are too busy pointing their fingers at the “Evil anglais” instead of working hard to improve their situations.

            The province is a cess pool and a joke.

            And before you start bashing me, I am (shamefully) a Quebecer.

          • I agree with you about our problems, but as noted to the other guy, equalization payments are only about 1/40 th of Quebec’s GDP per head. We can do without them. Independence won’t solve all the problems and will even create new ones. But it will be a fresh start. We need to get rid of the corruption, much of it related to Federalists by the way.

          • It seems to me that Quebecois have an utterly screwed-up idea on how to manage an economy. Crumbling infrastructure, poor quality hospitals and schools, more public workers than New York or California. Maybe they could divert the money from these hugely subsidized social plans to the these other areas that will benefit everyone. This sense of entitlement is mind boggling. As I often heard while growing up “There is no free lunch”,

          • you do realize that the issues you raise here are what many of these protestors are railing against, right? This isn’t just about tuition fees…

          • That’s hilarious logic, Al, considering that Quebec would look like Haiti now if it wasn’t for those equalization payments. In fact, the province is practically a third-world state even with that extra infusion of cash.

            Quebec’s infrastructure is literally crumbling before our very eyes; the quality of its hospitals and schools is embarrassing; corruption is entrenched at all levels of the government; the government is so bloated that it has more public workers than the states of New York or California; and it suffers from generational welfare, which is encouraged by lazy residents who are too busy pointing their fingers at the “Evil anglais” instead of working hard to improve their situations.

            The province is a cess pool and a joke.

            And before you start bashing me, I am (shamefully) a Quebecer.

          • Too bad you’re not in office. We need that kind of thinking to help move Canada forward. It would be easy to balance the budget with the 17.3 billion dollars we would be saving by not sending transfer paymenrts to Quebec. However, seeing as that accounts for almost a quarter of all of expenditures in “La Belle Province” you may need to come up with some budget cuts… May I suggest removing the subsidies on tuition for upper and middle class students? That aught to save you a few bucks.

          • Equalization payments are $17bn? Where did you get that figure may I ask? The official figure is more like $7-8bn. That comes to less than $1000 per capita. Not only is that much less than what the other have-not provinces receive, but it is only about 1/40 th of Quebec’s GDP per head. The money will be felt, to be sure, but we’ll also gain from savings – as you know there is so much waste in Canada due to double jurisdictions. So I think we’ll do fine, but thanks for your concern.
            I’m more worried about you guys though – Canada is already considered to be one of the most boring countries in the world, imagine what it will be without Quebec and especially Montreal…

          • Actually, I said transfer payments, not equalization payments, which are only one type of federal transfer. The others include Health and Social transfers, as well as Transfer Protection, ensuring the amount sent to the province doesnt decrease year over year. The four combined total 17.3 billion this year. When you take that number, and compare it to the 70.9 Billion they are spending, disregarding the fact that 1.5 billion of that is defecit, you get just over 24 percent of quebec’s expenditures being covered by federal transfers.

          • Of course Quebec gets Federal expenditures. We are a quarter of the country’s population and of its economy. We pay Federal income tax. We pay GST. A lot more than Alberta for that matter.
            Listen, all of this is a mute point anyway. Your wealth is the result of sheer luck, Beverley Hillibillies that struck gold. It wasn’t like that before the 70s though was it. Then you were the have nots. But I guess expecting some sense of historic context would be too much to ask from a Westerner.

          • Where exactly do you get your numbers. Alberta is by far the largest payee of Federal Income tax. And not just per capita. Also my point wasn’t that you shouldnt get federal money, it is that you would be a failed state as an independant nation, and that Canada would be better off financially without you.
            Now, since you lost the real argument, and felt the need to take a bite at the hand that feeds you, I will address your second point. You claim our wealth is based on luck because we got lucky and exploited the natural resources we have. My question then is this. What province did not have thier haydayin a time of great resource exploitation? Quebec has or had huge stakes n fur, lumber, hydroelectricity, mining, and lets not forget maple syrup. If you could find a market for a sense of entitlement you would be all set.

