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:
Jean Baillargeon July 6 2012
Original French text: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/353974/mouvement-etudiant-le-defi-electoral
After its defeat in public opinion, will the student movement lose the electoral war? The question must be asked. Léger Marketing’s most recent survey from June 16th is merciless with regards to perception of the student movement. You can’t dispute the fact that it’s a big disappointment, despite the good performance of its leaders, who have literally become media rock stars.
In effect, as the survey reveals, 56% of respondents are in favor of the government’s position, against 35% who are instead favorable of the students’ position. With a 21% gap in favor of the government’s desire to increase tuition fees for $254 each year for the next seven years, for a total increase of $1780, the student movement has fallen into the trap of anarcho-spontaneity (the infantile illness of the student movement), of eternal victory of respect, which, for the students, represents a clear economic and social detachment.
Must it be surprised then, in a pre-electoral context, that the student movement is becoming, without being aware and against all expectations, the principal ally of the current government in getting itself reelected during the next election? The stars seem to have aligned, as if by chance, so that the launching of an election coincides with the beginning of the next catch up session at the collegial level planned for August 11th in 14 cégeps still on strike.
Bill 78 being still in effect, and forbidding all protests or picket lines preventing the return for the catch up session from going smoothly, the Quebec government can only hope that the student movement sets up impenetrable pickets in front of the college entrances, which will revive the climate of confrontation and disorder. In such a situation, with elections starting mid-August or maybe even sooner, Jean Charest’s liberals can hope to win a fourth mandate on the theme of law and order.
Will the student leaders have the lucidity to not fall into the trap of confrontation and radicalism in the coming month of August? Knowing that such a strategy, extremely losing, would only succeed in the end in getting the government, who has already won the battle of public opinion concerning the tuition fee increase, reelected?
The positions maintained by the student movement and a certain radicalism have allowed the authorities to win a certain sympathy in the eyes of the majority of citizens and this despite waning power and the prevailing climate of corruption. Will the student strategies also fail in the electoral joust approaching this summer? If the scenario of the “maple spring” repeats itself, the party in power hasn’t finished rubbing its hands with joy at what could remain, in the history books, the biggest defeat of the Quebec student movement.
Jean Baillargeon – Former student leader
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.