Today, May 18, 2012, the Charest government will adopt a law that criminalizes Quebec students, teachers, professors and all those who engage in civil disobedience to protest the increase in student fees. The law is tantamount to a war measure which criminalizes the right to resist and organize. The government's refusal to negotiate a political solution to the crisis, instead resorting to the criminalization of the students' right to conscience and their participation in the political life of Quebec, is unacceptable. It will further deepen the crisis in Quebec and spells real danger for all Canadians should their governments, which already refuse to negotiate with workers and send them back to work under untenable conditions, decide to implement similar laws.
The Quebec students are fighting to provide the right to education with a guarantee against the neoliberal agenda of the Charest government, which hands over the assets of society to the rich and makes the students pay. They continue to courageously defend their cause and their right to resist. The youth with their spirit of resistance and defiance of what is unjust represent the change which society requires.
This assault on the rights of the students and all of the people of Quebec is an attack on all those who are resisting the anti-social offensive across the country and demanding that monopoly right must not be permitted to trump public right.
The blame for the situation in Quebec lies with those who are destroying the public institutions to make them serve private interests.
Let's continue the stand we have taken here to support all those fighting for public right and in defence of their rights, against laws which criminalize their struggle, such as the postal workers, Air Canada workers and hospital workers to name just a few. Let us prepare to defend the right of the First Nations and workers against the plunder of their land and labour by big oil. Let us be clear that the police powers used against those who protested the G8/G20 Summits in Toronto and the Olympics in Vancouver two years ago and before that the APEC meeting in Vancouver, the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City and the so-called Leaders Summit in Montebello, Quebec were used to establish the groundwork for the further criminalization of the right to resist and organize. This is what the Quebec law also seeks to accomplish. It must not pass!
Must Not Pass!
Court Challenge to Declare Bill 78 Null and Void
Bill 78 has not yet been passed but already a petition to demand that it be declared null and void has been posted online and signed by more than 10,000 people.
The petition reads:
"On May 17, Jean Charest’s Liberal government tabled at the National Assembly, Bill 78, An Act to enable students to receive instruction from the postsecondary institutions they attend. [...]
"Bill 78 is much more than an attack on the right to strike of the Quebec students, who for over a year have been fighting the 82% tuition fee hike. The government through this bill has found a way to directly attack the right of association of the students and the freedom of expression of all Quebeckers. This bill transforms every citizen, parent and teacher into a policeman. It also gives a single person, the new Education Minister, the power to modify any Act that currently exists in Quebec without consulting the population, the Members of the National Assembly or even her colleagues.
"This bill goes way beyond the framework of the student
is clearly unconstitutional. Filling out the form allows you to support
and even eventually to participate in the court challenge to declare it
null and void."
Quebeckers who want to sign the petition can do so here:
(Translated from original French by TML.)
Text of Quebec Bill 78
"An Act to enable students to receive instruction from the postsecondary institutions they attend"
Introduced by Madam Michelle Courchesne
The purpose of this bill is to enable students to receive instruction from the postsecondary institutions they attend.
The bill suspends academic terms in progress as regards all classes interrupted and still interrupted on its coming into force. It provides for when and how classes are to resume and includes measures to ensure the validity of the 2012 winter and fall terms and the 2013 winter term. Other provisions in the bill are aimed at ensuring the continuity of instructional services as regards all other classes.
The bill contains further provisions to maintain peace, order and public security as well as various administrative, civil and penal measures to ensure enforcement of the law.
