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Josée Legault March 27, 2013
Something is rotten in the realm of fundamental freedoms in Quebec.
Even abroad, many weeks were spent quibbling over a restaurant owner’s “freedom of expression” because the Office québécoise de la langue française (OQLF) would have reproached him his use of Italian words such as “pasta” in his menu, whereas the original complaint had been made about the English in his “English-Italian” menu that didn’t have one word of French.
However, when the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) decides to nip protests in the bud and, in so doing, to deliberately prevent citizens from exercising their fundamental freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, the government assents.
We can’t make head or tail of it.
One can’t help but notice that since the tabling of the Marceau budget – with few exceptions -, the government’s only “left” is its own gauche yoke of ill-advised political decisions.
It remains to be seen how far it will go to keep on alienating itself from the support it needs nonetheless from its allies and traditional constituents. Que sera, sera, as the song goes.
That it stands firmly behind an abuse of power that consists of aborting protests under the pretext that these do not respect a municipal bylaw otherwise contested in court and highly criticized, namely by the Barreau du Québec [the Quebec Bar Association], crowns this whole situation in a quite spectacular manner.
July 6 2012
Original French text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/353985/une-coalition-s-active-a-recenser-les-victimes-du-conflit-etudiant
A coalition has started compiling a list of victims of acts of political repression since the start of the student strike in mid-February.
The Ligue des droits et libertés (League of Rights and Freedoms), the legal committee of CLASSE (Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante / Broad Coalition of the Association for Student Union Solidarity), as well as the Association des juristes progressistes (Association of progressive lawyers) will collect testimony from persons who suffered police intimidation or brutality, or reprisals because they wore a red square.
Launched yesterday, the gathering of testimony will continue until August 13, even though CLASSE “foresees that the student conflict will last beyond this date set by the special law for the resumption of classes”.
The coalition is calling for all those who were “victims” or “witnesses” of “any police action, violent speech or physical act of violence, arrest, ‘kettling’, body search, search of personal effects, handcuffing, being photographed, questioning about your status or political opinions, detention […], being given a ticket for an infraction, enforcement of article 31 of the criminal code, a criminal charge or other [incident]” to provide their testimony on the web site of the Ligue des droits et libertés.
Those who received “directives” or who “were subject to reprisals or received disciplinary warnings in their workplace” because of their wearing the red square, as well as those who were restricted from access to public or private property, or who were denied service for that reason are also invited to share their stories.
Original French text:http://www.bloquonslahausse.com/2012/07/la-classe-lance-un-appel-aux-temoignages-sur-la-repression-policiere/
The Ligue des droits et libertés (League of Rights and Liberties), the legal committee of the CLASSE (the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante / Broad Coalition of the Association for Student Union Solidarity) and the Association des juristes progressistes (Association of progressive lawyers) are joining together to collect testimonies, from now until the 13 August 2012, from students and citizens who, since the start of the student strike, have been the subject of intimidation, police brutality, arrests, detention, any form of accusation or reprisals, or who have been denied access to public spaces or services because they were wearing a red square.
The three organizations intend to produce a report with these testimonies, which will thus allow a more global view of the breadth of the repression by the policing, judicial, and political systems. We invite you to examine the attached explanatory document (which includes a memory-aid to help you write your testimony, and to send us your testimonies at this address: email@example.com
For more information, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or consult the Facebook page.
Nicole Filion, Ligue des droits et libertés (www.liguedesdroits.ca)
Andrée Bourbeau, Comité légal de la CLASSE (www.bloquonslahausse.com)
Sibel Ataogul, Association des juristes progressistes (www.ajpquebec.org)
Jean-Félix Chénier June 14, 2012
Original French Text: http://voir.ca/jean-felix-chenier/2012/06/14/la-politisation-de-la-police/
Those who are capable of extricating themselves from the opinion-makers’ opinions on the youth uprising have long understood that the Charest government has decided to break the student movement.
