Quebec cops kettle and mass-arrest demonstrators

In the Globe and Mail a Canadian Press report by Nelson Wyatt on the mass-kettling and arrest of protesters in Montreal last night. A long-running and hard-fought student strike over tuition hikes led to the passage of a shameful law that limits the rights of protesters. Quebeckers are out in force to protest this law, and often in sympathy with the students' demands. The police have responded with "kettling," the tactic of cordoning off a large area and declaring the resulting space to be a civil-rights-free zone, such that anyone caught inside is arbitrarily detained without access to shelter, food, health services, or toilets. (Above, a photo of Montreal police pepper-spraying demonstrators at a march last week).

Riot officers stood impassively around the corralled demonstrators, feet planted and batons clutched in gloved hands. On a nearby street, a Quebec provincial police officer was seen snapping a rod topped with the flag of the hardcore anti-capitalist Black Bloc and tossing it between two parked cars.

Police on horseback also provided reinforcement as officers sorted out the crowd.

Emmanuel Hessler, an independent filmmaker who had been following the march for a few blocks, said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press from inside the police encirclement that he was surprised by the action, saying, “Suddenly, there were police all around us.”

While the crowd waited to be led away one by one to be handcuffed and sent for processing at a police operational centre – a procedure expected to take several hours – a man started reading poetry and the crowd hushed to listen. Someone else sang a folk song. At one point a woman called out the phone number of a lawyer which the mob took up as a chant.

Mr. Hessler, 30, was able to tweet to friends, “We are about to get cuffed and off in a bus. Don’t know what happens after. Wish me luck.”

Some demonstrators who had escaped the police cordon continued to march elsewhere while others milled about beyond the police lines and cheered as buses took the detainees away.

400 arrested as Montreal police kettle demonstrators (Thanks, Mom!)

(Image: IMG_6450, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from 79393030@N04's photostream)


  1. >
     shameful law that limits the rights of protesters
    Shameful, perhaps, when taken out of context. Perfectly appropriate when you consider the damage caused by said protesters. They have broken many a window, have thrown smoke bombs in the subway, have attacked police with rocks, and much more, all many times. They physically prevent students who want to go to school from going to school. They are a minority of the students in this province, yet they violently impose their will on others.  Most law-abiding, reasonable people in this province support the government and the police in their efforts to stop the students from breaking the city of Montreal. I would have expected more from BoingBoing.

    1. “They have broken many a window, have thrown smoke bombs in the subway, have attacked police with rocks” <- these are already crimes. why do they need a new law?

    2. A few broken windows vs the Liberal Party’s ties with organized crime. I wonder which one the government will tackle with most urgency, uh?

    3. As a Montreal elementary teacher who regularely join the protests, I most disagree.

      I do not think a few broken insured bank windows justifies the suspension of  civil rights. Far from being perfectly appropriate.

      The students have broken a few insured bank windows. Two students lost an eye during brutal police interventions. I think a vast majority of protesters are absolutely peaceful, and the police response is violent and inefficient.

      A vast majority of students support the strike -are at least against the tuition raise as we might expect– even if their student association did’nt vote to take part of it.

      The students participate in democratic association who vote to conduct or not, the strike. When some rich kid pays an attorney to coax a Liberal party appointed judge and obtains an injunction to attend class, it’s only normal that the student prevent the to do it physically, as workers would prevent scabs to enter their factory.

      As the public opinion is shifting in favor of the student’s cause, lets not forget the abolition of slavery was very impopular at first. We don’t want students to indebt themselves while multinationals, mining companies and banks make record profit and pay little tax.

      We appreciate your attention. Thanks a lot, Boing boing.

      For more neutral info:

      1. Did you just compare the principle “government is entitled to raise tuition fees at public schools by a reasonable amount indexed to inflation” to slavery? Really?

        1.  No I did’nt mean that, of course. Maybe I should have stressed more the reason why I wrote that.

          I meant, in response to BugleBoyRoy, to say some ideas are at first impopular, but right and just. And I think  ideas and causes should not be dismissed because they are impopular.

          Now if we could get rid of that nazi goverment…

          1. wysinwyg, she’s from Quebec.  The majority language is  French.  She did a better job of speaking in a second language (English) than I would have trying to speak French.

