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View Diary: The Largest Act of Civil Disobedience in Canadian History (154 comments)

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  •  A few important things to remember (15+ / 0-)

    There are a few factors explaining the resolve of Quebec students in this conflict with the Quebec government (education is a provincial judisdiction under the Canadian constitution).

    The tuition fees debate is still front and center (and it's probably hard to comprehend from a narrow Canado-centric perspective). But if you compare Quebec tuition fees among OECD countries, they're above average at $2168/year, way over the fees paid in non-English speaking countries.

    This low-tuition is not costing a lot of money. Right now, tuition fees bring in $200M a year on an $70B provincial budget. So, it's a legitimate option, although most student unions (except the more militant CLASSE) would be happy with a freeze.

    However, the current situation cannot simply be explained by a corporatist demand by a bunch of «spoiled brats», as the students are called in the pro-government press. Students, like most Quebecers are angry at the Liberal (center-right federalist) government of Premier Jean Charest. Fatigued by more than 9 years in power, flirting with record unpopularity (75% in recent polls), Charest had to deal with a slew of scandals exposed by investigative journalists related to shady public works contracts, dubious electoral contributions and inappropriate dealings with the local branch of the Sicilian mafia, which led to the resignation of two cabinet ministers in the past 18 months.

    The integrity of the liberals is so weak, it had to accept the creation of a Commission of inquiry on construction contracts and political financing, which began its hearings yeaterday.

    Add to this the repression against the students over the last 14 weeks, the failure to negotiate in good faith and the blatantly unconstitutional nature of many article of the special law adopted in less than 24 hours last weeks and you have all the ingredients of a perfect political "perfect storm" of epic proportions.

    •  exactement (0+ / 0-)

      I recc'ed the diary because this is of interest to me and i sympathise with the students. But there is a whole other machinery at work here. That's not to say that the students are being disingenuous, but that the demonstrations themselves are being manipulated by other forces. The Black Bloc is one such but there are wheels turning beyond even that, which the emotional protesters likely have not considered.

      All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

      by subtropolis on Wed May 23, 2012 at 12:41:25 AM PDT

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      •  The black block is overstated (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, Russgirl, ozsea1, tardis10

        Black bloc tactics are used by anarchists, that's for sure and we see that every night during the nightly demonstrations downtown. They're the ones making trouble and legitimate protesters often protect buildings from their mischief. However, there is something else at work.

        Tonight, for the second night in a row, thousands of Montrealers descended in the streets to bang pots and pans in residential neighborhoods as part of spontaneous protests against the new law restricting basic freedoms of speech and association.


        On Twitter, the hashtag #casseroles was filled with pictures of these cacerolazo, inpired by the Chilean protests of the 70s.

        •  What is it with Romance languages and pots? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, ClaudeB, ozsea1

          I can't think of an English-speaking country that's ever done protested that way.  Don't we have pots too?

          Romney '12: The Power of Crass Commands You!

          by Rich in PA on Wed May 23, 2012 at 04:00:05 AM PDT

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          •  A catchword in English is "Tin Pot Dictator" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ClaudeB

            Don't know if the direct translation is idiomatic in Spanish, too.

            In South America, banging pots and pans was a feature of protests against juntas in a number of countries.  Being household items, pots and pans are a low-cost way to make a lot of noise.  Only a Baghdad Bob-style authoritarian propagandist would attempt to characterize pots and pans as "weapons" and as some sort of threat to public order.

        •  overstated but not negligible (0+ / 0-)

          Anyhoo, if i were there i'd be out there with my pot, nonetheless.

          Thanks for the vids. I'm too late to leave a tip.

          All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

          by subtropolis on Sat May 26, 2012 at 11:37:01 AM PDT

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      •  Are you now claiming that The Black Bloc (5+ / 0-)

        is a nefarious force manipulating students?

        Or is "The Black Bloc" just another smear to mix into the stew?

        "Black Bloc" is a tactic, not a group.

        The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

        by JesseCW on Wed May 23, 2012 at 05:32:48 AM PDT

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        •  yes and no (0+ / 0-)
          Black Bloc is one such
          And i'm not sure i'd call them nefarious. I think they believe their intentions are sound, and i'd probably find myself agreeing with some of their arguments. But i also think they are quite misguided in many respects.

          And how can it be a "smear" when it's patently obvious that they are involved? I'm not saying that they are running the show here. Rather, they (as usual) have attempted to insert themselves in an attempt to cause disturbance.

          "Black Bloc" is a tactic, not a group.
          Oh, good grief! They are people who have adopted a tactic. Is that clear enough for you?

          All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

          by subtropolis on Sat May 26, 2012 at 11:44:05 AM PDT

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      •  so WHO are your "string-pullers"? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, ClaudeB, ozsea1

        You keep refering to some mysterious conspiracy of 'string pullers' but only mention the Blac Block which we all know has very few strings to pull. You need to explain just who you think these all powerful conspirators are..

        America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

        by cacamp on Wed May 23, 2012 at 11:00:50 AM PDT

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        •  how about separatists? (0+ / 0-)

          I thought i did mention that in another comment.

          I don't mean the PQ, necessarily. It wouldn't do for officials to get their hands dirty. And i'm also not talking about every proponent of Quebec separation from Canada. Rather, these protests have been a conveneient way for the other side to put the government wrong-footed.

          ANd just to be clear: I'm not calling the protesters dupes. I believe they have very legitimate grievances.

          All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

          by subtropolis on Sat May 26, 2012 at 11:51:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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