Füsun A.



Montréal, CANADA
January 12
Freelance Writer - jack of all genres;master of none.
warm and genuine
I divorced my full time career of teaching after 25 years, because meanwhile I fell in love with freelance writing. Ever since, I decided to legitimize my ten-year fling which started in the new millennium. Author of: "WILL OF MY OWN - A Memoir" Available at all major book outlets. For a preview please visit: http://www.dictionmatters.com/


Editor’s Pick
MAY 23, 2012 8:27PM

Is Freedom of Press under Attack in Montréal?

Rate: 79 Flag

The student movement which reached its 100th day on May 22nd  was attended by half a million protesters including students, educators and people from many communities and businesses in and outside of the province was a strong movement that echoed its message in other parts of the world including New York, Vancouver, Calgary and Paris.    

If you read none of  this piece, I urge you  please, to take a look at this link to have a modicum of fair and informed knowledge about what has been transpiring in Montreal for the last 101 days between students and the incumbent government of Premier Jean Charest. The rest of this piece will shed more insight with references and links to news from various media articles.

The student movement is and always has been a peaceful movement, which actually represents a large portion of Québec society and their values, and not only a fringe, radical movement of a few spoiled, self-entitled brats, which is the image the Canadian media is giving the Québec students by repeating the same broken record of an argument, that "Québec students pay the lowest tuition in the country. "

The student strikes are far deeper than what they seem on the surface. In fact a study into their recent history will easily reveal that the student strike is not simply related to increased tuition fees, but to much broader issues affecting all of society. Some of these important leading events were the Salon Plan Nord (where the contrast between the government's planned investment of 30 billion dollars or so for environmentally destructive development and potentially corrupt projects on Inuit land and their 'lack of funds' for education became clearer.)

In the light of Premier Charest's proposed increase of student loan limits but not freezing of the fees (which brought the issue of student debt to light), the education minister, Line Beauchamp, resigned, stating her reason for her action not as the consequence of the riots but that she did not see herself as part of the solution. She was immediately replaced by Michelle Courchesne, who immediately drafted and signed Law 78 which raises the fact that Mr Charest once again hides behind his ministers – rather than facing his responsibilities as the leader of a province and solving issues, but rather attacking the youth with police force that used clubs and pepper spray to subdue them.

History has demonstrated in many instances that power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.   Montréal has been living riveting examples of this during the last three months through her most promising potential: the students of today; the intellects of her tomorrow. Nations who try killing the spirit of their youth by burdening them with physical, psychological and financial scars, while their leaders spend millions of unaccounted and unnecesssary dollars to exercise their power are bound to fail in the long term. Mr Charest is only a provincial example. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is no less corrupt and unscrupulous when it comes to squandering  and  increasing the annual federal spending to $276 billion — an increase of nearly 30 per cent, since he came to power in 2006.

Students are the conscience and the pulse of a society. We need to listen to them with open ears and unbiased hearts. They have limited means to express what they believe is right and is important for their future. Our generation cannot be too proud with the legacy we are about to leave them. The least we can do is allow them the right to free education and development of their potentials and intellect so  that they will, if we are lucky, find solutions to the problems we have created so irresponsibly in our reckless life times.

Finally, I would like to share the following letter which was sent out by Professor Daniel Weinstock, Director of the University of Montreal, Centre for Research in Ethics, on the day of the march of the half million in Montreal to mark the 100th day of this movement.

* * *

An Open Letter to English-Canadians, who might be feeling that Quebeckers have taken leave of their senses.

by Daniel Weinstock on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 3:09am ·

An open letter to my English-Canadian friends. Please circulate in your networks as you see fit.

You may have heard that there has been some turmoil in Quebec in recent weeks. There have been demonstrations in the streets of Montreal every night for almost a month now, and a massive demonstration will be happening tomorrow, which I will be attending, along with my wife, Elizabeth Elbourne, and my eldest daughter Emma.

