288 protesters detained at anti-police brutality march in Montreal
March 16, 2014

Police gave protesters at the annual demonstration against police brutality just minutes before the riot squad encircled the crowd and detained 288 people on Saturday.

Lines of riot police blocked the streets around the protest at Jean-Talon St. and Chateaubriand Ave., funnelling protesters to the south down Chateaubriand, where they were immediately encircled.

The protesters were charged under municipal bylaw P-6, which requires organizers of a protest to provide their itinerary to police.

Two people suffered minor injuries during the police intervention, police spokesperson Ian Lafrenière said.  

The protest began under a heavy police presence, including cavalry, a helicopter and dozens of riot police from the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal and the Sûreté du Québec.

“It was a veritable army of police … who occupied the area surrounding the Jean-Talon métro when the protest was to start,” the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality, which organizes the annual protest, said in a written statement issued after the protest.

The COBP organized this year’s march to protest what it called “social cleansing” of homeless and marginalized citizens by police.

“The COBP denounces the fact that the SPVM has yet again demonstrated that it is incapable of tolerating protests against its brutality and police impunity,” the organization said.

The police had a different view.

“They refused to share their itinerary, and they refused to give us any details. When we got there, we asked them not to jump onto the street, and they answered by going into the street and yelling at us that they were not cooperating,” Lafrenière said. (LOL)

Police made several arrests over the next few hours as small groups of protesters moved through the neighbourhood, occasionally blocking traffic.

“The reason we apply P-6 is to prevent problems. In a case like this, with the history that we have — that protest has been going on for 18 years and unfortunately 15 years of that it went wrong,” Lafrenière said.

In past years, the protest has often devolved into vandalism and rioting, but this year police reported only two major acts of mischief. Both a police van and a CBC/Radio-Canada truck were damaged and spray-painted.

“We are still conducting investigations in regard to the mischief,” Lafrenière said.

The 288 people detained under bylaw P-6 will receive a ticket for participating in an illegal protest.

“It looks good in the media — the police can say (all of these) people were arrested, were breaking windows and stuff, but it’s not true. They were doing nothing,” said Claudine Lamothe, who narrowly escaped arrest when police surrounded the demonstration.

The first arrested protesters were released after about an hour, while others were still in police custody and waiting to be processed as of 7 p.m. The four who may face criminal charges will be held for longer, Lafrenière said.

Tamim Sujat, a McGill student and photo editor at The McGill Daily, one of the university’s campus newspapers, was among the group arrested at the beginning of the protest.

“(The police) said ‘You’re not supposed to be loitering around with cameras where you’re not supposed to be,’” Sujat said.

Sujat said he plans to contest the $638 fine with the help of the newspaper’s lawyer. Police did not recognize his student press credentials, he added.

“They said the only thing we can do is let you out before other people,” Sujat said. 

Source

270+ arrested in Montreal over freedom of assembly rallyApril 6, 2013
At least 279 protesters have been arrested in central Montreal during a rally against police tactics as police claimed the assembly was illegal, local media reported quoting law enforcers.
Protesters began gathering at Place Émilie-Gamelin on Friday evening, the Montreal Gazette website reports. Shortly afterwards police officer announced, via loudspeakers, that the demonstration was illegal.
Montreal police said three people were arrested for assault, while the rest were detained for illegal assembly, according to CBC News. No injuries were reported.
The protest was organized by the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (the CLAC) to contest a controversial bylaw.
The demonstration sought to “assert our opposition to bylaw P-6” in a year “marked by an escalation of police repression against political protesters in Montreal,” the CLAC said in a statement issued before the protest.
Bylaw P-6 requires groups to provide police with an itinerary of their demonstration beforehand. Otherwise police can declare the gathering illegal. The law also prohibits to wear masks at gatherings. The legislation carries a fine of CA$637 for the first offense.
In early March some 250 protesters were arrested in Montreal for violating P-6, as they gathered for an annual march against police brutality.
The P-6 bylaw was adopted following the surge in mass protests in Montreal in 2012. The city saw numerous massive student demonstrations last year as thousands protested tuition hikes. Some of the protests turned violent.
Source

270+ arrested in Montreal over freedom of assembly rally
April 6, 2013

At least 279 protesters have been arrested in central Montreal during a rally against police tactics as police claimed the assembly was illegal, local media reported quoting law enforcers.

Protesters began gathering at Place Émilie-Gamelin on Friday evening, the Montreal Gazette website reports. Shortly afterwards police officer announced, via loudspeakers, that the demonstration was illegal.

Montreal police said three people were arrested for assault, while the rest were detained for illegal assembly, according to CBC News. No injuries were reported.

The protest was organized by the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (the CLAC) to contest a controversial bylaw.

The demonstration sought to “assert our opposition to bylaw P-6” in a year “marked by an escalation of police repression against political protesters in Montreal,” the CLAC said in a statement issued before the protest.

Bylaw P-6 requires groups to provide police with an itinerary of their demonstration beforehand. Otherwise police can declare the gathering illegal. The law also prohibits to wear masks at gatherings. The legislation carries a fine of CA$637 for the first offense.

In early March some 250 protesters were arrested in Montreal for violating P-6, as they gathered for an annual march against police brutality.

The P-6 bylaw was adopted following the surge in mass protests in Montreal in 2012. The city saw numerous massive student demonstrations last year as thousands protested tuition hikes. Some of the protests turned violent.

Source

Police violence meets anti-police brutality protesters in Montreal
March 15, 2013

A few hundred protesters gathered at the corner of Ontario St. and St. Urbain St., just north of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal headquarters to protest against police brutality. The annual demonstration, now in it’s 17th consecutive year, started somewhat unusually, with the SPVM blocking every road leading out of the corner in an attempt to halt the march from beginning.

