Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I ♥ Montreal

If you live in Canada you have to have heard about the student protests in Montreal against university tuition hikes. It hasn't been a very popular movement with the rest of the society here and across Canada until the Quebec government passed Bill 78 - A law stipulating that demonstrations of more than 50 people must give advance notice and get police approuval. So basically not allowing spontaneous gatherings of students to protest, fining the student leaders exorbitant amounts of money if they do, threatening to take back their funding to student associations as well as arresting peaceful protesters indiscriminately.

I for one felt worried that the law against our democratic right to protest would be extended as it has been with the G20 demonstrations and other controversial legislation of democratic rights of strikers being returned to work. Canadians  pride ourselves on being a peaceful democratic country but the media and the population's disdain for students and protesters has shocked me. Not all people who are out protesting are there to make trouble but the reactions to the protests seem to suggest that it is okay for the students to be beaten and arrested.

I do not agree with violence against anyone so I am not advocating that students be violent either and I don't agree with every little thing that has happened during the student protests but there have been over 1500 arrests.. One protester was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet and is now blind and another fighting for his life in a hospital with a severed spinal cord and very little chance of survival. When my twenty something year old goes to a protest I do not expect to get a call to go to the hospital. Who's fault is this? THIS IS CANADA! What has happened to us? I think that even the worst troublemakers should have the basic rights criminals have.

Monday jurists protested against Bill-78 calling it unconstitutional. At this point there is a segment of the population who thinks that it is ENOUGH. The government can't go on bullying the students and forcing us all to live in a police state. As much as the student's tuition is relatively lower than other provinces you can't easily compare us to other provinces because we are the highest taxed province in Canada and the most policed.

People from seven to seventy seven have taken to the streets to join with the students in PEACEFUL protest by banging on pots and pans as the Chileans did when Chilean dictator Pinochet decided that all gatherings of more than 4 people was illegal. This has become a social movement in support of the students and it is now even larger than that! It is a people being fed up with the blatant disregard for democratic rights. Today other cities in Canada are joining the protest and even a few cities in the states like New York. I hope you are one of the many people to stand up and be part of this moment in history. I'll be there tonight with a pot lid and a wooden spoon. Watch this video it may inspire you to join to! If not it will at least move you.  

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