          2.  I am a francophone male teacher, true. ;)

            Wysinwig, be reassured. I keep politically incorrect humor out of the classroom. My innocent pupils are safe! Boing Boing is blocked at school anyways.

    4.  That may be the case, I will not pretend to be informed about the situation. However what is plain to see is that the actions of the police are reinforcing the negative image of the police officer as the boot heel of the government. This is a vicious cycle of negative policing that fuels anarchy which in turns generates harsher laws that the police are required to uphold which damages their image and so on until you get an utter breakdown of government. If you don’t speak out against unjust laws and actions, who will speak up for you when they come for you?

    5. Why create a new law? Isn’t throwing smoke bombs into subways, breaking windows, and all that already illegal? Why not handle each case based on merit rather than create a sweeping law limiting the freedom of all Québécois. I would have expected more from Montreal.

    1. Wow. Even given that the columnist is extremely biased, some of the provisions of the law are incredible. Per se illegal to picket at colleges and universities? Wow.

      What is the Canadian jurisprudence on this? In the U.S. we’d be looking at whether the restrictions are reasonable based on their time, method, and place. Restricting all pickets from an otherwise public place would fail this test immediately.

      1. It’s “emergency law” that’s meant to be temporarily in place to deal with this one “crisis” and that will go away once it’s resolved. It’s not unlike the power grabs you see during times of war or natural disasters in most places in the world. The fact they are doing this to deal with protestors seems excessively heavy-handed, however. It’s not a crime to object to government policy.

        1. Do you have an example of an emergency law being rescinded once the crisis is over?

        2. Meh. When the emergency is “protesting” and the law bans “protesting” then your right to petition (which I realize Canadians may not have as apparently enshrined as Americans do) is not much of a right at all.

    2. The problem with The Guardian is that they don’t really know what they’re talking about. It’s Quebec news, but written from Britain, for a British purpose. 

      It says things like this:

      The clarity that has fired the students’ protest has, until now, conspicuously eluded most of English-speaking Canada. This is because the image of the movement has been skewed and distorted by the establishment media. Sent into paroxysms of bafflement and contempt by the striking students, they have painted them as spoiled kids or crazed radicals out of touch with society, who should give up their supposed entitlements and accept the stark economic realities of the age.
      All this is said with a straight face. But young people in Quebec, followed now by many others, have not been fooled. They know the global economic crisis of 2008 exposed as never before the abuses of corporate finance, and that those responsible were bailed out rather than held to account. They know that meetings of international leaders at the G20 end by dispatching ministers home to pay the bills on the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable, with tuition hikes and a toxic combination of neoliberal economic policies.

      Which is true enough, if who you’re speaking to is the Occupy Movement in Britain. The Quebec students aren’t protesting for Canadians against inequality in wealth distribution. They’re protesting their provincial government for free tuition, which means protesting the federal government for increased provincial transfer payments, because this is honestly the unspoken rule of Quebec governance. They haven’t put any limit on how the province should pay, which means they’re protesting their government for an increased share of the country’s tax revenue, to fund an education that already costs half what it costs elsewhere in Canada. And they don’t really have any interest in determining the source of those funds. It would be one thing if they were to be standing up for free tuition coupled to banking/tax reform. But they aren’t, at least not to my knowledge.

      The demonization in Canadian media comes from this fact – that they are protesting for themselves, against the rest of Canada. The federal canadian government has a storied and scandalous history of buying votes in Quebec, and whether good or bad, the province has gotten used to the tactic working. English Canada feels aggrieved, even though we should be protesting our own government for reduced tuition fees. We SHOULD be supporting them, just as we should be supporting ourselves, but the protest is framed in such a way that it is difficult to think of the quebec student movements as anything but entitled. And their movement hasn’t done anything to endear themselves to the rest of Canada.

      The Charest Government clearly went stupid though. Bill C78 is idiotic in the extreme. They literally could not have done anything worse to rouse sentiment against them.

      1. I don’t know if you are from Mtl, but if not, you have to know that CLASSE, the most radical of the student unions, proposed exactly that: funding free education with a tax on financial institution… that already existed but was ended by the liberals a couple years ago. They justify their fight for a freeze on tuition fees by the fact that higher fees would reduce education access for women and immigrants.