The demonstration was declared illegal almost immediately after its start around 5 p.m., due to organizers failing to provide an itinerary for the demonstration.

Arrests began when the crowd had yet to leave the square, resulting in a brief brawl and at least one injured protester.

As the police unblocked St. Urbain St., the crowd marched south but were forced to disperse into various groups—before making it one block down the road.

A few firecrackers were lit by protesters but the crowd was less violent than in previous years, when marches had quickly devolved into riots.

Different crowds throughout downtown were kettled, stopping the hundreds of protesters from ever regrouping. Police were reluctant to let any one out of the blockades.

For the next three hours the fractured demonstrations were broken up by SPVM officers blocking multiple street corners, forcing protesters into smaller groups, where they were then kettled and arrested.

Some protesters were released, though those who were not were identified and brought into busses to be taken to an undisclosed location.

Because of the immediate kettling, there was significantly less damage sustained than last year, when multiple store and car windows were smashed throughout the downtown core.

During one larger kettle, one injured SPVM officer was put into an ambulance on a stretcher, which elicited some cheers from the crowd. Many protesters were injured before, or during arrest, but as of now it is unknown as to how many injuries were sustained.

Last year’s demonstration saw 226 arrests. At press time, the Montreal police have announced more than 250 arrests took place Friday—most falling under article P-6, which bans the wearing of masks and requires protest organizers to provide the route of the demonstration.

Source

Quebec student movement begins the fight for free higher educationSeptember 23, 2012
Police in Montreal dispersed a student march as several hundred people took to the streets, despite the government’s recent cancellation of a proposed tuition hike, which caused massive outrage. The students are now rallying for free education.
Police arrested at least two demonstrators after projectiles were thrown, the Montreale Gazette reports.
A projectile hit a policeman in the knee, causing a slight injury, a police spokesman reported.
On her first day in office, newly elected Premier Pauline Marois said that the government was ending the tuition hike proposal and nullifying Bill 78 – an emergency law designed to curb the powerful protests.
Marois said that an inflation-only hike may be put into place. An inflation increase would raise tuition by a rate of around one to three per cent – compared to the 82 per cent increase proposed by the previous Charest government.
In addition to the cancelled fee hike, Marois has promised not to decrease funding for universities.
The news was considered a triumph for many students who spent over a year protesting against plans to raise tuition costs by $1,533 over the course of several years.
“It’s a total victory…it’s a new era of collaboration instead of confrontation,” Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (Québec Federation of University Students), told the Montreal Gazette.
“Together, we have written a chapter in the history of Quebec. Together, we have just proven that we can stand up and reach one of the student movement’s greatest victories,” he said.
However, one organization says the government’s peace offering simply isn’t good enough.
CLASSE student group says the tuition hike cancellation doesn’t put an end to the students’ battle. The organization is seeking completely free university education.
Jeanne Reynolds, a co-spokesperson for the group, says CLASSE “must celebrate a victory,” but that the struggle must continue.
Group members will take to the streets on Saturday, as they have done on the 22nd of each month since spring, to fight for tuition-free education.  It’s a concept that Quebec’s new Premier may be willing to consider.
“That’s a proposal I’m putting on the table…it’s a debate we need to have,” Marois said.
Students began the campaign against the proposed tuition hike in August 2011, with the movement quickly gaining momentum. Demonstrators hit the streets in protest just three months later.
The protests were largely peaceful until spring 2012, when tens of thousands of demonstrators began clashing with police in Montreal – leading to the arrests of thousands of students.
Many were detained under the controversial Bill 78, which restricted mass gatherings and increased fines for violations during large events.
SourcePhoto
Canadian & Chilean students are really pushing worldwide student movements forward with these massive demonstrations demanding fair education opportunities. Chile is especially radicalizing younger high school students fighting for more funding for schools and to eradicate the profit motive from higher education. Canadian students really have shown the power of unions and opposition demonstrations to keep tuition affordable so that everyone may have an equal chance at education. 
After their victory of crushing the proposed tuition hike, this is their next monumental struggle that could really send shockwaves of energy & optimism to other movements. 

Quebec student movement begins the fight for free higher education
September 23, 2012

Police in Montreal dispersed a student march as several hundred people took to the streets, despite the government’s recent cancellation of a proposed tuition hike, which caused massive outrage. The students are now rallying for free education.

Police arrested at least two demonstrators after projectiles were thrown, the Montreale Gazette reports.

A projectile hit a policeman in the knee, causing a slight injury, a police spokesman reported.

On her first day in office, newly elected Premier Pauline Marois said that the government was ending the tuition hike proposal and nullifying Bill 78 – an emergency law designed to curb the powerful protests.

Marois said that an inflation-only hike may be put into place. An inflation increase would raise tuition by a rate of around one to three per cent – compared to the 82 per cent increase proposed by the previous Charest government.

In addition to the cancelled fee hike, Marois has promised not to decrease funding for universities.

The news was considered a triumph for many students who spent over a year protesting against plans to raise tuition costs by $1,533 over the course of several years.

“It’s a total victory…it’s a new era of collaboration instead of confrontation,” Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (Québec Federation of University Students), told the Montreal Gazette.

“Together, we have written a chapter in the history of Quebec. Together, we have just proven that we can stand up and reach one of the student movement’s greatest victories,” he said.

However, one organization says the government’s peace offering simply isn’t good enough.

CLASSE student group says the tuition hike cancellation doesn’t put an end to the students’ battle. The organization is seeking completely free university education.

Jeanne Reynolds, a co-spokesperson for the group, says CLASSE “must celebrate a victory,” but that the struggle must continue.

Group members will take to the streets on Saturday, as they have done on the 22nd of each month since spring, to fight for tuition-free education.  It’s a concept that Quebec’s new Premier may be willing to consider.

“That’s a proposal I’m putting on the table…it’s a debate we need to have,” Marois said.

