May 28, 2012 - No. 78
Charest's Bogus Self-Serving "50 Cents a
The Social Responsibility to Educate Our Youth
More than 200,000
demonstrate in Montreal on May 22, 2012: "I am socially responsible and
against the hike!"
"Education -- for the
a Day" Argument
• The Social Responsibility to Educate Our
• Monopolies and Their Governments Are the
Entitled, Not Quebec Students - George Allen
• "50 Cents a Day" Equals Over $100 Million
More in Student Interest Payments to the Banks - K.C. Adams
• 50 Cents a Day? - Laurent Theis
• U.S. Student Debt Estimated at One Trillion
• Government and Students
Associations to Meet Monday Afternoon
• Manifs de Casseroles: People Continue to Join
Charest's Bogus Self-Serving "50 Cents a
The Social Responsibility to Educate Our Youth
Every society has the responsibility to educate its
youth. If not,
how can the people and their society survive? The ways and means of
this responsibility are found in the material conditions of each
society. As society becomes more social, complex and developed in terms
of its organization and productive forces,
the transfer of knowledge to the youth must become more social, public
and organized to reflect society's material conditions and overcome the
difficulties of further developing public education and the society as
Our modern society and its members are charged with the
responsibility to ensure that all young people are educated to their
potential so that they become capable of defending society's existing
knowledge and developing it further so as to assist in solving our
political, economic and social problems and
opening a path forward.
Previous societies of petty scattered production faced
in educating their youth as they mainly depended on the efforts of
extended families, guilds and religious organizations which restricted
learning to their particular expertise or dogma. This meant that
breakthroughs in knowledge, especially in science
and the productivity of work often became lost in isolation or buried
under the strict rules of production imposed by the ruling privileged
class and religious elite.
When the people rose up and broke the grip of the
religious elite over the affairs of state, they opened up a path where
science, the productivity of work and transfer of knowledge to the
youth through public education could become powerful tools to improve
the lives of the people and raise society
to new heights.
Charest, Harper and the
premiers of Canada's provinces represent a
bulwark of class privilege determined to wreck society and stop the
march towards democratic reform based on the rights of the people. They
are consolidating the political rule of private monopoly right and
interests and the control of global
monopolies over the people's public resources, assets and productive
Within this neoliberal agenda, Charest and others are
barriers on public education and the unfettered transfer of knowledge
to our youth. His proposed tuition fee increases are another weapon to
twist public education into serving private monopoly interests. His
attack on public education and refusal
to negotiate with students has inevitably led him to a "special law" to
assault the democratic rights of all.
These attacks on public right and the general interests
are retrogressive and reveal a trait amongst the present ruling elite
in Quebec and Canada's provinces to reintroduce remnants of the former
oppressive regime based on aristocratic class privilege and the
suffocating control of a religious elite. Our
society cannot tolerate or survive such a tendency towards restricting
democratic rights and the transfer of knowledge to our youth to serve
private monopoly interests such as the banking oligopoly that profits
from student loans. Manipulating public education to suit the
particular private interests of big business is
similar to the former control of young minds and bodies by the
aristocracy and religious establishment. A social very public society
such as Quebec and Canada cannot survive when private interests
dominate and manipulate politics and the public domain including the
central public space of transferring knowledge
to our youth.
Jean Charest's crusade to impose more restrictions on
education through tuition fee increases reflects the aristocratic
notion that society exists to serve private interests not public
interest. This quest to turn the clock back to the politics of an
earlier era of petty scattered production dominated by an aristocracy,
colonial power and religious dogma is in total contradiction with the
needs and social responsibilities of our modern society. Such moves
will not work and cannot work for our present society is public and
social and will collapse if private privileged interests dominate.
The youth know instinctively in their hearts that
education must be
open to all and that our society will not survive if restrictions are
placed on democratic rights and the transfer of knowledge. The working
class knows this instinctively as well but the ruling elite who favour
class privilege, exploitation and religious
obscurantism has put blinders on people through constant propaganda and
backward measures such as individual taxation that create doubt as to
how society can organize and fund the public transfer of knowledge.