          • Alberta is the largest payee of Federal income tax? Do you have evidence on this? If you are right then there is SERIOUS problem –
            There are more people in Southern Ontario than all Western provinces combined. Either way, I’m sorry but nobody is impressed. Are you impressed by the wealth of Kuwait?
            As for being a failed state as an independent nation, well we’ll just have to see won’t we. There is no argument here, you are just speculating. However I would tend to agree with you on the second point, that Canada would be better off without Quebec. Hey we’ve been saying that for decades! We’d BOTH be better off as separate nations, just as me and my ex are better off since we separated :) Better yet, why not eliminate the Federation itself, then Alberta would have its own little sandbox to dominate. Why not focus on what we agree – let’s go our own ways.
            As for natural resources, I don’t know why I have to tell you this but there are resources and then there is oil. How many wars have been started over hydroelectricity? Or over lumber? On how about that OMSEC (Organization of Maple Syrup Exporting Countries). Their embargo in ’84 almost caused a world war… I’m actually an energy economist so could explain to you in detail why oil and fossil fuels in general have such a high value per kilogram, but I have better things to do. Funny, if I were from a prairie sheikdom, I would want to understand where my luck comes from.

          • Ok, well here we go again. If you want to talk about no sense of history, maybe you should look in the mirror. Being from Quebec, I would think you would have a greater awareness of your own history. The French and English, not to mention the natives, fought over this country for hundreds of years. You think that was because it was such a great place to vacation? No, It was for the above mentioned natual resources.
            A quick aside, OMSEC made me smile. That was clever.

          • Of course, we are all dependent on natural resources. I fully agree with that. But how can you disagree with the notion that Alberta has been gifted with a type of resource that has exceptional value in the market? Compare Sweden and Norway: one has a lot of wood, the other a lot of oil. Guess who has the highest GDP per capita in Europe (apart Luxembourg)?

          • That is absolutely the case today, but to dismiss the hard work, innovation and technological advances that come from Alberta as a bunch of hillbillies who got lucky is a joke. Some of the best engineers, geologists, chemists, and a hundred other advanced professions are working in the oil and gas industry. Not to mention the regular guy working 84 hours a week, hundreds of miles away from his family, in extreme weather, and some cases extreme danger. People who have never been on this side of the fence see the hudred thousand a year, but dont see the 14 hour day in -50 weather. I make 6 figures, not because I’m lucky, but because I work my ass off, every day.

          • Hmmm… OK perhaps I was overly dismissive. These commentary sections can get a little heated!
            But at the end of the day it’s still true that there is a lot luck involved in being an oil producing region. OK so it needs a lot of hard work and innovation. But we also work hard and innovate in Quebec, and they also work hard and innovate in Manitoba. Why are you richer than us? Why is Norway richer than the Netherlands? Is it really hard work and thrift, or just the luck of the draw?
            That said, you are right to say it takes talent and intelligence to convert this luck into wealth, the proof being places like Nigeria where they haven’t been able to leverage their resources.

          • I agree, we are sitting on a big pile of dead dinosaurs, but the same knock could be said about Quebec and it’s vast cultural resources. You had the good fortune to be settled 300 years before the West. Thats why you have “Un Canadien Errant” and we have Nickelback. You have Chateau Frontenac, and we have the Calgary tower. We each look down on each other for the things we take pride in. There really is no moral high ground here.

          • Again, with this retort of what Canada would be without the affluent cultural influence of Quebec! Bravo! You’ve proven exactly nothing. Canada with out the whiny separatist and sense of self-entitlement attitudes of Quebec, would be beneficial to the rest of Canada and maybe. Just maybe? The rest of Canada can grow it’s own unique blend of ‘culture’ with the money Confederation would be saving from an over inflated Federal Equalization payments program that funds, and pays for the luxuries enjoyed by Quebec and it’s whiny residents. The day is coming where Canada will stand united and the civil liberties that have been cited here are taken into consideration. Especially considering the fact that the Quebec nation did not have the common decency to even sign our unified Constitution Act, 1982. How is that for a slap in the face to the rest of Canada who do fund the self-professed cultural luxuries, of Quebec, other parts of Canada cannot afford?

            I am sick and tired of being subjected to the ridiculous and frivolous claims of a unique Quebecois nation within a nation. For over 30 years now, Quebecors have enjoyed the luxuries of the lowest tuition of all Canadians, can constantly insult everyone outside the smug Quebec zone and keep accepting money that is provided for the benefit of Quebec to enjoy perceived levels of comparable care for public services that is supposedly enjoyed by the wealthier provinces within Confederation.

            Public services in the self-entitled and professed distinct society of Quebec is far higher and better than compared to the rest of Confederation. Why is this? Because Canadians have been complacent thus far. Social revolution is on the horizon, I dare say, and the Quebec ‘totalitarian regime’ knows it’s days are numbered within Confederation and they are taking reasonable measure to maintain their long-term existence within Canada and have effectively dropped the smug seperatist and self-entitlement of years past.

