If you would like to volunteer and join the effort, please contact us at the above email before embarking on any translation work, in order to avoid any redundancies. We cannot accept translations that have not been cleared with us first.
For more useful English-language sources on the conflict, see:
Michèle Ouimet 9 June 2012
Jacques Villeneuve, former Formula 1 Champion, thinks the students are loafers who scare tourists and make Quebec look bad in the eyes of others.
They were also poorly raised by parents who never learned to say no.
“They spend all their time complaining”, he explained Thursday at a press conference where the clichés came faster than an F1 race car. “It’s becoming a bit ridiculous […] It’s time to go back to school!”
Boy-kings, spoiled children, incompetent parents. Contempt and paternalism.
Yesterday, Villeneuve added terrorism to the mix. If the students block the metro serving Ile Notre-Dame, “it’d be a terrorist act”. If this is the case, what would we then call suicide attacks killing tens of victims? We’ll soon wear out our vocabulary.
Jacques Villeneuve has a lot to teach the students. After all, he attended an exclusive school in Switzerland, and refuses to send his children to school in Quebec, claiming they cater to “the lowest common denominator”.
The twittersphere has run wild. I smiled while reading the comments: “Jacques Villeneuve sang like a soup-pot”; “Jean Charest and Jacques Villeneuve have something in common, when they talk, they make me want to protest.”
Thank you, Mr. Villeneuve, for the moment of levity.
I understand why Quebec residents and politicians were indignant when they saw Amir Khadir participate in an illegal protest. In the eyes of criminal law expert Jean-Claude Hébert, a “deputy has a greater responsibility, since he votes on laws in the National Assembly. He can’t choose which laws to follow based on personal convenience”.
Amir Khadir didn’t commit a criminal act. “He obstructed a public road and his punishment was to receive a ticket”, explained Mr. Hébert.
At any rate, his actions violated the spirit of Law 78.
Besides the legal argument, there’s the question of whether Amir Khadir has the moral right to participate in an illegal protest. Does law 78 go so far as to justify civil disobedience as a recourse?
Khadir spoke of Martin Luther King when explaining his actions. In his place, I would have a little more shame. We’re a long way from the fight against segregation in the United States.
I spoke to Amir Khadir. “I don’t see the deputy as a guardian of the temple, who must protect the institution”, he said. “On the contrary, I want to change and shake up these institutions! That’s what a strong Quebec should mean.”
So that’s Amir Khadir, a deputy unlike all others, and an agitator. One who protests for and against everything. Why not?
Gilbert Rozon spilled a fair bit of ink this week, and let fly a flurry of tweets.
He feared for his festival, scared the students would appear with their soup-pots, in throngs. A part of his festival takes place in the street, and the streets are particularly agitated at the moment. He wanted to meet with the student leaders because he needed reassurances.
He got so worried, he lost his grip. He stopped talking of disturbances, and began talking of menaces, of blackmail, and of hostages.
Hostages? “Maybe it was a bit too far,” admitted Gilbert Rozon after meeting with the students, “but I took issue with the call to civil disobedience issued by CLASSE and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois: ‘We’ll organize your Grand Prix!’”
Gilbert Rozon demanded that the student leaders promise in writing that there would be no disturbances during the festival. A bit cheeky. Even the premier hasn’t gone that far.
How can he expect to enforce such an agreement? How would it be legitimate? Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois gave a perfect summary of the situation. “We are not indebted to Gilbert Rozon. If every businessman worried about his cash flow tried to negotiate with us, it’d never end. We wish to negotiate with the government.”
It isn’t Gilbert Rozon’s place to put forth this sort of initiative. Rather, it should be the mayor of Montreal doing it. In the beginning, Gérald Tremblay didn’t want to meet with the students, since he “didn’t have the mandate”, and at any rate nobody had asked him to solve the problem. His role was to assuage concerns.
It was the president of FEUQ, Martine Desjardins, who requested a meeting with the mayor. Gérald Tremblay accepted, but took no initiative of his own.
In this whole story, the mayor has lost his sense of leadership, and Gilbert Rozon has lost his sense of humour.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.