People are coming forward to
confront their hesitancy
follow the good instincts of the youth, and stand with them in this
struggle. The problems of organizing and funding the public transfer of
knowledge to the youth can be resolved when the public will is behind
such a project which is why it is
necessary to keep putting the full weight of the society behind the
demand of the youth for an Estates General over which they can exercise
control. This is how they can channel the necessary power to exercise
control over the political decisions which affect their lives.
Society and its members are firmly facing the political
Charest. So too this must be done to face the political power of Harper
and the provincial premiers to deprive the people of their democratic
right to advance society. Through organized resistance to what is
unjust, the people must keep advancing
their own vision for society. They must do so in a manner which
deprives the likes of
Charest and Harper of their power to attack democratic rights and block
society from fulfilling its duties to organize in a comprehensive
public manner the unfettered transfer of knowledge to our youth to
serve the public interest and the general
interests of society.
The working class and its allies must make sure public
interest trump private monopoly right and interests because the
anti-social wrecking agenda of the rich and their political
representatives is unsustainable. Under its weight societies cannot
survive. They will implode or explode in one way or another.
Our youth have the right to the unrestricted transfer of
from the previous generation and the duty to study and reach their
potential and contribute to further developing society's knowledge.
The people have the democratic duty and right to
organize and fight to defend the public interest and advance society.
to the Tuition Fee Increases and "Special Law"!
Demand and Fight for Public Education for All!
Society Must Fulfil Its Social Responsibility to Educate Its Youth
Monopolies and Their Governments Are the Entitled,
Not Quebec Students
"Education is a
right! Or is it for governments to profit?"; "A university is not a
company. Oligarchs, we've had enough!"
The monopoly media, including Alberta's Edmonton Journal
and Calgary Herald, continue
to turn out a steady stream of
disinformation to undermine the just struggle of the Quebec students
for the right to education, against higher tuition fees and Charest's
war measure law, and for the right to resist and organize.
One devious attack involves denouncing the students for their so-called
sense of entitlement, by which is meant that the students have the
temerity to actually demand that their right to education, which is
theirs by virtue of being human, be provided with a guarantee. One
typical Edmonton Journal
from his bully pulpit on May 19: "Call them student activists if you
want. I call them spoiled brats... These are vandals and anarchists who
embrace the culture of victimization -- much like the sovereigntists in
the Parti Québécois and the Bloc Québécois.
Their epic sense of
entitlement runs so deep, they can't stomach
the thought of any hikes in what are -- by a country mile -- the lowest
post-secondary tuition fees in Canada."
Having slandered and attacked the Quebec students for
their "sense of entitlement," as well as the millions of Quebeckers who
support the right of the Quebec nation to self-determination, the same
columnist then goes on to attack the people of Greece on the
same basis: "In a way, the nonsense in Quebec
echoes what's happening in Greece, where an equally well-entrenched
culture of entitlement and a widespread aversion to honest toil has
pushed the country to the edge of disaster. Greeks have lived beyond
their means for decades." Of course the columnist makes no mention of
the Greek oligarchs, like the shipping and other magnates, and foreign
financiers who have accumulated billion dollar fortunes on the backs of
the Greek workers with the connivance of the state and who are the
cause of the Greek crisis. He also does not mention that with the
austerity measures the Greek people have lost some 60 per cent of their
purchasing power or that for the first time since the Second World War
they suffer hunger and malnutrition. Then, as if that is not enough,
columnist launches an even wilder attack against all the "citizens in
other debt-ridden European
countries, from Spain to Portugal to Ireland, [who] are now demanding
their own get-out-of-jail-free cards."
So who is it that is really entitled? Is it the Quebec
students who are fighting for their right to education, the people of
Quebec who support the right of Quebec to self-determination, and the
people of Greece and other European countries who are fighting for all
their rights against monopoly dictate and the so-called
austerity measures dictated by the IMF and World Bank which will
destroy their lives? Or is it the monopolies and their representatives
in government, like Harper, who are the real "entitled" ones, since
they are the ones who constantly dictate to everyone, lord it over the
people, and treat all the resources and labour
of entire countries as their own personal property to do with as they
choose? It is no coincidence that the same attacks concerning a
mythical "sense of entitlement" are also launched against the workers
by the monopolies. In January 2012, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio
Marchionne stated that the present wage, benefit
and pension structure at Chrysler is an "outdated entitlement notion."
