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Pierre Saint-Arnaud August 3 2012
PHOTO CAPTION: CLASSE spokespersons Camille Robert and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois say those predicting a post-election end to the conflict should probably think twice. Photo: Annik MH De Carufel, Le Devoir
CLASSE cautions that the crisis that has shaken Quebec cannot be resolved by elections alone.
“The unlimited general strike has allowed us to voice our demands and open a critical debate on deeper issues that won’t be resolved with an election,” said CLASSE spokesperson Camille Robert during a press conference held Friday at CEGEP Maisonneuve to unveil the organization’s plan of action for the coming weeks.
“We’re talking about access to higher education, management of natural resources, and the crisis of democracy,” she added. “As far as we’re concerned, elections alone cannot resolve this conflict, regardless of which party comes to power.”
According to CLASSE, even the election of the Parti Québécois, a party that has promised to repeal Bill 78 and halt the tuition increase, would not signal an end to the crisis, because the issues now at stake extend far beyond the question of tuition fees.
“Obviously the student strike can’t go on forever,” acknowledged CLASSE’s other spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. “If the tuition hike is cancelled and Bill 78 is revoked, the demands of this particular strike will have clearly been met. But we hope the movement continues, and that’s what we’re encouraging people to get involved in. We have to continue reflecting on the future of Quebec.”
Nadeau-Dubois suggested that those predicting an end to the conflict after the election should probably think twice.
“Protests will inevitably continue during and after elections, because the tide of change that has swept over Quebec these past months is too powerful to be quelled by a single election. Even if the student strike comes to an end, the broader social movement, the discontent that has surfaced over the past months, will persist,” he said.
Today, CLASSE presented its plan of action for increased visibility leading up to the September 4th vote, focussing, in particular, on the return to classes scheduled for mid-August in colleges and university faculties that saw their semesters interrupted by the strike this past spring.
Starting next Tuesday, those institutions’ student associations of will begin holding general assemblies to vote on returning to class or continuing the strike.
CLASSE, however, will not be taking a position one way or another. “We have confidence in our general assemblies,” said Camille Robert.
A large-scale afternoon demonstration is planned for Wednesday August 8 in Montreal.
Two days later, a conference and musical performances will be held at the Olympia in Montreal to cap off the final leg of the CLASSE representatives’ tour of rural Quebec, currently underway.
Then, on August 22, CLASSE is promising another mega demonstration, expected to wind its way through Montreal’s downtown core, as it has on the 22nd of every month since the beginning of the conflict.
Although nothing is scheduled for the time being, Nadeau-Dubois says student associations will likely meet again after the September 4th vote to re-evaluate their strategies.
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.