            The way it is today: Quebec needs Canada more than Canada will ever need Quebec. I’d rather have better public services that what I receive in provinces that are seen as having the abilities to provide perceived levels of public service than the less fortunate within Confederation.

            I find it ironic how Quebec can constantly degrade, segregate and further undermine national unity by usage of ethnic-nationalism; but yet, they openly accept the federal transfer payments with open hands but can criticize those who fund the luxuries they enjoy?

            Isn’t this: “the pot calling the kettle black”?!

            Ungrateful swine, cannot openly accept a modest 70% increase in tuition over 5 years that would effectively, still, allow Quebec to enjoy the lowest tuition rates within Confederation!


          • I lost interest in your rambling after the bit about lacking “the common decency” to sign the Constitution Act. You obviously have no understanding of the history of Quebec.
            As for my comments about our superior culture, I’m sorry if my sarcasm was lost on you… Canada is a lovely place.
            As for accepting Federal money, you are saying that to the wrong person.What do you think, that all 8 million of us have the same opinion, that we speak from the same voice? I too find it disgraceful to accept this money. I would give it back if I could.
            Lastly, I challenge you to come to Quebec and experience the social programs you mention. Then let’s see if you can call them “luxuries” with a straight face. Cheap daycare centres for little Billy? Sure, just put your name here and we’ll get back to you in about two years.

          • How is this for historical fact? The Quiet Revolution, FLQ (October Crisis), Oka Crisis, or the multiple threats of separation from Canada for Quebec’s ‘sovereignty’? Is this history enough for you? If you are still wanting to talk about Quebec and it’s ‘relevant history’; I’ll start this conversation: So, how about Quebec and that ‘ethnic-nationalism’ they embrace, eh? Could be detrimental to Canadian civic-unity (civic-nationalism), don’t you think, eh? Bah! Never mind Quebec, let them do their own thing, they are ‘special’, eh!

            Also, I will be the first to say it’s not about the money, and it’s not the money that troubles me. What troubles me most of all is the significant inefficiencies associated with transfer payments and not having any guidelines, whatsoever, seems counter productive too me.. I wish someone would give me 10 billions dollars and say: GET ER’ DONE! :)

            Hey, what you speak of and the limitations to being a resident of Quebec and programs provided, administered and the long waiting lists is reflective of the inefficiency of the Provincial Government and poor implementation of public policy and follow through with public administration of whatever programs it may be.

            Well played, good sir, well played. Indeed.

          • Hey, if we got to save the tax money we sent to the federal government, we wouldn’t need the equalization payments.

          • Once agian the pro Quebecers have got thier numbers wrong. In 2009 alone (newest numbers I could find) Quebec was worth a 13.6 billion dollar drain on the economy. Thats over $1700 per citizen.

      • Yet, University remains a service offered to the students no? If they refuse to take advantage of the service, then that is their choice. What I don’t agree with is for them to tell everyone it is their right to protest, and then take away the right of others to study. That is saying theat their right to protest takes precedence over others’ right to study.
        As for the food boycott reference, well it may seem a bit harsh, but isn’t that also a matter of choice? If you choose not to eat, that is ultimately your decision, and should not impact others no? (Theoretically speaking of course)
        Mind you, I can understand your frustration about being compared to other provinces or countries, but Quebec remains a part of Canada and therefore is linked to other provinces through the federal budget and taxes.
        I agree that some other countries are good models to follow (at least with regards to education), but what works for them may not necessarily work for us the same way… And where they may excel in some areas like education, they may very well be paying for in other areas.

        • All good points. This is not a black & white situation; one can be for the strike but against the violence (or even the union leadership), or against the strike but then against Bill 78…
          And you are right, the European model may not work here… we should try first though.

          • Agreed. I think this is what makes this situation so difficult to assess. As you say, it is far from being black or white and the fact that this has been going on for a while doesn’t help to calm angry people.
            I also agree that we should definitely try to improve our education system and looking at how certain coutries work (at least the ones whose system has proved successful) might prove very useful, as long as people are willing to work for it, and as you pointed out earlier I believe, that’s what remains to be seen…

    • It IS a strike, no matter what you say. People don’t have to be working to go on strike, you are just playing with words to achieve your point.

      Also, nobody agrees with the violence except the tiny tiny minitory using violence, that’s not the issue here.

      • Thank you for your comment. I did not want to prove any point by stating that this was not a strike, but simply say that it seems odd for me to consider it a strike when its more about boycotting a service (at least that’s what it was originaly). It did grow into something more later on.
        As for the violence, I know that the majority of people disagree with it, including a majority of protesters. I was merely stating that I did not condone it.

