Never would I have thought that I would feel this way about the Quebec students or their protest. I was there on day two when over a hundred thousand students and their supporters marched through the streets and non violently protested the Quebec governments intention to raise their tuitions. At that time cars honked their horns in support of the students, not at all like we see today with protestors clashing with pedestrians who are just fed up with the tactics of these students and their protest.
I understood the principle of what they were fighting for at the time and I still do, but this has gotten way out of hand. With the blocking of bridges, the endangering of innocent people lives; innocent men, women and children; babies to seniors all put in danger when smoke bombs were ignited in the metros, bricks and rocks were placed on metro rails. Is stopping a tuition hike worth one human life? I do not think so, so what was the point? I have written way before the situation escalated to this point that the leaders of the protest lost their control over the more militant of the group and this protest had taken a ridiculous, ugly, dangerous face that should have been put down by force if necessary months ago with the first rocks tossed into the traffic from a highway overpass.
This Canadian, this Quebecer finds the actions of the students and the actions of the government both ridiculous. We as Canadians are negotiating with little terrorists in the making, who have decided that attacking innocent students and teachers who chose to go to class and work and do not support their efforts. The wearing of face masks and I am not talking about the ones that look like the Premiere, but the ones whose sole purpose is to hide the person’s identity like the western bad guys, but this is no movie and the injuries and possibility of death are real and so the actions to put down this type of madness by the students needs to be real as well. The punishment needs to be real as well. When you give yourself a name, elect leaders and such in my opinion you become a group acting together, so no matter who does the deed you are all guilty of conspiring to do the deed and therefore should all be punished together.
My granddaughter will be entering CGEP this year and I want her to go to class and study hard and make something of herself and I do not want her beat up for doing so by striking students. I have family and friends traveling by metro everyday to go to work and to go to school and other things and I do not want them hurt on purpose by students angry over tuition hikes, or anything else. I also am tired of being held up on purpose by students blocking bridges and streets. I say enough is enough now and both students and government need to get this protest under control. How many eyes lost is it going to take, before the students end what they call a war against the government? How long do these students intend to keep hurting and using innocent people to apply the pressure they feel is necessary to win their objective? Is this a war against the government or against all Quebecers? If we were watching this type of protest, using this type of tactics and they were Muslims, or Sri Lankins for example, what words would we be using to describe the protest and its methods and actions?
All through tis protest, I have talked to students, parents and teachers throughout Canada and the United States and they do not get what is up with Quebec university students. All I keep hearing is that their tuitions are in some cases double that of the Quebec students right now and even after the tuition hikes are fully implemented over the next few years Quebec students will still be paying less tuition to go to university then the students all over Canada and most American States. With this in mind how can the students justify the tactics that they are using to stop the increases. They can not is the answer and so they throw stones, clash with police and beat up their fellow students. In the past this type of action might not have hurt the student, but with travel restrictions being applied all over the world for people with criminal records and people not hiring people with criminal records these type of violent charges applied to your permanent record can only hurt the students future. I predict that there are going to be a lot of regrets and that this protest will not seem worth it to a lot of students getting charged and convicted today, when they have to pay the price for their actions tomorrow.
There is also the price tag for this protest to be bared on the backs of the taxpayers, that this group of students chose to attack and show no respect for. the cost for extra police, the cost to local business, the cost for extra security in the metro, in the universities and finally the cost in time by delaying people trying to get to work, to school and to appointments. Taking into consideration all of these costs to the taxpayer, why should we feel bad that this bunch of fools will have to pay a little more to go to university? The other price tag will be paid over the life time of students who have gotten themselves a criminal record, by getting themselves charged with some very serious offenses that could see them drop jail time and curtail their ability to travel throughout the world. the fines that they could have to pay are far greater than any tuition increase that will be imposed so how are they winning? The loss of a year of schooling and the none refundable tuition spells a loss to the students so again I ask what was and is the point of this protest?
Quebec has always been a little more assertive when voicing and showing its displeasure with the government, but never to the violent extreme as these students. Senator Anne Cools was involved and was arrested and jail for her participation in the SirGeorge University affair, while attending that University. “Beginning on January 29, over 400 students occupied the university’s computer lab. The occupation was sparked by the university’s mishandling of racism allegations against professor Perry Anderson at the school. Fed up with what they considered to be intransigence on the part of the administration, black and white students left a meeting and occupied the university computer lab on the ninth floor of the Henry F. Hall Building. Among the occupiers arrested was Roosevelt Douglas, who later became Prime Minister of Dominica, and Anne Cools, now a Canadian Senator. Also deeply involved was student Cheddi “Joey” Jagan, Jr., son of Guyana‘s prime minister”. Times have changed and what was once seen as an asset to be rewarded is now a road block to success. The world has been frightened into seeing terrorist around every corner and all of your personal information is being shared thousands if not millions of times a day with everyone with a computer. Unfortunately the students will not get to use this as a credit to their character and the students will never get it off of their record Prime Minister Harper has seen to that and all so these students could save at most $2000 in tuition fee hikes over several years?
In closing let me just say this,” When a person, or persons start a protest such as this takes on an action like a protest I feel that they are as guilty for the bad that comes of it as they would be glad to take the praise and the glory if all went as planned and their protest succeeded and therefore with this in mind should be dealt with under the anti gang, or organised crime act. It is not valid anymore to say I did not put the bricks on the tracks, opened smoke bombs in the metro, beat up students and teachers for attending classes. This stopped being a peaceful protest long ago when the students started to put the lives of their fellow citizens at risk of losing their lives, with their actions. I say what a waste of energy and lives. There are so many real issues out there that require this type of energy and commitment and it is being squandered on this protest and being used in the wrong way and mired in senseless violence.
- Emergency law considered in Quebec student protest (sacbee.com)
- Quebec passes law in effort to end daily protests (sacbee.com)
- Quebec rocked by student protests (guardian.co.uk)
- Den Tandt: Botched Quebec student protests have given Charest a political reprieve (canada.com)