According to Marchionne, wages, benefits and pensions are not
legitimate claims on the value that workers produce but "outdated
entitlements." What slander! And worse, he has coupled these demands
with threats to close factories if autoworkers
do not capitulate to Chrysler's demands for concessions.
King Stephen Harper is drunk with the arrogance of his
own entitlement as prime minister of Canada. This is mainly expressed
through his continuing enforcement of his "royal prerogatives" and
those of his ministers. When defending the "entitlement" of his
Minister Bev Oda to cut off funding to the Kairos
organization on political grounds, Harper told the House of Commons on
February 15: "It is not the decision of appointed officials, it is not
the entitlement of outside organizations. It is a decision of the
minister to make sure that taxpayers' dollars are used effectively for
foreign aid and that is what she has done."
Ministerial prerogative was inserted into the system of so-called
responsible government to make sure that power always remains in the
hands of the ruling class representing the propertied interests and
that governments have a way of enforcing this power without their
decisions being declared ultra vires
the constitution. Sovereignty is not vested in the people but in the
crown, which today means the monopolies which control the economy and
the affairs of state. With King Stephen quoting his entitlements at
every turn, the House of Commons has become impotent, while he and his
entourage get away with the most
reactionary decisions possible on every front.
The notion of "entitlement" was dredged up by the
government of British Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher, which
wrecked British society in the service of the monopolies, in order to
obscure that people have rights by virtue of being human and that those
rights must be provided with a guarantee. Thatcher
stated on October 31, 1987: "Too many people have been given to
understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to
cope with it.... They're casting their problem on society. And, you
know, there is no such thing as society.... People have got the
entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations."
Entitlement, or a "sense of entitlement," as defined in the Thatcherian
sense, means essentially "an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate
expectation." Thus, the right to education becomes the entitlement to
education, suggesting that it is unrealistic, unmerited, and
inappropriate to expect that the right to education
be provided with a guarantee. The same goes for the right to health
and so on. If such were really the case, then obviously a renewed
society would be required! Tarring the Quebec students with the brush
of "entitlement" is an attack on the very notion of society and a call
to return to the law of the jungle, where
the largest monopolies, who are the very ones enriched by higher
tuition fees and student indebtedness and protected by Charest's war
measure law, continue to exercise their "entitlement" to dictate to
everyone. It must not pass!
"50 Cents a Day" Equals Over $100 Million More in
Student Interest Payments to the Banks
The Charest government trivializes
the tuition fee
increase saying it amounts to only "50 cents a day." Charest turns it
into a cheap advertising gimmick of disinformation similar to many ads
on TV that flog products for mere pennies a day. Under the hoax that
the tuition increase is so trivial as to be beneath
his dignity and presumed magnificence, Charest hopes to escape the
image of a despot who refuses to negotiate with his student subjects.
But the increase is not a minor matter to students, their parents and
those who believe that Quebec society must meet its modern social
responsibilities and guarantee the right to
education. The "50 cents a day" for students struggling to make ends
meet and for the thousands of students requiring loans, the tuition
increase is yet another pay-the-rich assault on Quebec society.
From the other side of the equation, for the banks that
furnish the student loans and profit from the tuition increase, the
gain is not inconsequential. Using the government's own figures, the
tuition increases eventually become an extra burden on students of
$1,778 per year driving more and more students into
the clutches of the banks. Even before the proposed tuition increase
over 65 per cent of Quebec students upon completion of their
post-secondary studies are saddled with a $14,000 or more student debt.
Those students with debts are obviously already in need so how will
they manage the extra $1,778? More likely
than not they will have to add the increase to the yearly amount they
already borrow. For some, this could become the "straw that breaks the
camel's back" in terms of getting a post-secondary education or not,
forcing them to drop out. Charest's flippant comment of "50 cents a
day" dismisses this probability out of hand.