    • Freedom of assembly is a human right and one of the basics of democratic society. Yes, we should be thankful, but we should also defend it. Hence all the noise in Montreal tonight.

      • I absolutely agree that it is a right to defend it. Yet, it still seems to be blown out of proportion when only a minority of cegeps and universities are involved. Mind you it remains a very important movement nonetheless.

  6. It came to this because Charest put his foot in it by raising tuition fees, and then getting belligerent……and as a Quebecois he should have known better…..now it’s part of Occupy and the Maple Spring…..global.

    Way to go, Charest. Sigh.

    • Quebecois ??? Is that some kind of tribal reference, or an inclination of mental capacity??

      • It means he should have remembered the Parent Report…a document from the Quiet Revolution that promised to provide free post-secondary education to all Quebecois.

        • Oh, I see, it’s a tribal entitlement.

          • I gather English isn’t your first language.

            But then you’re not strong on history or sociology either by the look of it.

          • I gather you’re a tribalist… which would explain you’re ignorance and self importance.

          • No dear, I’ve always been a globalist.

            And a firm believer in education for everyone.

            You should try it.

  7. Quebecers must be BORED with their lives.

  8. If they were just protesting and making the argument that their rights are being violated, I’d still think they were infantile, but there would at least be a discussion.

    As it is, violence and disruption of classes? Why are these thugs not being forcibly subdued and thrown in jail?

    As an addendum: anyone who thinks it’s a dangerous precedent for the police to be breaking up peaceful protests on public property hasn’t been paying much attention to what’s been going on in front of abortion clinics for the last 20 years. I have friends who’ve done jail time for this, with no violence, disruption, trespassing, or interference with others involved. “Bubble zones” is the term of art.

  9. University should be free to everyone, just like elementary and secondary school.

    Charest had a unique historical opening to lead on this, and always be remembered…and he blew it.

    • University should be free to everyone? That’s an insane statement. Do you realize how many people would apply if it were free? Post-secondary education is a choice and that choice comes with an enormous cost. The result of everyone “trying” university would mean that many deserving students, who choose to make an effort regardless of costs, would have less access to courses, as the student to professor ratio would be higher.

      I chose to earn my degree and pay for it myself through work and student loans, which are now paid off. I know of too many people who would go to university if it were free; however that is exactly the wrong reason to go to university. You go there to get educated, knowing that it will better oneself. You don’t go there because it’s a free ride. Anything worth having in life takes sacrifice and dedication. Giving free degrees to everyone is not the answer. Providing an education in exchange for future work commitments to a province, volunteer group, etc is still not free as one would sacrifice their time in return for that education.

      • Yes, university should be free to everyone…just like primary and secondary school.

        Lots of people would attend….. that can’t do so now, and that would be an enormous benefit to the country. Just like free primary and secondary education was.

        The knowledge economy requires educated people….and we won’t achieve that economy with worn-out slogans about sacrifice and the ‘nobility of debt’

        • Well Emily how do you suggest that these programs be paid for? I personally feel that cost should not be a barrier to education, but without tuition costs, how would enough professors be recruited to offer their programs? How would the infrastructure of universities be expanded to handle the extra enrollment? Would universities have to build twice as many buildings? Can you imagine at U of T alone how much this would cost? I went to MUN to get my degree and in my specialized program, there was, in 2002, already lack of space and higher tuition than in other programs. I would have loved not having a student loan. I would have even traded years of service in exchange for my educations costs. That being said, if everyone who were eligible to attend university could, a vast majority would not complete there studies. Any idea of free education would have to be attached with a clause that if one fails to complete their studies then one would have to foot the bill. As for your below comment about arts degrees, in our “knowledge economy”, “things like engineering are more valuable than ‘liberal arts'”. Not trying to insult those with arts degree; however engineers, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, accountants, etc are in a shortage, while BAs in folklore, sociology, latin, etc are are not in a shortage. It is a great achievement to complete a degree program; however some degrees are greater than others due to the competitiveness and workload needed to attain that degree.

          On a final note I ask a question. Are you willing to pay the extra amount of taxes required to ensure that everyone is able to have a free university education? If you are so committed to such an endeavor, maybe you could start funding a scholarship for kids in need?

          • Costs are paid for by taxpayers of course….the ones who fund everything else.

            We are apparently willing to pay $41B for planes, but grouse over the much lower cost of a good education for all our citizens. That makes no sense.