        It is also the first time that so many english speaking montrealers supported the movement. Concordia University community TV (CUTV) have been broadcasting live the abusive force of the police for the past 100 days. Lots of links are being tied between canadian student unions and the three quebec student unions…

        Of course, who knows how many canadians know that: the National Post and the Globe and Mail have done all they could to reduce the importance of the movement in the past 100 days and now try to portray Quebec as the greeks of Canada…

        1. Yes I certainly read all the CLASSE documents. And I certainly agree with them. It would be wonderful if you could fund free education by taxing the banks, or by re-structuring Quebec tax system, but the reality of it is that you won’t. CLASSE certainly doesn’t think of Quebec as a province. The literature is markedly devoid of any reference to even belonging to a nation, much less attempting to limit the Quebec government’s ability to appeal to Ottawa for increased funding. It would make them a lot of friends outside the province if they were to explicitly state that, but they don’t. And there’s a reason for that. They don’t want to take the option off the table, because that option is very frequently successful. 

          And people outside are more or less sympathetic to the Quebec student movement. They certainly hate the Charest government’s stupid measures en masse. 

      2. you don’t know what you’re talking about! Canadian Media not biased againt ANYTHING progressive happening in Québec???


        1. I don’t even understand what you’re trying to say. This whole sentence is gibberish.

          Are you saying the Canadian media is biased against Quebec? Okay, sure. National Post and Canwest are. The Globe is pretty neutral, generally. The Toronto Star is fairly sympathetic overall.

          But in case you haven’t noticed, Quebec is generally hostile or actively indifferent to the rest of the country. It might help the media perception of organizations if they were to reach out to the rest of Canada for support. But organizations like CLASSE would then be decidedly non-separatist. Which I don’t see as something that’s going to happen. I think CLASSE knows how to appeal to it’s constituents, and its constituents are separatist.

      3. The Guardian has it exactly right, and you are among the ranks of people who do not understand. This is a branch of the Occupy movement.

        Quebec students do indeed have it better off than students in other provinces. That is not the point. The point is that across the country, tuition is over five times the level they were at in the 80’s, far outstripping inflation. Where is that money going? Are professors paid five times as much? Do colleges and universities have five times the resources they did before? No.

        As with the banking and investment sectors since the 80’s, the folks controlling the money have decided that the folks controlling the money deserve more money. This is a problem, sir, and we have had enough of it.

        How about: students take a small tuition hike, the government contributes a tiny bit more, the universities and colleges find a way to streamline their operations, and professors and admin staff take a small pay cut? That way everyone bears some of the pain. But no. Charge the students and crack their heads.

  2. So incredible everybody is now pissed at the PM.
    yesterday, people gathered spontaneously in my neighborhood to protest it.

  3. Let’s remember here that the protest is over a trivial increase to tuition that still leaves Quebec’s post-secondary system the cheapest in North America. They’re not exactly standing up for a vital civil right.

    1. So what constitutes an appropriate protest topic?

      Jesus, you wonder why students everywhere else are drowning in debt and living in their childhood bedrooms until age 35, while Quebec students pay a reasonable fee, one comparable to what our parents paid? BECAUSE THEY PROTEST.

      1. They can protest all they like. I just won’t treat it with the same respect as protesting something with an actual moral dimension.

        (Also, they’re currently not paying what their parents paid, adjusting for inflation – they’re paying less. Is it really an injustice to pay the exact same amount their parents did, taking inflation into account?)

          1. Exactly. Worked for me. I didn’t murmur a peep as the fees increased out of pace with inflation every year, and I owe about $40,000. Now I shall protest! OCCUPY THE … something… shit I’m late for my min-wage job.

        1. Depends how you look at it, really. While it’s true that tuition hasn’t kept pace with inflation since the last hike, it’s not far off from what it was in the 60s.

          Of course there are other factors – tax credits, minimum wage changes, other costs of living changes, extra fees & textbook costs, etc. It’s more complicated than just a single number compared to inflation.

          Here’s a quick look at some of those numbers:

      2. I don’t know about Quebec but here in the States colleges are engaged in a high price arms race for students that have no concept of what it is like to scimp by on the essentials. 

