some printemps erable links
Here are a handful of English language links about the ongoing protests in Quebec. I have a bunch more that I’ll collect later, mostly from the Quebec French press and the Guardian.
Toronto Standard: Toronto’s Maple Spring?
While in Quebec the casseroles were a way to express anger at what people felt was an attack on rights and freedoms, in Toronto it has become a call to action and way to support the Quebec movement while protesting austerity measures in this city. After the success of the first Casseroles Toronto (which sparked simultaneous actions across Canada), a second took place this Wednesday, June 6. With just a pot and a pan and no specific message, the action has broad appeal. Schofield notes that people feel empowered when the action is rooted in their own neighborhood and they feel engaged. “You can come out of your home with your pot and everybody is participating in it,” she says.
New York Times: Our Not So Friendly Northern Neighbor
Americans should take note of what is happening across the quiet northern border. Canada used to seem a progressive and just neighbor, but the picture today looks less rosy. One of its provinces has gone rogue, trampling basic democratic rights in an effort to end student protests against the Quebec provincial government’s plan to raise tuition fees by 75 percent.
On May 18, Quebec’s legislative assembly, under the authority of the provincial premier, Jean Charest, passed a draconian law in a move to break the 15-week-long student strike. Bill 78, adopted last week, is an attack on Quebecers’ freedom of speech, association and assembly. Mr. Charest has refused to use the traditional means of mediation in a representative democracy, leading to even more polarization. His administration, one of the most right-wing governments Quebec has had in 40 years, now wants to shut down opposition.
Real News Network: How Did Quebec Students Mobilize Hundreds of Thousands for Strike
Three students discuss the role of direct democracy and political demands in building a massive movement. [Video]
Al Jazeera: Quebec’s Conflict of Contrasting Social Visions
At a time of financial crisis, banks in Canada and Quebec are securing record profits, over $22.4bn in 2011, a 15 per cent increase from the previous year. Given record bank profits in 2012 and recent reports outlining a secret $114-billion bailout at the height of the financial crisis, the Quebec student proposal to create a relatively tiny tax on financial institutions to benefit education is gaining public traction.
Rapidly moving beyond a debate on controversial university tuition hikes, Quebec’s student rebellion now revolves around a deeper political discord in Quebec, a clash of social visions for public universities in an era of austerity economics. As Liberal politicians fight to increase student fees, on the streets students are openly campaigning for a shift toward free, publicly accessible university education, a vision that holds deep social roots in Quebec.