The big banks in Quebec are up to their necks in this
attack on education, as they are the ones that students are forced to
go to cap in hand to borrow money. The added tuition fee totalling
$1,778 or "50 cents a day" times (X) the total number of student
borrowers over the next 15 years, let's say 50,000 for the sake of
argument, translates into a possible increase in interest
payments of over $100 million bled from former students not to speak of
the amount the government must fork over to the banks.
Also, the Quebec government guarantees this student
borrowing so no risk is taken by the banks. The government even pays
the interest on the loans while students are at college until they have
to take over that depressing duty upon finishing their schooling. The government website
makes the following comment:
"While you are studying, the government pays the
interest on your student loan.
"Don't forget that you will always be responsible for
your loan, despite the loan guarantee provided by the Ministère
de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport. If you do not repay your
financial institution, the Ministère will honour its guarantee
[but will come after you for repayment even garnishing your wages]."
Let's make some general assumptions to expose the "50
cents a day" as something more important than Charest's cavalier
comment suggests. Let's assume the interest rate will remain low at
3.5% for the foreseeable future, which is highly unlikely. Let's use
the $14,000 loan as the example, representing the 65
per cent of all students who upon finishing school are saddled with
loans of that amount or greater.
We will not calculate the interest paid by the
government to the banks during the period students are still at school,
which is considerable, but will begin the calculation when the former
student begins to pay back the loan, which includes interest plus
$14,000 at 3.5% interest (using National Bank loan
Let's assume a repayment period of 15 years although
this varies considerably according to an arrangement worked out between
the bank and debtor.
Monthly repayments after leaving school are $99.91 for
Total cost of loan to former student: $14,000 principal
plus (+) $3,983.81 interest = $17,983.81
Proposed total tuition increase per year according to
Charest plan when fully implemented: $1,778
Let's assume this increase must be borrowed in full
because the students are already borrowing to make ends meet.
Let's add the increase on to the original $14,000 over a
period of study of four years: $1,778 times (X) 4 = $7,112 + $14,000 =
With Charest's "50 cents a day" increase the total loan
to be repaid now becomes: $14,000 + $7,112 = $21,112
The new repayment amount for the $21,112 student loan at
3.5% interest (assuming interest rates remain at these historical lows,
which is highly unlikely) becomes the following.
If we keep the repayment at $100 per month after
finishing school, the repayment period increases to 329 months or over
27 years, with an interest payment of over $11,000 but this option
would not be allowed.
If we keep the repayment period of 15 years after
finishing school, we have to increase dramatically the monthly
repayment amount. The monthly payment must increase from $100 per month
to $150.66 per month for 180 months.
Total cost of loan to former student becomes: $21,112
principal plus (+) $6,007.58 interest = $27,119.58
Let's assume that the number of students paying back
their loans at any time is around 50,000. The interest alone to the
banks upon repayment for those 50,000 loans at the Charest proposed
increased amount for tuition would be = 50,000 times (X) $6,007.58 =
Prior to the "50 cents a day" tuition fee increase, the
total interest to the banks for 50,000 student loans over the given
period would be $199,190,500: 50,000 times (X) $3,983.81 = $199,190,500.
The amount of interest to be paid after the "50 cents a
day" tuition increase rises dramatically. With the tuition fee
increase, the amount of interest paid to the banks expands from
$199,190,500 to $300,379,000 in our example. (This does not take into
account the many more students who will now have to borrow
to pay the tuition and make ends meet or any interest rate hike.)
The pay-the-rich amount in interest going to the banks
with the "50 cents a day" tuition fee jumps by $101,188,500. This is
not a frivolous amount to be ripped from the students and paid to the
banks. And this amount does not include the ongoing increased amount of
interest the government pays while students
are still at school.
No to the
Pay-the-Rich Tuition Increase!
Stop Paying the Rich!
Increase Investments in Social Programs!
Education Is a Right!