            We went through all this same drivel when we first started funding high school, so you are rehashing old failed arguments.

            As to engineers etc, we have a shortage of all skills in this country….including the liberal arts ones. What tosh to believe we need only engineers, but not professors, economists, librarians, sociologists, journalists…..

        • The Universities in Alberta are full even with the current tuition fees so the entrance marks have risen. It would not matter if university were free, no more could attend unless many more spaces were made available and that would take time to create the physical campuses and recruit administration and professors.
          Now surely you aren’t recommending that “everyone” can attend regardless of their dismal highschool showing? Would you expect some entrance qualifications?

          • Put your oil money towards something useful,and build more universities.

            Or at the very least, use Distance Education, like Stanford and MIT and most other places are doing.

            Otherwise your young people are going to go elsewhere.

            Bad planning….or none….is holding you back

            And stop confusing money and marks.

    • If it becomes free, it will probably become like Quebec’s healthcare system. In theory, you get everything for nothing. In practice, the province has to ration it to stay financially solvent, leading to long wait lists and limited access.

      Taxpayers may also want a say in what you get to study. For instance, needed specialties like medicine and engineering may be expanded at the expense of, say, liberal arts.

      • It’s the same as secondary education….there is nothing special about it, it’s simply further education. It would be run pretty much the same way.

        And please stop pretending things like engineering are more valuable than ‘liberal arts’.

    • elementary and secondary schools are not free, they make up to 52% of our municipal tax bills, go back to school and learn

      • They are paid for with taxes….same as healthcare.

        Same as university should be.

  10. Quebec students should look at California to see where all this leads. If there’s not enough money, the universities may limit enrollment to save money, or enroll more foreign and out-of-province students who pay higher rates. If the taxpayers are paying the bill, they might want a say in what you get to study — i.e., “Let’s keep engineering, but eliminate the arts.” Nothing is really free, kids.

  11. This has grown larger then the tuition hikes and the incendiary catalyst: Bill 78. Just as the Occupy movement, this is a social uprising. In fact, this is real Democracy in action (not the convenient “democracy” that politicians use to make us feel like we do have a functioning Democracy. But instead “on the street, vocal and fervent” and Charest’s on the ropes fighting a war on two fronts. Hundred’s of thousands of protesters on the streets denouncing Bill 78 et plus and coping with the investigations into his Government’s dirty dealings in the heavily corrupted construction industry here. Yeah…that’s right! The only population in the country fighting to have the Premier be held accountable for this Government’s policies and transgressions. And English Canada’s in the dark because they aren’t getting the right information.

    People here are becoming fed up with the system. How politicians lie to get into office and then deliberately lie or ignore their constituents. Nothing new right? This is the oldest story in the book. Whatever s****y book that is.

    What is new is how the rest of Canada seems to be OK with having civil liberties taken away in increments or one fell swoop. Or how the Harper Government is slashing necessary services ranging from social to environmental protection, limiting the press…the list is too long to..well, list on but the bottom line is that much of English Canada is or refuses to understand the fundamental reason for this uprising. The uprising is their frustration about how Government isn’t safe guarding the future. The Economy now is the resounding priority from Anglo Canada. Ha…that’s funny and frightening in the same breath.

    How people who’ve probably never protested and exercised their DEMOCRATIC rights (not the show room, fresh plastic scented variety of Democracy) can judge those whom are taking their personal safety in their hands to challenge the Government – that have failed and failed miserably.

    So do us all a favor. Take the mainstream media with a grain of salt because…if you haven’t realized it media in this country is being co-opted by the usual suspects. This is actually in the news in QC. Independent news sources are feeding various French news programs with “the news!” If that does’t tell you the state of the truthful dissemination of information in the present day then there’s your news flash. Sound bite.

    And just so you “haters” are aware it’s not just students on the streets marching, banging pots and being vocal about actual Democracy, they also include families, people whom supported the tuition hikes and senior citizens. As I said before THIS IS NOW BIGGER THAN TUITION HIKES!

    Maybe Can’tada should cut the knee jerk judgements, get off of your asses and start looking beyond your navels and the “Economy now”, instead maybe take some time to consider what sort of World you participating in leaving as a legacy for your children and grand children. The World’s a more Draconian place. And if Canada could puncture through it’s legendary political apathy then maybe we could build a better, more fair and equitable future. And serious;y…I’m still amazed at people whom have children and are just fine with the oil sands, eliminating environmental protection, supporting the military industrial complex and yadda, yadda, yadda.