        Occupy Atlanta had a large representation from the student of Georgia State University. They were demanding cheaper access to education. These are the same students who voted of their own free will to increase their student fees by hundreds of dollars so they could have a football team.  The school this week started installing three beach volleyball courts, complete with grandstands, and lighting for nighttime game play. All of this on expensive downtown real estate.  Compare the dorms and private apartments that the typical student lives in to those of a few decades ago. Many students have been led to believe they are entitled to a luxury lifestyle (though they don’t think of it as being luxury because it’s all they’ve ever known) while in college. Only the students can stop this amenities arms races by choosing schools that don’t install rock climbing walls, beach volleyball courts, athletic teams that have to be subsidized by student fees or the university’s general fund. They can stop picking high end apartments while leaving the basic but functional old dorms empty (which causes schools to respond by building dorms with amenities to match those of the private market but also higher prices).

        This of course doesn’t apply to every single student or every single school but it is very widespread and is as much to blame for the rising costs as anything else. 

      3.  As a student in another province in Canada who pays more than twice what a student in Quebec is now paying, and will still be paying more than them even once their tuition increases come into effect (and they are spread out over 7 years so there’s an excellent chance that tuition in my province will have increased by then as well) I feel absolutely no sympathy for these students protesting. 

        But I mean hey, if they want to stop accepting provincial transfer payments and make education free with their own tax dollars then power to ’em!

        Until then they need to shut up and do their fair part.

        That being said this protest law does seem pretty extreme….

    2. Tuition in Quebec’s neighbor province (Ontario) is circa 6000US$. Next year it will be 15% more. Its a good thing we protest once in awhile.

      1. It was $5000 when I finished my BA in 2006. (And I paid $2000, thanks to keeping my entrance scholarship the whole way through, as can most people capable of coming out of high school with an A average.) Gradual inflation! Scholarships! The horror!

        1. You are obviously smart and good with money! I salute you, AVR! You should feel very proud of yourself and I bet you sleep like a contented newborn.

        2. You’re absolutely right! With every student in the entire university system getting an entrance scholarship (thanks to the amazing government funding schemes that keep increasing their support of Universities), these “entitled” students are just lazy! Your experience six years ago before the big financial crisis is *obviously* relevant today.

          And with all these students getting well-paying jobs to fund their tiny little debt loads after university, it’s such a simple problem! I mean, it’s not like we’re bankrupting an entire generation of youth because governments are paying to bail out banks and failed corporations, which turn into huge bonuses and golden parachutes for a very small group of people, right? And then turning around and penny-pinching the groups that need social funding the most–schools, transit, universities–because they ran out of money and those are the easiest groups to target without raising too much opposition. It’s not like investing in an educated populace is one of the smartest long-term investments a society can make, right?

          No, it’s about these “entitled” students who are just too lazy trying to juggle two or three minimum wage jobs, working long hours so that their school work suffers and they don’t qualify for these amazingly easy scholarships.

    3. Let’s remember that the government is in bed with organized crime and have done everything they could to stop investigations.
      Let’s remember that the government has no problem wasting our taxes on their corporate friends, like a new arena in Quebec City.
      Let’s remember that the government is preparing to give away our natural resources to foreign interests.
      Let’s remember that this government is trying to make it illegal to protest against said government, with an election coming?

      Nothing to see here. Just go home and stop complaining before we find an excuse to arrest you.

      1. The Liberal Party of Quebec and the Quebec government are incredibly corrupt, and I have no love for either. That isn’t really justification for tuition to be frozen forever, in the real world.

        1. Countries that offer students free or cheap tuition don’t exist in the real world? Really?

          1. That wasn’t an answer.

            Is the fact that the government is corrupt, prima facie, a reason that tuition cannot be raised from “incredibly cheap” to “very, very cheap?”

          2. That wasn’t an answer.

            The question was asinine. I was more interested in why you think free or low tuition is an impossible feat. Personally, I’d happily pay more in taxes to make college and university more affordable. Maybe even free! There’s your answer. Sorry it’s not black and white, sometimes life is more complex.

        2. I think Sirkowski’s point may have been that the government will happily waste all tax monies on crony capitalist deals and influence schemes if people don’t protest, thereby encouraging the government to put the money to good use.

          I can’t think of too many better uses of tax money than maximizing the access to higher education for Canada’s next generation of engineers, scientists, thinkers, and leaders.

