Letters to the Editor

Monday, 4 June 2012

Fredericton to rally in support of Quebec protests

Where: N.B. Legislature Building in Fredericton

When: Wednesday, June 6, 8 pm

What: Bring a metal pot and a wooden spoon or anything that makes some noise to sound out your support for the Quebec student movement!

Why: In NB, students pay the second highest tuition in the country.

How:  Bus, bike, car pool, walk, thumb a ride - just get there!

In March 2011, Jean Charest's Quebec Liberal Party announced plans in their 2011-2012 budget to increase Quebec university fees by $325 per year over 5 years. The current average tuition would increase by 75%

Beginning February 13, 2012, students associated with one of Quebec's student federations walked out of their classes to protest proposed tuition increases. 15,000 students had joined the strike by 23 February, 70,000 by the end of that month and 250,000 by the middle of March. Striking students from colleges, and universities held a vote, demanding that the government rescind the planned fee increases and place a freeze on fees before returning to class.

With the collapse of negotiations between student groups and the government, the evening of Thursday, May 31st, was another evening of noisy protest throughout Quebec in dozens of cities and towns. In Montreal alone, there were several dozen actions taking place, the largest of which, according to Radio Canada, gathered more than 10,000 people. In Quebec City, police moved on a large protest and arrested participants.

In trying to prevent further protest, the Charest government adopted Bill 78, seeking to restrict freedom of assembly, protest, or picketing on or near university grounds, and anywhere in Quebec without prior police approval. The law also places restrictions upon education employees right to strike. It was drafted by members of the Quebec Liberal Party, introduced by Education Minister Michelle Courchesne, and passed with the support of the Coalition Avenir Qu├ębec party in response to ongoing student protests over proposed tuition increases.

Just as in Quebec, so too across Canada, a rising popular movement is emerging to demand not only quality education but a different vision for society than the destructive, dog-eat-dog model of the country's present rulers.

How is this significant for Frederictonians?

Besides the high tuition charged by two local universities, there is a parallel to Bill 78 in Fredericton. On Monday, April 23rd, the Mayor and City Council passed by-law L-12, an 'emergency' by-law against protesting in parts of Fredericton, especially Phoenix Square and Officer's Square. 

For more information go to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/417833678237364/


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