    And one more thing. I participated in the 100th day march…of over 100 thousand protesters. NOT ONE WINDOW WAS SMASHED AND THE POLICE PRESENCE WAS MINIMAL. I abhor wanton violence and property damage too but do you get up in arms when the Hab’s fans riot downtown and loot? Oh that’s ok…that’s sports. That’s alright. That’s what really matters in this country.

    I think that most of English Can’tada’s objection to this movement is based in ignorance, the prejudice towards the French and inability to rise up for themselves. I’m English and live in Montreal. This place has more passion, spirit and social conscience then any place that I’ve visited and lived in this county…which I have eschewed. To be Can’tada is upside down.

    So what are you a Ant or a Grasshopper? Only the future will tell.

    • I apologize for sounding like a broken record but insulting an entire population is not the answer to this situation. You have some valid arguments but the way you present them are very disrespectful. Things would flow much easier if people didn’t turn to insults.

    • Blurque, Thank you for the most excellent take on what is going on. I’m totally fed up with the ungratful, spoiled French meme. The originally Alberta whine about their taxes carrying everyone else in the ROC has spread everywhere in the ROC. If you tell a lie often enough and loud enough it will come true. I’m in BC, the real west, and I know that it’s bs, as are so many of the lies from the feds on down thru.
      You are so right when you say the media must be taken with a grain of salt. More like a full sack of salt. Harperland wouldn’t exist but for the media’s willing deceits. I too am amazed that people are willing to dump the tar sands everywhere for the “promise” of jobs (lies) and prosperity. My g’son is 11, what is his future in just 10 years? I’m terrified for him and all the kids out there. Will we send him out to clean spills on our coast, or inland to try and save salmon streams? The technology is no better than when the Exxon Valdes dumped it’s load. Or do we just send him to the source, that open wound, the tar sands. Oh TG it’s ethical oil! What will it cost to send him to university, and what courses will be offered in another 10 years. I could see Harperland toying with Education. Subsidising only useful classes, while those liberal arts classes will cost the moon.
      I am so proud of the thousands who have marched in protest against the broken promises and now for the myriad of lies and injustices we all have been covering our heads over. It’s past time we all stood up in defence of what we know is right.
      random_girl, I find you to be a prissy broken record who can only tsk tsk while you disrespect entire populations and peoples arguments. You are insulting and no, things won’t flow easier if only you get to decide what is insulting.

    • Thank you for this. It’s waaaay past the tuition hike cr*p now. And, I was there too. :)

  12. The first bungle was the media decision to ignore (or minimize) the actions of anarchists who infiltrated the protest. The second was to characterize a profound sense of entitlement at the cost of any and all of the rest of society as reasonable.

    Those same students who feel entitled to a free ride through the post secondary system see no problem with taking their publicly funded credentials and peddling them to the highest bidder, Canadian or not. And incidentally, if they do remain in Canada they should be entitled to low tax rates.

  13. All this, because, we are experiencing a new type of
    democracy in the Quebec Student CEGEP movement.

    As the latest figure there are 14 CEGEP on strike, which
    represents around 67259 students.

    However out those 67259 students, around 16214 participated
    in different strike vote across those CEGEP. Which represent a 24%
    participation rate. Yes out of those who participated in the vote, a majority
    (around 9866) voted for the strike (the majority of those vote were not
    secret). However that represents 14% of student (around 9819) which voted to
    continue a strike.

    Some CEGEP, 600 students out of 2900 voted with a show of hands.
    Most of the CEGEP which voted be secret vote, return to study.

    All these figure are available from different Quebec CEGEP
    student association web site.

    There are around 100,000 students studying in the Québec
    CEGEP system. Around 10 to 15% of those voted to strike. How can those student
    associations and all the labour union that support them financially, claim that
    a majority of CEGEP students voted to strike and refuse the tuition increase?
    And continue the action.

  14. All this, because; we are experiencing a new type of
    democracy in the Quebec Student CEGEP movement.

    As the latest figure there are 14 CEGEP on strike, which
    represents around 67259 students.

    However out those 67259 students, around 16214 participated
    in different strike vote across those CEGEP. Which represent a 24%
    participation rate. Yes out of those who participated in the vote, a majority
    (around 9866) voted for the strike (the majority of those vote were not
    secret). However that represents 14% of student (around 9819) which voted to
    continue a strike.

    In one CEGEP, 600 students out of 2900, voted with a show of
    hands to continue the strike. Most of the CEGEP which voted by secret ballet,
    did return to study.

    All these figure are available from different Quebec CEGEP
    student association web site.