          Tell me something.  When you’re trying to haggle do you start off by telling the person exactly how much you’re willing to pay?  Think of protesting as a way for citizens to bargain with their government.

      2. And let’s not forget that all these notions you’re proposing as facts are mostly hot air, mere allegations and outrageous exaggerations.

        Except for the part about giving away our resources, but “about to” hardly does it justice, nor is it anything new. Our governments have been doing it for generations.

        Maybe it’s because our shoddy and crumbling educational system keeps us from developing local entrepreneurial talent that doesn’t run for the border the second it graduates. Gee, maybe raising tuitions to a competitive level might help some. Maybe if we stopped living in the past.

        I frankly don’t see how this particular government has done that’s any worse than its eternal opponent, le Parti Québécois, who’s in bed with Big Labour instead of Big Business. You wanna talk corruption? Leave a party in power for too long, it always happens, on either side. But no, you act like it’s all new, oozing with bad faith and intellectual dishonesty.
        Free education is often worth just what it costs.

        I guess these kids are so used to getting their music and movies for free that the only people they’re comfortable making rich are telecoms and other megacorporations. Gotta have their creature comforts, man!

    4. They were not standing up for a vital civil right until Bill 78.

      Quebec’s post-secondary system may be the cheapest in North America , but North America is not known worldwide for its good and equitable education systems.

      1. I agree, actually. And it’s a shame the basically idiotic complaint about a trivial tuition increase is going to lessen their credibility when protesting the ridiculous and patently unconstitutional parts of the emergency law.

        1. I wish I was as comfortable as you – a couple of hundred dollars is far from a trivial amount of money to some of us. And AFAIK the latest “offer” is $250/year for seven years, so the increase is about $1700.

          1. $250/year is about $21/month, or 70 cents a day.

            I’m pretty skeptical of the notion that there exist Quebec students who can afford tuition now, but can’t possibly afford that.

          2. Aren’t the tuitions heavily subsidised by the government? I think they’re just trying to get the students to pay their fair share – and spreading it out over 7 years seems reasonable – most students will have moved through the system before they reach the maximum tuition. It’s greedy that students should demand that IF the system cannot support it. 

            Also, would this not only apply to new students? The tuition at my college went up the year after I started but I was grandfathered in.

          3. Have you forgotten that the government offers generous loans and bursaries for people who can’t afford an education?

    5. Without regard to the content of the protest, the law, as described is completely repugnant. I don’t care what ANYONE is protesting, this sort of law ought to be protested.

      1. Bill 78 absolutely ought to be protested. The problem is that the protestors’ moral and political capital has largely been already expended to take the stand that cheap education can never be indexed to inflation.

        1. Well, that’s bad politics by the government. Start with arguably unreasonable, radical students protesting, end up with all of North America trying to figure out WTF happened to Canada.

      2. Right on.  Whether you agree with any particular protest is a lot less important than maintaining the liberty to protest in the first place.  And when you do that, some people are going to protest about stuff you think is trivial or even stuff you think shouldn’t be protested.  Different people have different values and different priorities.  Most reasonable human beings learn to understand and live with this.

        1. You don’t seem to understand. Nobody has a problem with protests. It’s the vandalism, intimidation and destruction of property that no one likes. If the students simply held protests, we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re now in. Peaceful protests, that is.

  4. I have nothing intelligent to add to this conversation, but I will say that I’ve enjoyed visiting Montreal many times in the past, and these developments sadden me greatly. 

    1. Montreal is still great and I’m proud to make it my adopted home. Montreal will survive this.

      (This is not meant to diminish the seriousness of what is happening).

  5. For one The Globe and Mail can hardly be accused of radicalism or even left leaning policy… 

    Still after going to a few demonstration (last night was the 30th consecutive night of protest) I have yet to seen the now famous “objects thrown to the police” which night after night serve the purpose of charging (sometimes beating the crap out) and arresting protesters.

    Before the 500-ish arrestation last night, the arrest count was already around 2000. Wich is an awfull lot for a downtown where you you’d be hardpress to spot any plywood window.

    The governement in all it’s wisdom saw fit to suspend the liberty of association (any protest/gathering of more than 50 persons is now illegal unless it get approval by Police) 

    This obviously only made matter worst and the protest has spread way beyond the student movement.  