Students began the campaign against the proposed tuition hike in August 2011, with the movement quickly gaining momentum. Demonstrators hit the streets in protest just three months later.

The protests were largely peaceful until spring 2012, when tens of thousands of demonstrators began clashing with police in Montreal – leading to the arrests of thousands of students.

Many were detained under the controversial Bill 78, which restricted mass gatherings and increased fines for violations during large events.

Source
Photo

Canadian & Chilean students are really pushing worldwide student movements forward with these massive demonstrations demanding fair education opportunities. Chile is especially radicalizing younger high school students fighting for more funding for schools and to eradicate the profit motive from higher education. Canadian students really have shown the power of unions and opposition demonstrations to keep tuition affordable so that everyone may have an equal chance at education. 

After their victory of crushing the proposed tuition hike, this is their next monumental struggle that could really send shockwaves of energy & optimism to other movements. 

Parti Québécois leader: Tuition hikes, Bill 78 will be repealedSeptember 5, 2012
 Student leaders have been assured by the Parti Québécois that their promise to cancel the tuition hike and repeal Bill 78 will be honoured once the newly elected party takes power in Quebec City.
“We had a call from a PQ aide this morning,” said Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec. “They said they will reimburse any students who have already paid.”
She said the call was a relief for students, who were concerned that a minority PQ government might be blocked from making those changes.
“Although we will really celebrate when there is a decree, this is really a victory for our cause,” said Desjardins.
As many as 200,000 students were boycotting classes this winter and spring as students vehemently protested the Liberals’ plan to proceed with tuition increases of $254 a year for seven years this fall. This showdown with Premier Jean Charest during the “Printemps Érable” was very likely what sparked the unusual call for a summer election.
Desjardins believes social peace is a good possibility with the PQ in power and said students are happily preparing for an Estates General summit on higher education that the PQ promised in its election platform.
“We’ve been asking for that for years,” she said on Wednesday. “It is our best chance to prove we were right and to ensure there is a tuition freeze that endures.”
Source

Parti Québécois leader: Tuition hikes, Bill 78 will be repealed
September 5, 2012

 Student leaders have been assured by the Parti Québécois that their promise to cancel the tuition hike and repeal Bill 78 will be honoured once the newly elected party takes power in Quebec City.

“We had a call from a PQ aide this morning,” said Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec. “They said they will reimburse any students who have already paid.”

She said the call was a relief for students, who were concerned that a minority PQ government might be blocked from making those changes.

“Although we will really celebrate when there is a decree, this is really a victory for our cause,” said Desjardins.

As many as 200,000 students were boycotting classes this winter and spring as students vehemently protested the Liberals’ plan to proceed with tuition increases of $254 a year for seven years this fall. This showdown with Premier Jean Charest during the “Printemps Érable” was very likely what sparked the unusual call for a summer election.

Desjardins believes social peace is a good possibility with the PQ in power and said students are happily preparing for an Estates General summit on higher education that the PQ promised in its election platform.

“We’ve been asking for that for years,” she said on Wednesday. “It is our best chance to prove we were right and to ensure there is a tuition freeze that endures.”

Source

The Quebec student protest movement & the power of radical imaginationAugust 23, 2012
It is precisely against the background of growing uncertainty, despair, diminishing expectations, state violence and the crushing policies of neoliberal austerity that young people in Quebec have organized a protest movement that may be one of the most “powerful challenges to neoliberalism on the continent.”(24) Thousands of students have raised their voices in unprecedented opposition to the ideology, modes of governance and policies of the neoliberal state. The initial cause of the protest movement began in response to an increase in tuition fees announced by the Quebec provincial government in March 2011. The tuition hike was “part of the government’s effort to advance neoliberalism in Quebec by introducing new fees for public services and raising existing ones.”(25) The government’s proposal included raising tuition by $325 per year over five years with the increased fees going into effect in September 2012. The hike amounted to a 75 percent increase over five years, rising from $2,319 to $3,793 by 2017.
In February 2012, after the government refused to negotiate with organizations representing student interests, the student leaders called for a strike. Tens of thousands of students responded immediately by boycotting their classes. Many of the province’s colleges and universities were shut down as a result.
Mainstream media consistently sided with the Quebec government, downplaying the significance of the tuition increases - even as they pertained to those students who could least afford them and for whom it would have the greatest impact. Critics of the strike repeatedly drew the public’s attention to the fact that, even with the increase, tuition fees in Quebec would be among the lowest in Canada: “Average undergraduate tuition in Canada for 2011-12 is $5,366, but ranges widely from province to province. Quebec has the lowest fees, followed closely by Newfoundland and Labrador. Ontario has the highest average tuition, at $6,640 a year.”(26)However, it soon became apparent that the students viewed the tuition increase as only one symptom of an ailing and unjust social order about which they could no longer be silent.
The students preferred to speak for themselves rather than have others speak abstractly for them and about them, especially when it came to the material conditions of their own educations, their own futures. It is telling and will remain telling, that government officials and newspaper pundits responded with anxious indignation, as if wholly caught off guard by the simple fact that the students can speak - and speak intelligently, passionately and urgently about the most pressing issues facing themselves and their society. In a reversal of roles familiar to anyone who actually works in a classroom, the student also teaches the teacher. The first lesson to be learned from striking students was that the protests were about much more than fee structures. Yet, the government seemed unwilling to learn and its high-handedness touched a nerve in the larger social body of Quebec, activating new forms of dissent and solidarity.
What soon developed was a student strike of unprecedented proportions, involving more than 200,000 students and rallying many additional supporters for a mass demonstration on March 22, 2012. Moreover, as the strike progressed and expanded its base of support, over a quarter of a million joined the demonstrations on a number of occasions, and an estimated half-million people marched in Montreal on May 25, 2012. By July 2012, the Quebec student strike had emerged as not only “the longest and largest student strike in the history of North America,” but also “the biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history.”(27) 
The strike, which began as a protest against the provincial government’s plan to increase tuition fees, has developed into a popular uprising with tens of thousands post-secondary students and their supporters marching nightly in the streets of Quebec cities and in solidarity demonstrations across Canada.(28) Now a major broad-based opposition movement against neoliberal austerity measures, the Quebec student strike initiated one of the most powerful, collectively organized challenges to neoliberal ideology, policy and governance that has occurred globally in some time.
The initial phase of the movement focused almost exclusively on higher educational reform. The issues addressed in the early stage of the protests included a rejection of the province’s call for a tuition increase, a sustained critique of the underfunding of post-secondary education, a critical interrogation of the perils facing a generation forced to live on credit and tied to the servitude of debt and the opening up of a new conversation about the meaning and purpose of education - in particular, the kind of educational system that is free and removed from corporate influences and whose mission is defined around issues of justice, equality and support for the broader public good.
Students rejected the tuition hike by arguing that the increase would not only force many working-class students to drop out, but also prevent economically disadvantaged students from gaining access to higher education altogether. Expanding this critique, many students spoke of the tuition increase as symbolic of repressive neoliberal austerity measures that forced them to pay more for their education, while offering them a future of dismal job prospects when they graduated. Situating the protest against tuition hikes within a broader critique of neoliberal austerity measures, students were then able to address the fee hikes as part of the growing burden of suffocating debt, government funding priorities that favor the financial and corporate elite, the ruinous transfer of public funds into the reserves of the military-industrial complex and the imposition of corporate culture and corporate modes of governance on all aspects of daily life.
By stressing debt as an issue rather than focusing exclusively on tuition, students were able to highlight the darker registers of finance capital that increasingly closes off any possibility of a better life for themselves and everyone else in the future. Andrew Gavin Marshall has provided a theoretical service in highlighting the broader effects and politics of the debt crisis. He wrote:

Total student debt now stands at about $20 billion in Canada ($15 billion from Federal Government loans programs and the rest from provincial and commercial bank loans). In Quebec, the average student debt is $15,000, whereas Nova Scotia and Newfoundland have an average student debt of $35,000, British Columbia at nearly $30,000 and Ontario at nearly $27,000. Roughly 70% of new jobs in Canada require a post-secondary education. Half of students in their 20s live at home with their parents, including 73 per cent of those aged 20 to 24 and nearly a third of 25- to 29-year-olds. On average, a four-year degree for a student living at home in Canada costs $55,000 and those costs are expected to increase in coming years at a rate faster than inflation. It has been estimated that in 18 years, a four-year degree for Canadian students will cost $102,000. Defaults on government student loans are at roughly 14%. The Chairman of the Canadian Federation of Students warned in June of 2011 that, “We are on the verge of bankrupting a generation before they even enter the workplace.” The notion, therefore, that Quebec students should not struggle against a bankrupt future is a bankrupted argument.[29]

Connecting student opposition to the tuition hike with the broader issue of debt and the fact that “the average debt for [Canadian] university graduates is around $27,000” helped shift the focus of the strike - viewed by some critics as a narcissistic, collective temper tantrum by whiny students - to a much more public and broader set of considerations. In this instance, what was being implicated by the students calling for higher educational reforms, as Randy Boyagoda pointed out, was “a profound crisis of faith in the socioeconomic frameworks that have structured and advanced societies across North America and Europe since World War II [as well as] a rejection of the premise of the postwar liberal state: that large-scale institutions and elected leaders are capable of creating opportunities for individual citizens to flourish.”(30)
Source
As the spirit of resistance continues to grow in Quebec, I really hope that same defiance spills over to the United States. Especially considering how inflated tuition is & that student debt has surpassed $1 trillion, we really need to take a cue from those fighting austerity measures in Canada. 

The Quebec student protest movement & the power of radical imagination
August 23, 2012

It is precisely against the background of growing uncertainty, despair, diminishing expectations, state violence and the crushing policies of neoliberal austerity that young people in Quebec have organized a protest movement that may be one of the most “powerful challenges to neoliberalism on the continent.”(24) Thousands of students have raised their voices in unprecedented opposition to the ideology, modes of governance and policies of the neoliberal state. The initial cause of the protest movement began in response to an increase in tuition fees announced by the Quebec provincial government in March 2011. The tuition hike was “part of the government’s effort to advance neoliberalism in Quebec by introducing new fees for public services and raising existing ones.”(25) The government’s proposal included raising tuition by $325 per year over five years with the increased fees going into effect in September 2012. The hike amounted to a 75 percent increase over five years, rising from $2,319 to $3,793 by 2017.

In February 2012, after the government refused to negotiate with organizations representing student interests, the student leaders called for a strike. Tens of thousands of students responded immediately by boycotting their classes. Many of the province’s colleges and universities were shut down as a result.

Mainstream media consistently sided with the Quebec government, downplaying the significance of the tuition increases - even as they pertained to those students who could least afford them and for whom it would have the greatest impact. Critics of the strike repeatedly drew the public’s attention to the fact that, even with the increase, tuition fees in Quebec would be among the lowest in Canada: “Average undergraduate tuition in Canada for 2011-12 is $5,366, but ranges widely from province to province. Quebec has the lowest fees, followed closely by Newfoundland and Labrador. Ontario has the highest average tuition, at $6,640 a year.”(26)However, it soon became apparent that the students viewed the tuition increase as only one symptom of an ailing and unjust social order about which they could no longer be silent.