The actual strategy is to link the red square to violence and intimidation or to associate those wearing the squares to those who endorse chaos. The Minister of Culture Christine St-Pierre is therefore partly excused for her demagogic and malicious proposals about how to treat the infamous square-wearers. The Premier Mr. Charest is amongst the most malicious; as he won’t stop accusing Pauline Marois of treating the red square as though it were a symbol of fascism. This discourse even seems to be at the heart of the election strategy that the Liberal Party is following.
The problem is that this strategy is starting to take hold: it’s apparent to those using condemnation that they’re in it as well. These people are known as pyromaniacal firefighters. Their tactics unfortunately have the same extremism as those whose politics they are condemning. Their tools to get to their goals - to win elections using fear and the restoration of order - are the same as those of the vilest political regimes in history.
Marc-André Cyr June 12, 2012
Original French Text: http://voir.ca/marc-andre-cyr/2012/06/12/vomir-la-belle-province/
« Fear of all shapes susceptible of setting off a transformative love. Blue fear – red fear – white fear : link of our chain »
– Refus Global, 1948
The Grand Prix and its orgy of mediocrity… sickening.
State control and police repression… sickening.
The media and political elite of Quebec… sickening.
Sickening, sickening, and sickening again… this is the feeling that our Belle Province ought to provoke these days.
We already knew that our elites are afraid of communists, anarchists, disorder, riots, strikes, protests, civil disobedience and rock throwers; we did not know that are also afraid (almost pathologically afraid) of red squares, of the sound of pots and pans, of smoke, of envelopes full of baking soda, of album covers. To wrap up his column denouncing Amir Khadir because he took part in a (supposedly) illegal demonstration, André Pratte offers this typically nuanced piece of analysis:
“When respect for the rule of law is no longer absolute, we have to trust the judgement of each individual to determine how far to take ‘resistance.’ To put it another way, we give up the absolute for the arbitrary. After baking soda, what will they put into envelopes next?” 
Mr. Pratte asks good questions.
Radicalization is something to be afraid of.
Vincent Larouche June 10, 2012
After three days of demonstrations on the sidelines of the Formula 1 week-end, police expanded great effort to avoid any other disruption of the race. Police resources were deployed at a level rarely seen in Montreal. Some forty people were kicked out of Jean-Drapeau park as a result; roughly thirty others were detained preventively.
» See our picture: the Formula 1 race in Montreal (http://www.lapresse.ca/photos/201206/10/12-7761-jour-de-grand-prix.php)
Most people who were detained preventively were coming out of the Jean-Drapeau metro station. Seen as potential protesters, they had only made a few steps before police officers cuffed them, searched them and detained them temporarily according to section 31 of the Criminal Code, which allows officers to intervene when they have sufficient reason to believe a crime will be committed.
«People were arrested because they were recognised as having participated in illegal and violent demonstrations,” explained investigator Alain Simoneau, chief of the “Service d’ordre” section of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM).
Original posted to Facebook on Sunday, June 10. Because I don’t have permission to include the person’s name, I’ve cut it out, though in the original he signed it.
“I was just arrested by the police, given a ticket because I didn’t have the light I’m supposed to have (it was broken and in my pocket: I showed it to them). I was then told it was “better to shut your mouth when you’re wearing a red square. The cop TRUDEAU (blonde, paunchy, aggressive, earring on the left side) then arrested—violently—one passer-by who asked what was going on and refused to identify himself (it’s his right if he’s not suspect of an infraction) and they left with the guy after giving me my ticket.
One of the guy’s friends asked just before what the laws for bikes were, in order to make sure he wasn’t breaking any rules, and was told, “shut your hole and go home.”
All of this took place in an atmosphere of free, drooling, provocative intimidation from the cop and left me believing that the denigration into political profiling is truly growing.
I’m absolutely certain I was the object of police abuse in a state becoming, I’m very much afraid, more and more policed.
Attention, dignified and respectable citizens, the time is now for this to overflow toward those who believe in common good and mutual assistance.”