AN ACT TO ENABLE STUDENTS TO RECEIVE INSTRUCTION FROM THE POSTSECONDARY INSTITUTIONS THEY ATTEND
THE PARLIAMENT OF QUEBEC ENACTS AS FOLLOWS:
1. In this Act, unless the context indicates otherwise,
"college" means a college governed by the General and Vocational Colleges Act (R.S.Q., chapter C-29) and its constituent parts within the meaning of subparagraph 6 of the first paragraph of section 2 of the Act respecting the accreditation and financing of students' associations (R.S.Q., chapter A-3.01);
"employee" means an employee within the meaning of the Labour Code (R.S.Q., chapter C-27) who, on (insert the date of coming into force of this Act), is a member of the personnel of an institution;
"federation of associations" means a body bringing together various student associations such as the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ), the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (F.E.C.Q.), the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) and the Table de concertation étudiante du Québec as well as any coalition to which any of those student associations belong, including the CLASSE (Coalition large de l'ASSÉ);
"institution" means a college or university or any other college- or university-level institution determined by government regulation for the purposes of subparagraph 7 of the first paragraph of section 2 of the Act respecting the accreditation and financing of students' associations;
"student association" means a postsecondary students' association or students' association alliance within the meaning of section 3 of the Act respecting the accreditation and financing of students' associations;
"university" means a university-level educational institution referred to in section 1 of the Act respecting educational institutions at the university level (R.S.Q., chapter E-14.1) and its constituent parts within the meaning of subparagraph 6 of the first paragraph of section 2 of the Act respecting the accreditation and financing of students' associations.
CONTINUITY OF INSTRUCTIONAL SERVICES
2. The 2012 winter term and, in universities, the 2012 summer term, are suspended in institutions as regards all classes interrupted during such a term and still interrupted on (insert the date of coming into force of this Act).
Classes at all colleges must resume not later than 7:00 a.m. on 17 August 2012, except at CEGEP de Maisonneuve, where classes must resume not later than 7:00 a.m. on 22 August 2012, and at CEGEP d'Ahuntsic, where classes must resume not later than 7:00 a.m. on 30 August 2012. As for all other institutions, the suspension under the first paragraph is effective until the resumption date set by each institution, unless it cancels or has cancelled the interrupted classes.
Nothing in this section prevents a college, the student association of a college and the associations representing the employees of such a college from agreeing, by 1 August 2012 and with the approval of the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, on a different resumption date than those provided for in the second paragraph.
Nothing in this section prevents an institution from organizing a 2012 summer term.
3. Every institution and its officers and representatives must employ appropriate means to ensure that instructional services are delivered or continue to be delivered to all students having a right to such services. The obligation imposed by this section applies
(1) as of the applicable resumption date, in the case of the classes referred to in the first paragraph of section 2; and
(2) as of 7:00 a.m. on (insert the date following the date of coming into force of this Act), in any other case.
4. Not later than 1 June 2012, a college must, as regards classes referred to in the first paragraph of section 2, submit a plan for the resumption of instructional services aimed at ensuring the validity of the 2012 winter and fall terms and, if applicable, that of the 2013 winter term, to the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports for approval.
The director general of a college may take any measure to ensure that the obligation imposed by the first paragraph is complied with within the time limit specified, including drawing up the services resumption plan himself or herself in the place of any authority competent in that regard.
5. A college must ask the students who are enrolled for the classes referred to in the first paragraph of section 2 to confirm, on the date specified by the college and not later than 15 June 2012, whether or not they will continue taking them.
6. Despite the definition of "course" and "credit" in section 1 of the College Education Regulations (R.R.Q., chapter C-29, r. 4) and section 18 of those regulations, a college may take special measures to ensure the validity of the 2012 winter and fall terms. A college may, for that purpose, take such special measures as
(1) ending the period in the 2012 winter term that is allotted to teaching and evaluation on or before 30 September 2012; and
(2) organizing a term having less than 82 days allotted to teaching and evaluation insofar as the course objectives are otherwise met.
For the purposes of this section, a college may, among other things, ask its teachers to specify any special educational measures required to enable students to attain the course objectives.
7. Despite any provision to the contrary, a university must take any general measure within its jurisdiction to avoid penalizing, as regards their admission to university for the 2012 fall or 2013 winter term, students who attended an institution whose 2012 winter term was interrupted or suspended.
8. Nothing in the framework established by this division operates to restrict an institution's capacity to arrange the services required, without prejudice to the quality of instruction, so as to take into account the particular circumstances resulting from the interruption of the 2012 winter or summer term.
9. The Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports may take all necessary measures to carry out sections 2 to 8, including specifying certain legislative and regulatory provisions as not applicable and prescribing any other necessary modification to this Act and to any other Act and its regulatory instruments.
The Minister may, for those purposes, issue directives to institutions, which directives the institutions must comply with. Furthermore, any agreement entered into by institutions and associations of employees to comply with such directives must be approved by the Minister.