The students preferred to speak for themselves rather than have others speak abstractly for them and about them, especially when it came to the material conditions of their own educations, their own futures. It is telling and will remain telling, that government officials and newspaper pundits responded with anxious indignation, as if wholly caught off guard by the simple fact that the students can speak - and speak intelligently, passionately and urgently about the most pressing issues facing themselves and their society. In a reversal of roles familiar to anyone who actually works in a classroom, the student also teaches the teacher. The first lesson to be learned from striking students was that the protests were about much more than fee structures. Yet, the government seemed unwilling to learn and its high-handedness touched a nerve in the larger social body of Quebec, activating new forms of dissent and solidarity.

What soon developed was a student strike of unprecedented proportions, involving more than 200,000 students and rallying many additional supporters for a mass demonstration on March 22, 2012. Moreover, as the strike progressed and expanded its base of support, over a quarter of a million joined the demonstrations on a number of occasions, and an estimated half-million people marched in Montreal on May 25, 2012. By July 2012, the Quebec student strike had emerged as not only “the longest and largest student strike in the history of North America,” but also “the biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history.”(27) 

The strike, which began as a protest against the provincial government’s plan to increase tuition fees, has developed into a popular uprising with tens of thousands post-secondary students and their supporters marching nightly in the streets of Quebec cities and in solidarity demonstrations across Canada.(28) Now a major broad-based opposition movement against neoliberal austerity measures, the Quebec student strike initiated one of the most powerful, collectively organized challenges to neoliberal ideology, policy and governance that has occurred globally in some time.

The initial phase of the movement focused almost exclusively on higher educational reform. The issues addressed in the early stage of the protests included a rejection of the province’s call for a tuition increase, a sustained critique of the underfunding of post-secondary education, a critical interrogation of the perils facing a generation forced to live on credit and tied to the servitude of debt and the opening up of a new conversation about the meaning and purpose of education - in particular, the kind of educational system that is free and removed from corporate influences and whose mission is defined around issues of justice, equality and support for the broader public good.

Students rejected the tuition hike by arguing that the increase would not only force many working-class students to drop out, but also prevent economically disadvantaged students from gaining access to higher education altogether. Expanding this critique, many students spoke of the tuition increase as symbolic of repressive neoliberal austerity measures that forced them to pay more for their education, while offering them a future of dismal job prospects when they graduated. Situating the protest against tuition hikes within a broader critique of neoliberal austerity measures, students were then able to address the fee hikes as part of the growing burden of suffocating debt, government funding priorities that favor the financial and corporate elite, the ruinous transfer of public funds into the reserves of the military-industrial complex and the imposition of corporate culture and corporate modes of governance on all aspects of daily life.

By stressing debt as an issue rather than focusing exclusively on tuition, students were able to highlight the darker registers of finance capital that increasingly closes off any possibility of a better life for themselves and everyone else in the future. Andrew Gavin Marshall has provided a theoretical service in highlighting the broader effects and politics of the debt crisis. He wrote:

Total student debt now stands at about $20 billion in Canada ($15 billion from Federal Government loans programs and the rest from provincial and commercial bank loans). In Quebec, the average student debt is $15,000, whereas Nova Scotia and Newfoundland have an average student debt of $35,000, British Columbia at nearly $30,000 and Ontario at nearly $27,000. Roughly 70% of new jobs in Canada require a post-secondary education. Half of students in their 20s live at home with their parents, including 73 per cent of those aged 20 to 24 and nearly a third of 25- to 29-year-olds. On average, a four-year degree for a student living at home in Canada costs $55,000 and those costs are expected to increase in coming years at a rate faster than inflation. It has been estimated that in 18 years, a four-year degree for Canadian students will cost $102,000. Defaults on government student loans are at roughly 14%. The Chairman of the Canadian Federation of Students warned in June of 2011 that, “We are on the verge of bankrupting a generation before they even enter the workplace.” The notion, therefore, that Quebec students should not struggle against a bankrupt future is a bankrupted argument.[29]

Connecting student opposition to the tuition hike with the broader issue of debt and the fact that “the average debt for [Canadian] university graduates is around $27,000” helped shift the focus of the strike - viewed by some critics as a narcissistic, collective temper tantrum by whiny students - to a much more public and broader set of considerations. In this instance, what was being implicated by the students calling for higher educational reforms, as Randy Boyagoda pointed out, was “a profound crisis of faith in the socioeconomic frameworks that have structured and advanced societies across North America and Europe since World War II [as well as] a rejection of the premise of the postwar liberal state: that large-scale institutions and elected leaders are capable of creating opportunities for individual citizens to flourish.”(30)

Source

As the spirit of resistance continues to grow in Quebec, I really hope that same defiance spills over to the United States. Especially considering how inflated tuition is & that student debt has surpassed $1 trillion, we really need to take a cue from those fighting austerity measures in Canada. 

Thousands of Canadian students march in sixth mass demonstration against austerity measuresAugust 22, 2012
Thousands gathered in Place du Canada for the sixth mass demonstration to protest against university tuition fee hikes Wednesday afternoon, blowing whistles, drumming and calling for a more just Quebec.
While numbers were far short of the hundreds of thousands seen last spring, student leaders said it was the largest protest ever organized during an electoral campaign and a sign of the renewal of the protest movement.
"We already have far more than seen in the summer protests held on the 22nd of each month (which drew about 10,000 people," said Jeremie Bedard-Wien, spokesman for CLASSE. "The mobilization is starting up again."
As of 2:45 p.m., marchers were still assembling and preparing to take to the streets. Along with students, 100,000 of whom voted for a strike day Wednesday as most opted for a return to class last week, several unions and members of a coalition protesting against the privatization of public services and user fees for things like health care were also in attendance.
Student associations FEUQ and FECQ called for youth to vote en masse to oust the Liberal government that instituted the fee hikes. CLASSE, however, said the political debates have shown their demands are not being recognized, and said the fight would continue no matter who was elected.
By 3:30, the protest was starting to resemble marches of the spring, with tens of thousands clogging University St. From René Lévesque to Sherbrooke and then heading east.
Many held placards reading “I’m voting for (blank), with words like ” education” “change,”” tomorrow” and “us.” None said Charest, although many read “anyone but Charest.” There were also a few PQs and Quebec Solidaires.
CLASSE had been calling for the biggest march in history of Quebec, which was asking a lot given the election campaign that has put the issue somewhat in limbo pending its outcome.
But as CLASSE and the other student federations were hoping, Wednesday’s march proved the issues have not died down for many.
Protest perrennial Anarchopanda came out, and a few people clutched stuffed pandas, one of the student movement’s unofficial mascots.
All was peaceful, and noisy as of 3:45.
Source
Montreal leading the way for other mass student demonstrations! 