    Spontanous gathering happen every night at 8 where everyone is invited to just go to their front porch and drum on pots for 15 min.  Naturally Police have been threathening to arrest some of them also.

    Ultimately weather you agree education should be more expensive (hint: I don’t) or not, I dare you to agree that suspending freedom of association and arresting everyone who opposed is a sensible way to solve any crisis.

     Last night arrest were not on basis of traditionnal law enforcement friendly crime like troubling the peace or thretening a police officer, but on basis of the new law 78 which make it illegal to gather more than 50 persons without police approval.

    Theses 500-ish protesters were not only arrested and will have to face justice, but they were left to to rot in the paddy wagon for as much as 8 hours (I have working friends you could not make it to work this morning) without acces to water or toilet…

    And before some of you call me a anarchist hippie please note that I work full time in a respectable place where I happen to sports business wear and thanks to the (almost free) education I recived from the State I pay an awful lot of taxes.

    1. I work full time in a respectable place where I happen to sport business wear and thanks to the (almost free) education I received from the State I pay an awful lot of taxes.

      Wouldn’t you rather pay high taxes AND high tuition? ;-P

  6. AVR,

    You’ve exceeded your snippy response quota for this thread.  Why don’t you take the afternoon off.

  7. For a very good analysis of the situation, I would send you here: 

    Quebec’s situation is rather particular, and while some of the protesters’ original requests were probably a bit over-the-top and certainly idealistic, since the introduction of Bill 78 restricting some of our most basic rights related to free protests, even the general population has taken a lot more interest in this conflict that now pits a very angry population againts an inneficient, largely corrupt government. 

    Daily popular protests have been arising for the last few nights in every neighborhood of the city and something important is happening…

  8. This is not about tuition.  This is not about law and order.  On both sides this is about power.  The students are exerting what force they are able to muster in an attempt to “demand” a change to public policy that suits them – this is where the use of the term “entitlement” comes from.  

    They do not have widespread support in Canada – perhaps vocal (as in bull horns) but not widespread.  Of course the Gov’t acts inappropriately – this is news??  However much of Bill 78 seeks to align Quebec with most other jurisdictions in NA which place limits on the right to demonstrate – notice is reasonable when due to large gatherings, certain areas of the city need to be shut down from “everyone’s” use.  Why should a group of protestor’s rights supersede the rights of the majority of others in a lawful society?  Treating other students like some hollywood version of scabs???  Smoke bombing the subway????  Further, the “a few bad apples” argument is weak because the thoughtful students are aligned with the bad apples.  The thoughtful ones really need to call out the bad apples and change their tactics so they are not open to manipulation.  The gov’t is trying to act upon the bad apples and yes if you associate with them, you are likely to be detained with them – this is an individual’s choice.

    One poster (the “teacher”) suggested that because a window is insured, its fair game to break.  Perhaps the “teacher” should “learn” that “we” pay to fix that broken window.  In the process the Insurance Companies actually make more money from “us”in the long term.  Great tactic to hit back at the 1% – lol.  Likely a “better” tactic to limit multinationals profit margins is to “not” break windows.  Everyone pays for insurance.  The companies pay in the short term to fix the window, but then recoup their short term balance sheet loss when our premiums rise (thats how insurance works).  Regardless what reasonable connection does breaking windows have with the cost of tuition?

    The sad part is that the tactics being employed by the students diminish what could be a good public policy debate – that of “should” Canada adopt a policy of free education.  Currently Canada (and many other countries) does not have such a policy.  They are increasingly coming across as spoiled kids throwing a tantrum, which is too bad because the debate is worth having.

    Ad hominem attacks on corruption in Quebec do nothing to strengthen the student’s argument.  Its somewhat likely that these events will actually help re-elect the Liberals.  The current “protest” policy being employed by many groups, is deeply flawed if meaningful change is the objective.  The arab spring has little to do with quebec students.

    FWIW as a 50 year old I still consider the $28k (pre inflation) I borrowed to go to university 27 years ago, the best money I’ve ever spent because it was an investment in myself.  Do the math, that $28k would come to roughly $50k today when adjusted.  Students in Quebec today are not paying more then their parents, nor did I pay more then mine.

    1. Bill 78, if it does bar pickets at colleges or universities, is absolutely NOT in alignment with the rest of North America. Don’t delude yourself about that. From what I’ve read it is a piece of legislation that would not survive even one level of court scrutiny in the U.S. I say that knowing that too many boingers believe that the U.S. has abandoned civil rights entirely.