Eligible banks profiting from government guaranteed
student loans in Quebec:
- Desjardins caisse
- Bank of Montreal
- Laurentian Bank
- National Bank of Canada
- Royal Bank of Canada
50 Cents a Day?
"Education is a
right, not a commodity!"
In the conflict with college and university students,
the Liberal government certainly has a flair for formulas.
Following the presentation of the government's offer to the students
[on May 5],
[then] Education Minister Line Beauchamp told the media that it was not
worth risking the
school session for an "annual increase of 50 cents
a day," an amount which, at first glance, seems quite small. As a
professor of mathematics at the University of Sherbrooke, I am
concerned by the government's "creative" use of mathematics to validate
its point of view.
How did they arrive at their famous "50 cents a day"
from the Minister's proposed increases? To achieve this, it is
necessary to use several tricks to make the $1,778 increase over seven
years look smaller.
First, the Ministry used a classic car salesman's trick
-- advertise weekly payments instead of monthly payments -- after all,
a $49 a week payment for a new car looks a lot more affordable than a
$212 a month payment.
government goes even further, presenting the hike in daily payments to
the increase appear even less than it really is.
Next, it is important to understand that it is not a
total increase of "50 cents a day," but that this is renewed each year.
The "50 cents a day" therefore becomes "$1 more a day" the second year,
"$1.50 more in 2014," so on and so forth until it becomes "$3.50 more a
day" in seven years. In the government's
communications, the repetitive nature of the increase also seems to
fade more and more when using the argument of "50 cents a day." At the
government's presentation of its measures on April 27, they again used
the mathematically correct term of "50 cents a day." But in an April
30 interview, Minister Beauchamp
only mentioned the "50 cents a day" formula,
("The bill is smaller,
it is only 50 cents a day.") which is even more likely to create
confusion because it is repeated annual increase and not the total
Finally, it is interesting to note that with a 50 cent a
day increase, it would take 508 days in a year to attain a $254 annual
increase (paying 50 cents a day, 508 payments would be necessary to
arrive at $254 (508 X 0.50 = 254), equivalent to the annual increase).
In its calculations, the Ministry takes into consideration
a possible tax refund of a bit less than 30 per cent on the above
amount. Without this deduction, at the end of the seventh year, the
daily increase looks closer to $4.87 per day (1778 / 365 = 4.87).
What would be the impact of the proposed increase on a
student who undertakes a four-year bachelor degree, in fall 2015, when
the better part of the increase will be effective? The total cost of
tuition fees for the four years would amount to $14,260, or $5,588
more than before the increase. It is thus important
not to interpret Minister Beauchamp's formula as an increase of 50
cents a day. By putting aside 50 cents a day, it would take 30 years
and seven months to attain the difference of $5,588 (11,176 days X 0.50
= $5588; 11,176 days equals 30.6 years). Even considering the possible
tax return as Minister Beauchamp
does, it would take more than 21 years before reaching the amount of
the increase by putting aside 50 cents a day.
The real cost that future students would assume
is more bitter than the "50 cents a day" formula. Of course, these
calculations don't consider modifications to the loans and
bursaries program, which is a relatively small factor in the
These modifications respond to a more complex logic and
cannot be summed up in just a few words. Perhaps the government would
be wise to present the figures and the total impact of its offer in a
concrete and transparent manner instead of trying to sum it up in a
1. In this calculation, one
must consider that a month
is more than four weeks. Thus, a $49 a week payment corresponds to
$2548 per year ($49 X 52). By dividing this amount in 12 one arrives at
$212 a month.
2. Press conference with Minister
Beauchamp and Premier
Charest, Friday, April 27. "Taking into account the tax credit and the
proposed extension, the tuition fee increase represents an annual
increase of 50 cents a day for students" (Premier Jean Charest)
3. Interview with Minister Beauchamp,
René Homier-Roy, April 30, on Radio-Canada One.
4. $3,184 in 2015-2016, $3,438 in
2016-2017, $3,692 in
201-2018 and $3,946 in 2018-2019, for a total of $14,260.