Thousands of Canadian students march in sixth mass demonstration against austerity measures
August 22, 2012

Thousands gathered in Place du Canada for the sixth mass demonstration to protest against university tuition fee hikes Wednesday afternoon, blowing whistles, drumming and calling for a more just Quebec.

While numbers were far short of the hundreds of thousands seen last spring, student leaders said it was the largest protest ever organized during an electoral campaign and a sign of the renewal of the protest movement.

"We already have far more than seen in the summer protests held on the 22nd of each month (which drew about 10,000 people," said Jeremie Bedard-Wien, spokesman for CLASSE. "The mobilization is starting up again."

As of 2:45 p.m., marchers were still assembling and preparing to take to the streets. Along with students, 100,000 of whom voted for a strike day Wednesday as most opted for a return to class last week, several unions and members of a coalition protesting against the privatization of public services and user fees for things like health care were also in attendance.

Student associations FEUQ and FECQ called for youth to vote en masse to oust the Liberal government that instituted the fee hikes. CLASSE, however, said the political debates have shown their demands are not being recognized, and said the fight would continue no matter who was elected.

By 3:30, the protest was starting to resemble marches of the spring, with tens of thousands clogging University St. From René Lévesque to Sherbrooke and then heading east.

Many held placards reading “I’m voting for (blank), with words like ” education” “change,”” tomorrow” and “us.” None said Charest, although many read “anyone but Charest.” There were also a few PQs and Quebec Solidaires.

CLASSE had been calling for the biggest march in history of Quebec, which was asking a lot given the election campaign that has put the issue somewhat in limbo pending its outcome.

But as CLASSE and the other student federations were hoping, Wednesday’s march proved the issues have not died down for many.

Protest perrennial Anarchopanda came out, and a few people clutched stuffed pandas, one of the student movement’s unofficial mascots.

All was peaceful, and noisy as of 3:45.

Source

Montreal leading the way for other mass student demonstrations! 

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois resigns as co-spokesperson of  CLASSE
August 9, 2012
Bruised by the constant demonizing attacks from the Charest government, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois has just submitted his resignation as co-spokesperson of the Coalition off the Association for Student Labor Solidarity (CLASSE) in an effort to reinvigorate the organization.
In an interview with Le Devoir, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois did not hide his weariness with the “verbal escalation" of the Liberals over the last six months with “personal attacks and degrading innuendo,” suggesting even that CLASSE is actually "a nest of terrorists”. Mr. Nadeau-Dubois is particularly outspoken against the Prime Minister. 
"I haven’t forgiven Jean Charest's fringe remarks regarding the North Fair Plan. While there were serious injuries and extreme clashes going on outside, the only thing that the leader of Quebec had to offer were  tasteless jokes with his business friends. It sticks in my craw,” he went as far as even calling Jean Charest “unworthy “.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois will no longer speak publicly for the duration of the student strike:

(roughly translated)
This letter is to inform you that I leave my office co-spokesperson of the CLASSE. After nearly six months of fighting with you, I am convinced that the CLASSE needs new faces. After participating in the national tour of the Coalition to the four corners of Quebec, I know that our struggle is entering a new stage. A step that requires a renewal: it’s time for me to draw my bow. I have done my part as a spokesperson, it is now time for others to take over.I leave with my head held high and with the conviction that I have done my duty in taking part in a people’s movement. I am a student. I am an activist. And it is for this reason that now I will continue to advance my ideals. CLASSE, with or without me, will continue to do great things: I am not and have never been a leader. By my departure, I will demonstrate this beyond any doubt.
I go, but the movement will continue. What I leave is not the mobilization or struggle, or CLASSE: I leave my role as spokesperson. I’ll still be by your side, in the street and in the assemblies. I leave with the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of having put forth the best of my abilities to build this magnificent movement. CLASSE needs new blood and I know that among my colleagues there are great people, ready and willing to take the helm.This decision is not motivated by bitterness nor desperation. Rather, I am more convinced than ever of the need to continue mobilizing over the next six months. We’ve helped stir the political and social climate in Quebec and it  is imperative for this to continue in the coming months and years ahead. The criticisms raised by Quebec youth this spring are far too deep to be settled by 35 days of an election campaign.

Source

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois resigns as co-spokesperson of  CLASSE

August 9, 2012

Bruised by the constant demonizing attacks from the Charest government, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois has just submitted his resignation as co-spokesperson of the Coalition off the Association for Student Labor Solidarity (CLASSE) in an effort to reinvigorate the organization.

In an interview with Le Devoir, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois did not hide his weariness with the “verbal escalation" of the Liberals over the last six months with personal attacks and degrading innuendo,” suggesting even that CLASSE is actually "a nest of terrorists”. Mr. Nadeau-Dubois is particularly outspoken against the Prime Minister.