Divisions III and IV of the Regulations Act (R.S.Q., chapter R-18.1), except its sections 15 and 20, do not apply to any measure taken by the Minister under this section.
10. All employees must, as of 7:00 a.m. on (insert the date following the date of coming into force of this Act), report for work according to their normal work schedule and other applicable conditions of employment.
The first paragraph does not apply to an employee who has resigned and whose resignation has been accepted by the institution, or to an employee who has been dismissed or suspended or has retired.
11. All employees must, as of 7:00 a.m. on (insert the date following the date of coming into force of this Act), perform all duties attached to their respective functions, according to the applicable conditions of employment, without any stoppage, slowdown, reduction or degradation of their normal activities.
12. Sections 10 and 11 do not prevent an association of employees from declaring a strike in accordance with the Labour Code.
An association of employees, its senior officers, its representatives, including its spokespersons, and its members are prohibited, however, from participating in concerted action if the concerted action involves a contravention by employees of section 10 or section 11.
13. No one may, by an act or omission, deny students their right to receive instruction from the institution they attend or prevent or impede the resumption or maintenance of an institution's instructional services or the performance by employees of work related to such services, or directly or indirectly contribute to slowing down, degrading or delaying the resumption or maintenance of such services or the performance of such work.
14. No one may, by an act or omission, deny a person access to a place if the person has the right or a duty to be there in order to obtain services from or perform functions for an institution.
Without restricting the generality of the first paragraph, any form of gathering that could result in denying such access is prohibited inside any building where instructional services are delivered by an institution, on the grounds of such a building or within 50 metres from the outer limits of such grounds.
15. An association of employees must employ appropriate means to induce its members to comply with sections 10 and 11 and not to contravene sections 13 and 14.
A student association must employ appropriate means to induce the students it represents not to contravene sections 13 and 14. The same holds for a federation of associations with respect to its member student associations and the students represented by them.
PROVISIONS TO MAINTAIN PEACE, ORDER AND PUBLIC SECURITY
16. A person, a body or a group that is the organizer of a demonstration involving 10 people or more to take place in a venue accessible to the public must, not less than eight hours before the beginning of the demonstration, provide the following information in writing to the police force serving the territory where the demonstration is to take place:
(1) the date, time, duration and venue of the demonstration as well as its route, if applicable; and
(2) the means of transportation to be used for those purposes.
The police force serving the territory where the demonstration is to take place may, before the demonstration and to maintain peace, order and public security, order a change of venue or route; the organizer must comply with the change ordered and inform the participants.
17. A person, a body or a group that is the organizer of a demonstration and a student association or a federation of associations taking part in the demonstration without being its organizer must employ appropriate means to ensure that the demonstration takes place in compliance with the information provided under subparagraph 1 of the first paragraph of section 16 and any change ordered under the second paragraph of section 16.
ADMINISTRATIVE AND CIVIL MEASURES
§1. -- Assessments, premises and furniture
18. On noting that it is unable to deliver instructional services to all or some of the students having a right to such services, an institution must, without delay, report the situation to the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, including the circumstances that caused the situation, the groups of students affected and, for each of those groups, the student association to which it belongs as well as any other information that may be useful for the purposes of this Act.
If the Minister notes that the institution is unable to deliver instructional services as a result of a failure by a student association to comply with an obligation imposed by this Act, the Minister may, despite any provision to the contrary, order the institution to cease collecting the assessment established by the student association or any successor student association and to cease providing premises, furniture, notice boards and display stands to the student association or any successor student association free of charge.
The cessation is effective for a period equal to one term per day or part of a day during which the institution was unable to deliver instructional services as a result of the failure to comply.
19. Despite any provision to the contrary, students represented by a student association referred to in the second paragraph of section 18 are not required to pay any assessment, contribution or other similar amount to the student association, any successor student association or a third party for the benefit of either for the duration of the cessation ordered under section 18.
20. If the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports notes that a federation of associations has failed to comply with an obligation imposed by this Act and that the failure to comply has resulted in preventing the delivery of instructional services to students having a right to such services, the Minister may, despite any provision to the contrary, order all student associations to cease paying any assessment, contribution or other similar amount to the federation of associations, any successor federation of associations or a third party for the benefit of either.
