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June 8, 2012
The student protests are in the sights of a new, high-profile detractor— and he weighs into them like a freight train.
Jacques Villeneuve, ex-champion of the Formula 1, is fed up with the protest movement that has dragged on for months and now threatens the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend in Montreal.
In a five-minute interview with journalists on Thursday [June 7, 2012],Villeneuve told the protesters to, “go back to school.”
Villeneuve even asked them to “stop being such lazy bums [French: fainéants].” He said that they were an embarrassment to Canada —and Quebec in particular. He suggested they were badly brought up, by parents who never learned to say no.
And he mentioned that they risked scaring away tourists and contributors to Quebec society, who will pack up shop and go invest elsewhere were the social climate is more restful.
The student movement has the backing of many Quebec celebrities and nearly all the artistic community. The Quebec driver, who grew up in Monaco, has meanwhile become their most famous detractor, with the sharpest criticism of the movement.
“It’s time to wake up and stop being such lazy bums. This has gone on long enough,” Villeneuve said to journalists at a benefit cocktail party that kicked off four days of festivities surrounding the Grand Prix of Canada.
“We’ve heard them. We’ve listened. They should stop. They’re costing the city a fortune. It doesn’t make sense.”
“I think these people grew up without ever hearing their parents say no. This is why we see them in the streets now. They are people who spend their time complaining. It’s gotten a bit ridiculous. They have spoken, we have listened, and now it’s time to go back to school.”
He added that in a democracy, people can vote to throw out government, and can say all they want between elections to make themselves heard, but they have to know when to back down.
“That is what democracy is. We vote for people — and if you are not satisfied, then you vote for someone else next time. And if you aren’t satisfied, you complain, they listen, and that’s that,” he said.
“Same thing with your parents: Mommy, daddy, I don’t like that. Well now, back to bed now,” said Villeneuve, who said he was brought up appreciate the value of hard work, and to realize that money doesn’t fall from the sky.
He also compared the students to the last summer’s London rioters, and called them rebels without a cause.
At the end of the day, he said, students are hurting themselves because they are agitating for things that are not financially viable — and they will end up paying for it someday.
Unfortunately, he said, if things continue there will be less and less money to help pay the bills.
“And where do governments get their money? From taxes, from selling things. They’ll tell you, take from the rich,” he explained.
“Well, at the moment, it’s rich people who are changing the country.”
Villeneuve, who is 41 years old, won the F1 pennant in 1997 and was idolized by local sports lovers, who celebrated his achievement by organizing a noisy ceremony before a Canadiens hockey match.
After several difficult F1 seasons, he quit in 2005 and has since driven in several different races, notably the NASCAR nationwide series.
Translated from the original French byTranslating 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.