"I haven’t forgiven Jean Charest's fringe remarks regarding the North Fair Plan. While there were serious injuries and extreme clashes going on outside, the only thing that the leader of Quebec had to offer were tasteless jokes with his business friends. It sticks in my craw,” he went as far as even calling Jean Charestunworthy “.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois will no longer speak publicly for the duration of the student strike:

(roughly translated)

This letter is to inform you that I leave my office co-spokesperson of the CLASSE. After nearly six months of fighting with you, I am convinced that the CLASSE needs new faces. After participating in the national tour of the Coalition to the four corners of Quebec, I know that our struggle is entering a new stage. A step that requires a renewal: it’s time for me to draw my bow. I have done my part as a spokesperson, it is now time for others to take over.

I leave with my head held high and with the conviction that I have done my duty in taking part in a people’s movement. I am a student. I am an activist. And it is for this reason that now I will continue to advance my ideals. CLASSE, with or without me, will continue to do great things: I am not and have never been a leader. By my departure, I will demonstrate this beyond any doubt.

I go, but the movement will continue. What I leave is not the mobilization or struggle, or CLASSE: I leave my role as spokesperson. I’ll still be by your side, in the street and in the assemblies. I leave with the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of having put forth the best of my abilities to build this magnificent movement. CLASSE needs new blood and I know that among my colleagues there are great people, ready and willing to take the helm.

This decision is not motivated by bitterness nor desperation. Rather, I am more convinced than ever of the need to continue mobilizing over the next six months. We’ve helped stir the political and social climate in Quebec and it is imperative for this to continue in the coming months and years ahead. The criticisms raised by Quebec youth this spring are far too deep to be settled by 35 days of an election campaign.

Source

We’re close to raising our Kickstarter goal, but we only have 40 more hours to raise the last $800.
Please give what you can. We’ll only get the money that has been pledged if we raise the full amount of $2600. Right now we’ve raised about $1900.
Your card will only be charged if we raise the full amount. Everything from $1+ helps! Thank you so much to those who have generously given so far & I genuinely hope we can get this done & pull out a successful campaign.
Also, we’ve made some big changes to our plans that we’ve been waiting to announce. We’re actually reversing our direction, starting on the east coast in D.C. at the beginning of September and moving up the coast to New York for the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. So, if you’re in D.C. or NY or Montreal or Philadelphia or Baltimore or Boston, hit us up, let’s do a tumblr meet up in the next few months.
Here’s our Kickstarter in case you are interested in helping us make this happen! PLUS: Did you see the awesome prizes we have for our backers??
Thanks again!

We’re close to raising our Kickstarter goal, but we only have 40 more hours to raise the last $800.

Please give what you can. We’ll only get the money that has been pledged if we raise the full amount of $2600. Right now we’ve raised about $1900.

Your card will only be charged if we raise the full amount. Everything from $1+ helps! Thank you so much to those who have generously given so far & I genuinely hope we can get this done & pull out a successful campaign.

Also, we’ve made some big changes to our plans that we’ve been waiting to announce. We’re actually reversing our direction, starting on the east coast in D.C. at the beginning of September and moving up the coast to New York for the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. So, if you’re in D.C. or NY or Montreal or Philadelphia or Baltimore or Boston, hit us up, let’s do a tumblr meet up in the next few months.

Here’s our Kickstarter in case you are interested in helping us make this happen! PLUS: Did you see the awesome prizes we have for our backers??

Thanks again!

Quebec protesters enter 100th day of demonstrations against austerityAugust 1, 2012
As Quebec’s political ranks gear up for a late summer election campaign, student protesters and their supporters took to the streets with renewed fervour.
For the 100th night in a row, protesters marched through Montreal streets, with many banging on pots and pans, reminiscent of evening protests that spread across the city in the spring. The number of protesters who took to the streets Wednesday was higher than it has been in recent weeks.
Some carried large red banners with anti-Jean Charest slogans, and electoral messages like “our dreams are too big for your polls.”
The protest came as Premier Charest triggered an election, with voters heading to the polls on Sept. 4.
The vote call comes on the heels of Quebec’s raucous student crisis over tuition increases, that gripped the province last winter and spring.
Many of the hundreds of people who joined the street march donned masks to mock a controversial city bylaw forbidding face coverings at public protests.
Protesters started their march in the Villeray district, north of the Jean-Talon Market, and slowly made their way south via St-Denis Street.
Several media outlets reported one protester was injured after a car hit him at the corner of Saint-Denis Street and Laurier Avenue.
The Villeray protesters joined another group in the Émilie-Gamelin Park, near UQÀM.
Police supervised the crowd and declared the protest illegal just after 9 p.m., but told people they could continue to march if they kept the peace.
Wednesday night was the 100th night in a row that students and their supporters took to the streets.
Thousands of students started to boycott classes in February to protest tuition increases. The boycott evolved into daily protests by spring.
After months of negotiations, student leaders rejected the government’s final, watered-down tuition increase offer in May.
The student-fuelled protests escalated, prompting the Liberal government to pass Bill 78, a temporary law that restricts the size and location of some protests, if authorities aren’t alerted ahead of time.
The legislation also suspended the winter semester for college and university students, effectively allowing them to retake missed classes later this year rather than losing a term.
Protesters have been subject to the rules laid out in Bill 78 since its adoption, but it’s not clear whether any of its rules have been formally implemented by police.
The passage of the bill fuelled public anger towards the government.
What was initially a student-led protest movement spread to include civil rights groups, families, and seniors.
An adjunct casserole protest movement mushroomed in May, with average people taking to the streets every night to bang on pots and pans in cities across Quebec.
The protests petered out over the summer, just as Montreal’s festival circuit kicked into high gear.
Source
The poster reads “Our dreams are too big for your polls.”

Quebec protesters enter 100th day of demonstrations against austerity
August 1, 2012

As Quebec’s political ranks gear up for a late summer election campaign, student protesters and their supporters took to the streets with renewed fervour.