The cessation is, effective for a period equal to one term per day or part of a day during which the delivery of instructional services was not possible as a result of the failure to comply.
21. Despite any provision to the contrary, a student association that belongs to a federation of associations referred to in the second paragraph of section 20 is not required to pay any assessment, contribution or other similar amount to the federation of associations, any successor federation of associations or a third party for the benefit of either for the duration of the cessation ordered under section 20.
§2.-- Civil liability
22. A student association of an institution and a federation of associations to which such a student association belongs are solidarily liable for any damage caused to a third person as a result of a contravention of section 13 or section 14 relating to the institution, unless they prove that the damage is not attributable to the contravention or that the contravention is not part of any concerted action.
The same holds for an association of employees in the case of a contravention of section 10, 11, 13 or 14 by the employees it represents.
23. For the purposes of section 22, damage includes any additional cost assumed or loss of earnings or revenue incurred by anyone, including a student, an institution or the State.
24. Despite article 1003 of the Code of Civil Procedure (R.S.Q., chapter C-25), if a person who suffered damage as a result of anything done in contravention of section 10, 11, 13 or 14 brings a class action under Book IX of the Code by way of a motion in accordance with the second paragraph of article 1002 of the Code, the court authorizes the bringing of the class action if it is of the opinion that the person to whom the court intends to ascribe the status of representative is in a position to adequately represent the members of the group described in the motion.
25. Anyone who contravenes section 3, the first paragraph of section 4, section 5 or 7, the first paragraph of section 10 or section 11, 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 is guilty of an offence and is liable, for each day or part of a day during which the contravention continues, to a fine of $1,000 to $5,000.
However, the fine is
(1) $7,000 to $35,000 if the offence is committed by a senior officer, an employee or a representative, including a spokesperson, of a student association, a federation of associations or an association of employees, by a senior officer or a representative of an institution, or by a natural person who is the organizer of a demonstration; and
(2) $25,000 to $125,000 if the offence is committed by a student association, a federation of associations, an association of employees or an institution, or by a legal person, a body or a group that is the organizer of a demonstration.
The fines prescribed by this section are doubled for a second or subsequent offence.
26. An institution that contravenes the first paragraph of section 18 or fails to comply with an order made under that section is guilty of an offence and is liable to the fine prescribed by subparagraph 2 of the second paragraph of section 25.
27. A student association that fails to comply with an order made under section 20 is guilty of an offence and is liable to the fine prescribed by subparagraph 2 of the second paragraph of section 25.
28. An institution that fails to comply with a request made under section 33 is guilty of an offence and is liable to the fine prescribed by subparagraph 2 of the second paragraph of section 25.
29. Anyone who, by an act or omission, helps or, by encouragement, advice, consent, authorization or command, induces a person to commit an offence under this Act is guilty of the same offence and is liable to the fine prescribed by the first paragraph of section 25 or by subparagraph 1 or 2 of the second paragraph of that section if either subparagraph applies.
30. The amounts of fines set out in this Act apply in all cases and despite article 233 of the Code of Penal Procedure (R.S.Q., chapter C-25.1).
31. Judicial proceedings, including applications for an injunction, instituted before (insert the date of coming into force of this Act) seeking an order for the delivery of instructional services to students having a right to such services may not be continued as of that date. Moreover, any judgment rendered or order issued for that purpose on the basis of such proceedings ceases to have effect on that date.
This section does not prevent the institution or continuance of proceedings for contempt of court after (insert the date of coming into force of this Act) in relation to contraventions of a judgment rendered or an order issued before that date.
32. An institution, the student association of the institution and the associations representing the employees of the institution may enter into an agreement so that students who, following a judgment or an order, including an injunction, received, before (insert the date of coming into force of this Act), instructional services to which they had a right and are still receiving them on that date may continue receiving them.
33. An institution must provide any information the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports requests for the purposes of this Act within the time limit the Minister specifies.
34. The Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports is responsible for the administration of this Act, except Division Ill, the administration of which is under the responsibility of the Minister of Public Security.
35. The provisions of this Act cease to have effect on 1 July 2013 or on any earlier date or dates set by the Government.
36. This Act comes into force on (insert the date of
assent to this Act).
(To download Bill 78 in PDF format, click here.)
Read The Marxist-Leninist