      1. I don’t believe I’m deluding myself.  Perhaps we are reading different sources.  I don’t believe it bars pickets at colleges or universities, nor should it.  I do believe it attempts to provide for limitations with respect to what constitutes a lawful assembly and perhaps was not given proper thought – understandable with the haste that it was drafted with but NOT necessarily acceptable – thats what the courts will ponder and ponder they will, which is good as you note with the US reference as that is their purpose.

        The debate on that score is really whether the laws as they stood were sufficient to deal with the issues – the Gov’t felt they were not as was evidenced by the escalation in violence – many felt they were.  Seems reasonable on the surface to consider that some tweaking was in order to keep some order.  The Bill will need to be tweaked further I’m sure as legislative writing is not an absolute.I do know I would be outraged if someone interfered with my right to my education because they did not accept conditions that I found acceptable.  I’m not suggesting Bill 78 is good policy, however I’m also not agreeing that the tactics being used such as the class disruptions and intimidation, should be protected.

    2. About breaking insured windows. I admit my post seems to suggest its fair game. In fact I do not approve of vandalism.

      What I meant to convey was: I find the police repression in Montreal a lot more violent and shocking than the acts of civil disobedience that are supposed to justify them.

      And by the way, my personal opinion is that social inequities cost a whole lot more than broken insured windows.

      1. I agree far more with what you meant to say, then what it appeared you said.  I also support your right to your opinion regarding social inequities vs. windows however I do not share it.  I don’t believe that breaking windows is an effective means to bring change.  Reasoned intelligent debate is better I think, as is engaging the system from within and then changing the inequitable system (if that is what it is).  

        Perhaps I’m idealistic but I thought that Gandhi had taught us that and he spoke precisely to your point about police brutality.  Employing similar Nazi tactics against  the Gov’t as you alluded to in an earlier post, does not provide a high moral ground from which to speak.  Violence never in my view, justifies violence with the exception of war I suppose, however I didn’t think the right to protest in our society was a declaration of war.

        1. If we’re going to point to Gandhi’s successes, we ought to look at what it took to win those successes.

          The salt campaigns didn’t succeed by persuading the government officials to rescind the salt monopoly or the soldiers to stop enforcing the salt monopoly. The salt campaigns succeeded by making it impossible for the British administration to enforce the salt monopoly. And when they raided British salt-production facilities, this nonviolent movement was more than willing to destroy property, and they showed that the British administration was all too willing to use violence to defend property, and defend its monopoly on one of the necessities of life.

          The various attempts to engage the system from within didn’t work much better than the attempts to persuade the government officials or the soldiers. There is something both corrupting and disempowering about trying to engage an inequitable system from within.

          And breaking windows is in no way comparable to breaking heads.

      2. You seem to think that since the windows are insured nobody pays to replace them.

    3. Of course the Gov’t acts inappropriately – this is news??

      Apparently, some people think they should be entitled to a government that doesn’t. Presumably unreasonable people, on whom all progress depends.

      Something I heard at the beginning of all this is this wasn’t simply a tuition increase, but one after they were assured there wouldn’t be any. In which case the protests were for something they are definitely entitled to: honest treatment. I haven’t heard it mentioned since, though.

      1. The point I was trying to make is that BOTH sides are acting inappropriately and that yes this is not the first time a government has acted inappropriately, nor will it be the last.  We all should expect better from the government and from the students.

  9. Charest’s government is corrupted, but I still prefer that to anarchy. There will be an election in less than 6 months, all these protesters have to do is vote for someone else. Until then, destroying public property, intimidating people, hacking government website and starting fights with the police is absolutely useless.

  10. It’s very dissapointing Cory that you chose a Canadian Press / Globe and Mail article to talk about this issue. They dislike Québec as a whole most of the time. Why chose that point of view?

  11. It’s ironic that on the heels of police officers being arrested for civil rights violations for kettling G20 protestors in Toronto that they’d try this tactic now.

  12. Wasn’t it just last week that the report about the Toronto G20 protest, and the police crackdown came out. As I recall it was pretty damning on both police services and government.

    I guess they didn’t read the report, or just don’t care.

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