* Laurent Theis,
Ph.D Associate Professor, Faculty of
Education, University of Sherbrooke
U.S. Student Debt Estimated at One Trillion Dollars
In 2009, outstanding student loans in the United States
reached $867 billion. The default rate on those loans jumped two per
from the preceding year to become 8.9 per cent. Experts at the U.S.
Federal Reserve estimate that net new student loans will have pushed
the total to one trillion dollars by this year.
According to the College Board, federal guaranteed loans
account for 77 per cent of all education loans. The interest rate for
government guaranteed loans is currently 3.4 per cent. Yahoo news
reports, "Senate Republicans blocked a vote [May 15] on a bill
that would have extended the current low interest
rate on Stafford [federal government guaranteed] student loans... If
Congress fails to pass such an extension by July, the rates will
double. Some experts worry that there is a student loan bubble that
will collapse when many of those who borrowed money for education
cannot find work, causing default rates to
Within the same report, certain economists argue that
tuition fees, which propel student borrowing upward, have been exposed
as an unsustainable form of funding post secondary education and an
alternative must be found. The average total debt per student upon
graduation has become equal to the average total
before tax income expected for the first year of employment in almost
every vocation. If the average debt load goes any higher, it will
become impossible to repay at existing income levels for graduates even
if they immediately find a job in their particular field. If interest
rates rise, this will compound the problem.
Any lag in finding employment increases the possibility of default.
In 2009, outstanding student loans and the default rate
were highest amongst three common forms of personal loans.
Outstanding student loans - $867 billion
Default rate - 8.9 per cent
Outstanding auto loans - $734 billion
Default rate - 2.5 per cent
Outstanding credit card debt - $704 billion
Default rate - 7 per cent
Average U.S. university tuition fees
Private Institutions (High Cost) $ 35,000
Private Institutions (Low Cost) $ 18,000
State Institutions (High Cost) $ 25,000
State Institutions (Low Cost) $ 12,000
The report says the average annual cost of attending a
year of undergraduate college today is more than $20,000 -- a seven per
cent annual increase over three decades, well above the rate of
inflation. The annual current cost of a higher degree at a public
university costs around $15,000, while private schools top the
list at $30,000 and up.
Quebec, U.S. and Canadian students are all under attack
within the global anti-social offensive. The Quebec student struggle to
slow down the assault on the right to education by maintaining a freeze
on tuition fees is entirely just. Students and the working class should
engage in similar struggles in their jurisdictions
according to the material conditions. To compare Canadian, U.S. and
Quebec tuition fees and use the comparison to suggest one group is
better off and should not defend their interests is to accept the
anti-social offensive and give up any defence of rights and a
pro-social alternative. The struggle of Quebec students
should inspire students everywhere to assess the objective conditions
created by rising tuition fees and student loans. They are anti-social
means to funnel money to the big banks and block any forward motion
towards a lawful guarantee of the right to education for all.
Government and Students Associations to Meet
The Quebec Federation of University Students (FEUQ) has
press release that the government and students associations are to meet
Monday afternoon at 2 pm in Quebec City.
Representing the government will be Minister of
Courchesne, the Deputy Minister of Finances Alain Paquet and negotiator
All four students associations will be present: the
FEUQ, the Quebec
Federation of the College Students (FECQ), the Broad Coalition for
Student Union Solidarity (CLASSE) and the Quebec Student Roundtable
(TaCEQ). There will be no third parties as was the case in the previous
round of negotiations which
included trade unions, rectors and others.
The FEUQ and the FECQ both stressed that the tuition
hikes have to
be on the table in order to reach an agreement. If the government
carries on its intransigence on this matter, it will be impossible to
reach an agreement, FECQ President Leo Bureau-Blouin said.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesperson of CLASSE, the
largest of the
associations, decried the fact that to date the government has shown
nothing but bad faith when it keeps repeating that the students have
made no conciliatory gestures. He reiterated that students have made
many concessions and that the issue
has never been the students' willingness to discuss in the
negotiations. The CLASSE spokesperson also said that the issue of the
Special Law must be put on the table.
