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Jean-Pascal Bilodeau August 30, 2012
Original French text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/358023/pourquoi-nous-bloquons-encore-des-cours
We block classes. We are those who’ve been attacked by the press since the beginning of the return to classes. We are those who are still holding out against the blows of police batons. They tell us to calm down, to vote, to calm down some more. It is what they have always said. As they arrest us one after the other, no one ever asks us why we’re still here.
I have never seen such profound incomprehension on the part of the media. A lot of things have required explanation throughout the strike, but this is beyond the limits of the imaginable.
But it’s simple. We’re blocking classes because student associations have voted to continue their strike. We have never blocked a single course whose students have voted to return to it. Cégep students are returning to class in total calm; that so many are surprised at this makes us sick, because this calm is but the logical conclusion of all that led up to it.
We don’t need to ask ourselves whether a prolonged strike will be useful. That question is discussed in our general assemblies. Our actions constitute an affirmation of democracy. Democracy is the one and only way for us to decide to go back to class. Those who wish to continue their courses must do so by democratic means, and exclusively so. If they deem the participation rates at strike votes to be too insignificant, their solution should be to participate, to debate the issues that concern them. Once present in this arena they could, at any moment, bring up a petition to vote.
Martin Vachon August 20, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/357212/la-defaite-des-carres-rouges-vraiment
Votes on the return to class are piling up. By and large, CEGEP students in particular are choosing to resume classes. For them, it’s the end of the strike and the beginning of an intense make-up session to complete courses abandoned last winter. They voted democratically for the strike. They are now voting democratically to end it. I say democratically because, until proven otherwise, it is a democratic process. And the low participation rate is no argument to the contrary. Everyone knows that our premier was elected to power with only 24% of the vote! Enough said.
For some, it is an enormous relief. For others, a bitter disappointment. The two reactions are easy to understand or, at least, they should be. It’s not for me to judge.
But can we really speak of the “defeat of the red squares”? Of course the part of the twittersphere that is hostile to them is drunk with joy at every announcement confirming the end of the strike. Along with kudos and congratulations for the students deemed sensible, it wasn’t long before insults were raining down on those clearly in favour of the strike. “They’re done pissing everyone off!” they gloat. “Beuby, boys and girls!” Spinning round and round.
This tone isn’t new and it won’t be dissipating anytime soon. Still, is this really a “defeat of the red squares”? Far from it! Many indications would suggest that those who think they’ve won the round are sadly mistaken. Here’s why.
Manon Cornellier August 13, 2012
Original French Text: http://www2.lactualite.com/cornellier/2012-08-13/la-democratie-selon-jean-charest/
Since the beginning of his electoral campaign, Premier Jean Charest has declared that, after having taken to the streets, it’s now time for the Québécois to express themselves. As if the people protesting and banging on pots weren’t Québécois, but nevertheless. What was the most troublesome was the narrow view that his speech took: vote once every four years and then leave everything in the hands of those elected.
After his stop in Victoriaville on Saturday, we now understand that protesting to express dissidence does not reflect his vision of a vibrant and healthy democracy. So much so, that he constantly mixes protesting with violence and wants to do away with both. See for yourself: “We don’t want protests, do you hear? We don’t want violence. We created a law specifically to put an end to these things”, he said before a group of young Liberals.
Bernard Descôteaux August 2, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/355834/elections-quebecoises-democratie-101
So the general election will take place on this upcoming September 4th. At noon yesterday, Premier Jean Charest kicked things off in a way that promises harsh debates. He immediately made the respect for our system and our democratic institutions the principal issue in this election. Alright… on the condition that we judge the work in its entirety.
The insistence of the Premier on this first campaign day on our society’s democratic values, which he says have been weakened by the student conflict, leaves no doubt about his willingness to make the events of the “printemps érable” (Maple Spring), the core issue in a referendum to measure electorally his management of the conflict.
It is true that this spring was marked with social disruptions. It is also true that some demonstrations turned to violence. That the court injunctions were not respected. That Bill 12 [trans. note: formerly Bill 78] which forces the return to classes and limits the right to demonstrate is still strongly contested. All things that today have combined to have a providential feel for the liberal government, that things that this way they can escape a tight examination of the balance sheet of their nine years in power. One should not miss the forest for the trees.
Jessica Nadeau July 12 2012
“The idea is to get back to basic demands, to explain to people what our values are and what we propose,” says Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois at the demonstration in honour of the 100th day of the student strike, on May 22nd.
CLASSE is launching a manifesto, and a tour of Quebec to attempt to mobilize the population. Gabriel Nadeau Dubois and his acolytes are hoping to visit twenty cities, from Amos to Saint Jerome, and through Bay St. Paul and Joliette. The official announcement will be made today at a press conference.
What are the youth made of, those that have hit the streets since the ‘printemps érable’ (maple spring)? It’s this question that CLASSE is attempting to answer in its manifesto: “We Are The Future” which will be made public today, a copy of which has been obtained by Le Devoir.
Lisa-Marie Gervais June 7 2012
Original French text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/351854/le-plq-craint-les-etudiants
Charest’s Liberal Party is opposed to the installation of polling stations in Cegeps and Universities
According to Liberal representatives, absentee voting should be emphasized, since one study showed that it permitted a 10 percent increase in participation. Photo: Jacques Nadeau
The Quebec Liberal Party is afraid of the students. It’s afraid of the students to such an extent that it’s opposed to the installation of voting booths in cegeps and universities, as was proposed by the Director General of Elections Quebec (DGE), Le Devoir has learned.
This was revealed as part of a report of the meeting of the technical committee on voting by the advisory group of the (DGE), a copy of which has been obtained by us. “The representatives of the Liberal Party aren’t in favour of putting polling booths in institutions of learning. They mentioned that this measure particularly favoured a part of the young electorate, that is, the students,” according to the confidential report of the meeting that took place on the 26th of April.
Simon Jomphe June 11, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/352137/un-simulacre-de-democratie-au-quebec
One of the arguments that surfaces again and again to defend the legitimacy of actions taken by Charest’s government is that it was democratically elected by the Quebec people. If citizens are unhappy, all they have to do is express themselves in the next election. Opposing the government through demonstrations is to oppose the democratic will.
However, a government’s legitimacy can hardly be based on the sole fact of having been elected. If a government betrays all of its electoral promises and adopts laws and measures that were never part of its electoral platform, in other words, if it has carte blanche to do whatever it wants, how can anyone maintain, with a straight face, that such a government represents anything other than itself? Or that it really represents any segment of the population whatsoever?
Reducing and limiting democracy to the electoral vote, without any additional obligations on the government to respect commitments or meet popular demands is ultimately to settle for a façade of democracy and to give free reign to liars and cheaters.
Institut du Nouveau Monde
Original French Text: http://inm.qc.ca/les-elections-ne-regleront-rien.html
By breaking off negotiations with students on Thursday, Premier Jean Charest is inviting Quebeckers to take sides and to sort things out during the next election. Besides the fact that this situation creates a void that opens the door to all kinds of abuse in the coming weeks, this invitation to be either with him or against him merits a few statements. We are raising only those that directly affect the question of citizen participation in democratic debate.
1. This invitation to choose a side is harmful for Quebec. It heightens tensions. It is an invitation to consider those proposing a nuanced vision of the situation to be adversaries, even enemies. It undermines Quebeckers’ confidence in their fellow citizens. And yet, confidence is a condition of economic and social development.
This polarization, should it last, will render conflict resolution impossible in all domains because it pushes the citizenry to divide into factions and to engage in power struggles rather than to look for common ground through cooperation, negotiation or partnership in plans that serve the common interest.