    There are around 100,000 students studying in the Québec
    CEGEP system. Around 10 to 15% of those voted to strike. How can those student
    associations and all the labour union that support them financially, claim that
    a majority of CEGEP students voted to strike and refuse the tuition increase?
    And continue the action.

  15. Look at the comments, this is the reason nothing ever gets done in the world. this is why everyone hates each other. You all sit here and bicker like children and then expect someone else to fix the problem for You. well guess what, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM, fix yourselves before you try to fix your province. all this commentary about what is right and wrong and who is in either is pointless, You all voted them in so you did it to yourselves, myself included. It’s just that it seems as of late that we need to emulate others to get a message heard. where were these 200 000 voters when it mattered most? i understand huge education costs, let alone taxes….

    • I did vote but not for the government who is seating in position right now. I always believed that if people actually vote, they will have the right to complaint after the government in power. But maybe what needs to happen is a situation like this one in Quebec for people to realizing that they need to vote!

  16. I am getting a bit tired of people bickering and forcing their opinions on everyone else. This is Quebec’s fight, let us fight it. When we ask for Ontario’s advice, you’ll know.
    Random girl – I do have something to say about your portrayal of “free university”. I come from former Yugoslavia, where our education was free, and I can tell you that none of the things you claim about “free university” were true. Our quality of education ranked very high compared to the rest of the world, professors were appropriately paid, plenty of administrative staff and student services (including free food, and I am not talking about Mcd quality meals). Needless to say, we had more than enough toilet paper :).
    I do not like misleading information and for that reason alone I made my comment. I do not think that education in QC should be free, but I do believe in negotiating and settling the dispute in ways other than imposing totalitarian laws, for those that are curious.

    • Most sensible comment I’ve read! Thanks!

    • Thank you for that information! I am happy to know that it is possible to have free university in some cases. I did base my comment on my own experience in ONE country so it might have been uncalled for, but it lead me to believe that free university was difficult to achieve. So thank you for that! Also, I am happy you had toilet paper, cause I didn’t!
      Having said that, I think my fear is that some people might get caught up in that notion that they are entitled to things “for free” (more than just the education) and depend more and more on the government or tax-payers. I think if people worked hard for what they have and strived to be as independent as they can be, they would live better lives.

      • Don’t you think that by educating more and more people, you would have less and and less people leaving of the government or tax-payers?!? Meaning that by really reforming the education system and make it accessible for individual to study their passion, I don’t think there would be a lot of them leaving on tax-payers money.

  17. Will yoiu people STOP calling this a STRIKE!!!

  18. I would be interested to know how fully subscribed the universities in Quebec are. I know Alberta’s universities are always receiving more applicants than they can accomodate and thus entrance requirements have risen and qualified students are turned away. High tuition fees or not, the schools are full.

  19. I look at all those comments, and I see both position and can agree with both… but gosh all I want is the corruption to stop in Quebec, I mean yes students as to pay more cause we need money … but I’m just tired of seeing everyone that as to pay more and more money and to see all those corruption stories coming out since the liberal are in power… For me it’s not a question of who pay more then who but a question of justice and democraty… M. Charest and all futur governement has to understand that they can’t do whatever they want to do and get away with it… I know violence isn’t a good way to handle it and i’m sick of it but I’m also sick of that stupid fight beetween Quebec and (as people call it) ROC… you’re talking about how violent we are when we protest but gosh stop a second and look at those words that you’re using to describe ” us” that is also violence (and I know its for both side) …

  20. After watching the crowd burn police cars and smash windows, we now have the students demonstrating against the law with the intent to keep demonstrating until they get their way.

    This is not democracy, this is dictatorship by a minority who are illegally disrupting the lives of others.

    These people need to be charged and fined and given criminal records. Then the due process of law must be applied to collect the fines.

    We do not need a big detention centre where they can be held for hours while asking for a particular brand of water. We bring them into something like a stadium, seal off the exits and process them one by one with infraction tickets stating the fine and the procedure for fighting it if they choose to go to court. They should also be reminded that the fine will double if they are charged a second time.

    If the Quebec government does not stand up to these people in this manner, they can kiss their democracy goodbye.

    • What are you talking about? Sealing people off? Are you insane? I think you have a crooked picture of democracy in your head. Democracy grants ALL the people a right to an equal say in public policy, equal opportunity to express their opinion. Who the hell do you think you are to propose that we seal people off in a stadium because they are expressing their opinion? Is your opinion higher than those of the people protesting? What are you, God?
      You cannot blame the majority of protesters that do not use violence because of the few fools that just look for an opportunity to vandalize. 400 people were arrested because 2 threw water bottles at the police – that means 398 people were arrested for nothing!

