The student protests shut down Quebec higher education, gained international attention and shook that province's politics. By all accounts, the democratic protests were highly successful at gaining attention.There's only one catch: the protests were anything but democratic. Indeed, it would have been illegal for any labour union in the country to conduct itself the way the student union leadership did. The next Quebec government needs to democratize the student associations. If they want the right to strike like regular labour unions, shouldn't they be held to the same basic democratic standards?
That deafening noise that Formula 1 fans in Montreal and viewers around the world hear this weekend might not be just the supercharged cars screaming past the grandstands in quest of the checkered flag. It will likely also be the banging of pots and pans by the tens of thousands of protestors filling the streets around the Grand Prix of Canada in order to publicize their fight with the Quebec government.
It is no secret that the supporters of the protest movement in Quebec are principally made up of people who are white, Francophone, and sovereigntist. There are of course exceptions to that sweeping generalization, but one needs only to attend a rally to see the copious Quebec flag waving and chants for independence to really get a taste for one of the many underpinnings of the movement.
Canada's baby boomer-run media has been pretending that Quebec's student protests are only about tuition, when that's merely symbolic of the boot the older generation is placing upon the necks of their kids.
On Tuesday evening, just before midnight, I was assaulted by a police officer. No warning, no explanation, just a swift swing of a nightstick to the back of my leg. The officer chasing after me threw me into a parked van. I am not a student, I don't wear a red square, and I am not on strike. This is Montreal under Bill 78.
Maclean's image of a student on its front page and in our faces, declaring: "How a group of entitled students went to war and shut down a province. Over $325." is not only inaccurate, but downright contemptuous of the next generation.