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My 31, 2012
Québec – The United Nations (UN) should be dealing with more serious subjects than Québec’s social crisis provoked by the tuition fee increase, stated the minister of international relations, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, today.
Yesterday, two independent experts from the UN expressed their concern in view of the sequence of protests in Québec after the adoption of a special law and certain waves of mass arrests.
During a press conference today, Mme Gagnon-Tremblay expressed her dissatisfaction with the conclusions of the two experts and she reprimanded the international organization. “Surely, instead of looking at Québec the UN could maybe look at the major crises that are taking place right now in Syria and Mali,” she said. “They decided to look at Québec and the city of Montréal but I think that there are major crises that merit particular attention.”
The minister recalled that the Québec government still has the intention to advance its point of view with UN experts and she judged that their analysis was incomplete.
In a press release given yesterday, the two UN experts were concerned by the fact that 700 people had been arrested in Montréal and Québec last May 24th while they were protesting against the tuition increase and the adoption of the special law 78.
The UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, also denounced the “unduly” restrictive provisions of law 78 that limit the protests.
According to Mme Gagnon-Tremblay, the experts contacted the government to inform it that complaints had been filed. She accused them of not having respected a delay of 60 days that the government had to produce more explications. “I am a little bit unsatisfied in the sense that the information that they have is information that appears incomplete to me, that merits informing the better on the subject of law 78,” she said before question period.
In the chamber, the liberals voted against a motion from the Parti québécois demanding the retraction of law 78.
The leader of Option nationale Jean-Martin Aussant has, for his part, introduced a bill aiming to repeal certain provisions of law 78 that limit the right to protest and that confer powers to the minister of education. According to M. Aussant, the general population has been penalized by this law because the majority of the protesters are peaceful. “A special law to come settle this situation, that was a bit strong even as a gesture,” he said. “It’s like if a pyromaniac was lighting a fire and would suggest that the only solution for extinguishing the blaze was to cause an immense flood.”
A challenge to the legality of law 78 was begun before the tribunals last week.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.