  21. These are our future leaders. Read it and weep. They learned all this from a weak and corrupt government. My only hope is that the sane majority in the schools, and citizens of the province, finally stand up and be counted. Saying nothing is condoneing the vandalism, violence and all norms of a civilized society.

    • What are the norms of civilized society? Agreeing with everything that the government deems right? Not having an opportunity to disagree? I mean, God forbid traffic should get disrupted, never mind the future of our children. Right?
      I do not agree with violence of any form, but you cannot judge all the people involved by the actions of a few hotheads. Vandalism and violence happens all the time on the streets of Montreal, Toronto, New York, and everywhere in the world – protests or not. Does that mean that all the citizens are to blame? For instance, my car window was smashed a few times last summer, being parked on the street – should I go and blame my neighbors? By your logic, by not blaming them I condone the vandalism, violence and all norms of civilized society!?

  22. I live in Quebec and I’m a student. And when I ear most of you talk about university, it is only a question of “service”, that the university is a service. When you’re going to university, you’re not buying a piece of shirt or food. And it’s not because you’re paying the university that you will get good grade. Education is a right, not a relationship between commerce and customers. And this was the choice of the Quebec society to make it that low. You don’t raise the fees on one generation because that choice doesn’t suit you anymore. We in Quebec ask the government to evaluate how much and where this money is spend inside the universities. The government didn’t want to do that, considering that administrators in universities have a second pension paid by the government for a total of 100%. Which the government is in debt of 10 millions. So can you tell me how come the government and the universities are telling in us to pay more when were not even guaranteed that this money will be for good use?

  23. these ‘blame both sides’ arguments are so boring and so predictable. here’s how corporate mega media land works: see a political movement that threatens elite interests in any way; invent stories of “violence” so that readers get scared of it; treat the resulting “crisis” as a problem of two sides needing to think straight and get along better. lost in the ‘coverage’ and ‘analysis’ is the real story: a government, like all governments in these parts, madly scrambling to strip the state of all of its resources so it can donate them to the same giant corporations that own this media. as i said, predictable, boring.

  24. The media, when reporting on the Québec “student protests”,
    rarely made it clear enough that this noisy, intrusive and hysterical
    “student movement” group really only represents a very small sample,
    in fact less than 20% of the actual student population, when you actually count
    the last number of “strike” votes. The demonstrating students represent
    just a small, radical and idealistic minority element of the greater student
    population: mostly very young CEGEP students and some university students of sociology, history, philosophy, poly/sci, comparative
    literature, etc. (not necessarily our future leaders). Yet somehow they have
    managed to take over our streets and create chaos and anarchy! How did we let
    this happen? Maybe the problem is that this small group of idealistic, leftist,
    immature, somewhat privileged and bored, yet very energetic youth (and
    every generation has them), is presently being encouraged, aided and abetted by
    their alumni/predecessors, (the present network of CEGEP/ Québec free college
    system teachers, union-organisers and social/community activists, including the
    ever-present, ever-frustrated leftist radicals), to carry on their never-ending
    anti-capitalistic/anti-government/ anti-everything political agenda. The PQ
    (Parti-Québecois) has also recently recklessly jumped into the frenzy, hoping
    to score some political points for a future election. The media, both social
    and traditional, always hungry for sensational news of any kind, has hung onto
    every word from the arrogant, yet so eloquent, student leaders of the -20%
    minority protesters as they encourage them (with the help of the unions)
    towards civil disobedience, and this, all in the name of what they abusively
    claim as “Democracy and Social Justice”. The present Liberal Government,
    like the majority of the Québec population (who would obviously prefer to pay
    less, but yet had reluctantly accepted the inevitable and necessary raise in
    tuition fees), have failed to respond immediately and adequately to the demands and tactics
    of the radicals; naively believing that reason and common sense would eventually
    prevail. Think again folks, we are in Québec, the land of protest and
    indignation! Therefore as the silent majority, who tried much too hard to be so
    “politically correct” regarding individual rights, dialogue, non-partisan
    politics or whatever, we have ultimately and unfortunately allowed anarchy to
    take over our streets to the point that we now somehow feel obliged to respond by becoming
    a repressive, police state!!!. I think I know how we got here but I must admit to having no clue as to how we are going to get out of this mess other than throw the dissidents a bone and hope for the best???? I am so not proud to be a Québecer right now !!!!