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Home News Letter to the Editor

Stand In Solidarity With Montreal Protestors: Matt Kot

Matthew Frank Kot for local2 sault ste. marie
May 26th, 2012 at 9:42am | Last Updated at 10:35am



This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

Quebec Solidarity


Credit: Bernard Bujold (Flickr)

Montreal, one of Canada's largest cities, has been plagued with riots and protests and marches by students protesting Premier Jean Charest's proposed post-secondary tuition fee hike. But this fight in Quebec is spreading. People from the UBC to Ontario, to the maritimes are standing in solidarity with the enraged students.

The UBC this week wrote a letter to Premier Charest condemning the violence of the Anti-Protest bill 78. The other day students in Toronto held a protest to confirm their support for the Quebec protestors. Though many people believe that the protests should be quashed because Quebec has the lowest tuition fees in the country, I beg to differ.

My opinion and the opinions of thousands upon thousands of other students: Why pay many thousands of dollars just to sit in a classroom for a couple of years? Why go bankrupt, take out loans that could financially break you, just so you could get further education? Education to grade 12 is free. Education after grade 12 should be at the very least free, or at the very most a thousand dollars. That's it.

The over 100,000 students of Quebec are fighting for cheaper education and we should be standing in solidarity* with them. Even professors in La Belle province are standing with the students in protest. And it really makes Jean Charest and his government look bad when people from across the country, and across the world, are agreeing with these students.

The Bill 78 crackdown, the mass arrests, the kettling* of the protestors, is despicable. I'm reminded of the G-20 summit in Toronto in June of 2010. The technique of kettling was used there as well, mass arrests were made and there was a huge firestorm of criticism from the Canadian people because of the wrongful detention of people who just wanted to excercise their freedom of assembly.

In Montreal, and now in other cities and towns across Quebec, the student movement is growing. International attention is growing. The stability of the Quebec Liberal Government (A Federalist one at that!) is crumbling. If Charest loses the election that's expected to come within months, the Parti Quebecois takes over, and the Separatist agenda makes a grand return, many years after Rene Levesque. This protest is the beginning. The beginning of the end of a Canada with Quebec? Who knows? But something is going on. Life is beginning to take shape in the student movement, and if Charest doesn't bow down and make education cheaper, well, I think he can kiss his career goodbye.

Just my honest opinion. What's your opinion? Comment below!

*Kettling is when police completely surround protestors or/and bystanders, leaving them no escape route except for arrest.
*Solidarity is referring to ties in society that bind people to one another, or standing together.

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