For the 100th night in a row, protesters marched through Montreal streets, with many banging on pots and pans, reminiscent of evening protests that spread across the city in the spring. The number of protesters who took to the streets Wednesday was higher than it has been in recent weeks.

Some carried large red banners with anti-Jean Charest slogans, and electoral messages like “our dreams are too big for your polls.”

The protest came as Premier Charest triggered an election, with voters heading to the polls on Sept. 4.

The vote call comes on the heels of Quebec’s raucous student crisis over tuition increases, that gripped the province last winter and spring.

Many of the hundreds of people who joined the street march donned masks to mock a controversial city bylaw forbidding face coverings at public protests.

Protesters started their march in the Villeray district, north of the Jean-Talon Market, and slowly made their way south via St-Denis Street.

Several media outlets reported one protester was injured after a car hit him at the corner of Saint-Denis Street and Laurier Avenue.

The Villeray protesters joined another group in the Émilie-Gamelin Park, near UQÀM.

Police supervised the crowd and declared the protest illegal just after 9 p.m., but told people they could continue to march if they kept the peace.

Wednesday night was the 100th night in a row that students and their supporters took to the streets.

Thousands of students started to boycott classes in February to protest tuition increases. The boycott evolved into daily protests by spring.

After months of negotiations, student leaders rejected the government’s final, watered-down tuition increase offer in May.

The student-fuelled protests escalated, prompting the Liberal government to pass Bill 78, a temporary law that restricts the size and location of some protests, if authorities aren’t alerted ahead of time.

The legislation also suspended the winter semester for college and university students, effectively allowing them to retake missed classes later this year rather than losing a term.

Protesters have been subject to the rules laid out in Bill 78 since its adoption, but it’s not clear whether any of its rules have been formally implemented by police.

The passage of the bill fuelled public anger towards the government.

What was initially a student-led protest movement spread to include civil rights groups, families, and seniors.

An adjunct casserole protest movement mushroomed in May, with average people taking to the streets every night to bang on pots and pans in cities across Quebec.

The protests petered out over the summer, just as Montreal’s festival circuit kicked into high gear.

Source

The poster reads “Our dreams are too big for your polls.”

Student movement begins to stir in Ottawa
July 23, 2012
Police arrested two adults in relation to a student protest pushing for free tuition downtown Sunday.
Around 40 protesters marched from Confederation Park to Major’s Hill Park starting at 3 p.m. with pots and pans to accompany their chants for free education.
Police arrested two protesters for common nuisance and mischief later in the afternoon. Police said demonstrators caused traffic disruptions and concerns during their march from Laurier Avenue to Major’s Hill Park by splitting into different directions in what is called a “Snake March.”
Organizer Ian Brannigan, 23, said the protest was over and most of the demonstrators had dispersed when a few police officers approached the small remaining group and arrested two of them, who made no move to resist.
“It’s exactly what’s been happening in Quebec,” Brannigan said. “I’m really disappointed it’s happening in Ottawa.”
The student protest made a point to stand in solidarity with similar movements in Quebec, where Montreal students have staged strikes and protests against proposed tuition rises and other issues since February. Thousands in Montreal participated in a demonstration Sunday.
Brannigan said the Ottawa arrests were a move by police to intimidate protesters, but showed that their movement was noticed. At 7 p.m., hours after the conclusion of the demonstration, he stood outside the police station waiting for the two arrested friends, calling for his network to join him.
The demonstration is the first of its kind in Ottawa, organized by Ottawa Students Mobilize! in collaboration with Solidarity Against Austerity. The 22nd day of the month is the same date in March and May where Montreal demonstrations saw turnouts of hundreds of thousands of people.
Source

Student movement begins to stir in Ottawa

July 23, 2012

Police arrested two adults in relation to a student protest pushing for free tuition downtown Sunday.

Around 40 protesters marched from Confederation Park to Major’s Hill Park starting at 3 p.m. with pots and pans to accompany their chants for free education.

Police arrested two protesters for common nuisance and mischief later in the afternoon. Police said demonstrators caused traffic disruptions and concerns during their march from Laurier Avenue to Major’s Hill Park by splitting into different directions in what is called a “Snake March.”

Organizer Ian Brannigan, 23, said the protest was over and most of the demonstrators had dispersed when a few police officers approached the small remaining group and arrested two of them, who made no move to resist.

“It’s exactly what’s been happening in Quebec,” Brannigan said. “I’m really disappointed it’s happening in Ottawa.”

The student protest made a point to stand in solidarity with similar movements in Quebec, where Montreal students have staged strikes and protests against proposed tuition rises and other issues since February. Thousands in Montreal participated in a demonstration Sunday.

Brannigan said the Ottawa arrests were a move by police to intimidate protesters, but showed that their movement was noticed. At 7 p.m., hours after the conclusion of the demonstration, he stood outside the police station waiting for the two arrested friends, calling for his network to join him.

The demonstration is the first of its kind in Ottawa, organized by Ottawa Students Mobilize! in collaboration with Solidarity Against Austerity. The 22nd day of the month is the same date in March and May where Montreal demonstrations saw turnouts of hundreds of thousands of people.

Occupy Newfoundland holds Saturday Demonstration
June 16, 2012
Roughly 75 people gathered at Confederation Building on Saturday afternoon to display their displeasure with changes to the province’s information laws.
The protest was organized by Occupy NL.
The bill passed in the early hours of Friday morning.
Critics say the legislation goes too far, and gives the government a broad array of powers to withhold information from the public.
Source

Occupy Newfoundland holds Saturday Demonstration

June 16, 2012

Roughly 75 people gathered at Confederation Building on Saturday afternoon to display their displeasure with changes to the province’s information laws.

The protest was organized by Occupy NL.

The bill passed in the early hours of Friday morning.

Critics say the legislation goes too far, and gives the government a broad array of powers to withhold information from the public.

Source