People Continue to Join In
People continue to join the collective stand against the
Law, showing the difficulty the Charest government's faces to realize
its attempt to isolate the students and portray them as criminal gangs.
Since May 23, the police have not attempted another mass arrest. It is
suspected that they are under instructions
not to test the powers of the Special Law but stick to charging people
with violations of existing laws. In cases where it was reported that
charges were laid under the Special Law, this was subsequently
retracted and charges were laid under existing laws.
The police are also arresting people without telling
charges. Not only is this practice illegal, it shows that the rank and
file police are not certain what is going on with the law. This will be
used by the students to get the charges against them thrown out of
The police continue to declare demonstrations "illegal"
themselves free rein to attack the protestors at a moment's notice. It
would seem that they are organizing the mass arrests as part of live
exercises in how to arrest, process and detain large numbers of people
at once. From the point of view of the
police entrusted with carrying out the mass arrests at the G20 protest
in Toronto, this was the weakest point of their experience. It would
seem that the current police operation in Quebec is studying how to
overcome this weakness.
Below are brief reports of some of the mass actions in
"Think It Out. Rise Up. Take to the
Demonstration Across Montreal
some 1,000 people began at the National Assembly at 8 pm.
People from all walks of life were represented, from students to
grand parents and children. Things began with a vote taken on whether
to give police the route for the march. The people voted to defy the
unjust Special Law and simply take to the streets. It was a mass
collective rejection of the
government's Special Law and police repression. A calm but determined
atmosphere was set by the participants,
showing that social order comes from the fight for the rights of all
and opposing draconian laws which create the conditions for anarchy and
violence. Despite the usual heavy police
presence, only one arrest was reported.
In Laval, protestors with their casseroles paid a visit to the
constituency office of Minister of Education Michelle Courchesne to
denounce her leading role in the government's sordid activities.
Hundreds of people equipped with pots and pans marched
Sherbrooke for the fourth consecutive night. The protestors defied the
Special Law and did not disclose to police the route of their march.
The breadth of participation and the large banner which read, "Bill 78
Is Everyone's Business!" underscored
that what is at stake is not a "student issue."
Despite this, some trade union centrals have given their
orders not to exhibit any trade union insignia at the demonstrations
which is why there aren't any.
For the second consecutive night and in greater numbers,
residents of Repentigny took to the streets with their casseroles.
are planned for the coming week.
Across the Abitibi-Temiscamingue region, the movement to
oppose the Special Law is growing. Hundreds of people took part in manifs
in Amos and Val d'Or. In Rouyn-Noranda on May 26, a huge crowd gathered
Place de la Citoyenneté et de la Coopération and made a
to the constituency office of Liberal MNA Daniel Bernard. There, the
crowd of families, children and students chanted various slogans that
conveyed their demands that Bernard resign for supporting the
Special Law and that the law be rescinded.
Between 8 and 10 pm on Saturday, about 150 people took
part in the
"Chambly en casseroles." In defiance of the Special Law, the route for
the event was not reported to the police. Earlier in the day, the
captain of the local police force claimed it would exercise restraint
during the demonstration because it was a "family event." Given that it
has invariably been the police who are the source of provocations and
violence during the student strike, this uncouth remark suggests that
police provocations and violence are acceptable when it comes to the
students or others when an action is not a "family event."
It was announced that the protests against the Special
Law in Chambly will be a nightly occurrence until further notice.
About 150 people marched through the streets of a
of central Gaspé, banging on their pots and pans. The
boldly affirmed that Gaspé is part of the movement across Quebec
which supports the students and rejects the government's Special Law.
attacks on the students and now
all of Quebec society through Bill 78 only add to the region's
prior discontent with the Liberal government for its Northern Plan. The
action lasted 90 minutes. Organizers
confirm that there will be regular demonstrations in Gaspé at
every Tuesday and Friday until the people's demands
More than 500 people of all ages rallied in Joliette to
vigorously express their opposition to the tuition fee hike and the
Charest government's Special Law, as well as to affirm the need for a
new direction for Quebec and its youth and people.
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