 Reading the Anglo-Canadian press, it strikes me that you have been getting a very fragmented and biased picture of what is going on. Given the gulf that has already emerged between Quebec and the rest of Canada in the wake of the 2011 election, it is important that the issues under discussion here at least be represented clearly. You may decide at the end of the day that we are crazy, but at least you should reach that decision on the basis of the facts, rather than of the distortions that have been served up by the G&M and other outlets.

 First, the matter of the tuition hikes, which touched off this mess. The rest of the country seems to have reached the conclusion that the students are spoiled, selfish brats, who would still be paying the lowest tuition fees even if the whole of the proposed increase went through.

 The first thing to say is that this is an odd conception of selfishness. Students have been sticking with the strikes even knowing that they may suffer deleterious consequences, both financial and academic. They have been marching every night despite the threat of beatings, tear-gas, rubber bullets, and arrests. It is, of course, easier for the right-wing media to dismiss them if they can be portrayed as selfish kids to whom no -one has ever said "no". But there is clearly an issue of principle here.

 OK, then. But maybe the principle is the wrong one. Free tuition may just be a pie-in-the sky idea that mature people give up on when they put away childish things. And besides, why should other people pay for the students' "free" tuition? There is no such thing as "free" education. Someone, somewhere, has to pay. And the students, the criticism continues, are simply refusing to pay their "fair share".

 Why is that criticism simplistic? Because the students' claim has never been that they should not pay for education. The question is whether they should do so up front, before they have income, or later, as taxpayers in a progressive taxation scheme. Another question has to do with the degree to which Universities should be funded by everyone, or primarily by those who attend them. So the issue of how to fund Universities justly is complicated. We have to figure out at what point in people's lives they should be paying for their education, and we also have to figure out how much of the bill should be footed by those who do not attend, but who benefit from a University-educated work force of doctors, lawyers, etc. The students' answer to this question may not be the best, but then it does not strike me that the government's is all that thought out either.

 And at least the students have been trying to make ARGUMENTS and to engage the government and the rest of society in debate, whereas the government's attitude, other than to invoke the in-this-context-meaningless "everyone pays their faire share" argument like a mantra, has been to say "Shut up, and obey".

 What strikes the balance in the students' favour in the Quebec context is that the ideal of no up-front financial hurdles to University access is enshrined in some of the most foundational documents of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, in particular the Parent Commission Report, which wrested control of schools from the Church and created the modern Quebec education system, a cornerstone of the kind of society that many Quebeckers see themselves as aspiring to. Now, it could be that that ideal is no longer viable, or that we may no longer want to subscribe to it. But moving away from it, as Charest's measures have done, at least requires a debate, analogous to the debate that would have to be had if the Feds proposed to scrap the Canada Health Act. It is clearly not just an administrative measure. It is political through and through. Indeed it strikes at fundamental questions about the kind of society we want to live in. If this isn't the sort of thing that requires democratic debate, I don't know what is.

The government has met the very reasonable request that this issue, and broader issues of University governance, be at least addressed in some suitably open and democratic manner with silence, then derision, then injunctions, and now, with the most odious "law" that I have seen voted by the Quebec National Assembly in my adult memory. It places the right of all Quebec citizens to assemble, but also to talk and discuss about these issues, under severe limitations. It includes that most odious of categories: crimes of omission, as in, you can get fined for omitting to attempt to prevent someone from taking part in an act judged illegal by the law. In principle, the simple wearing of the by-now iconic red square can be subject to a fine. The government has also made the student leaders absurdly and ruinously responsible for any action that is ostensibly carried out under the banners of their organizations. The students groups can be fined $125000 whenever someone claiming to be "part" of the movement throws a rock through a window. And so on. It is truly a thing to behold.
The government is clearly aware that this "law" would not withstand a millisecond of Charter scrutiny. It actually expires in July 2013, well before challenges could actually wind their way through the Courts. The intention is thus clearly just to bring down the hammer on this particular movement by using methods that the government knows to be contrary to basic liberal-democratic rule-of-law principles. The cynicism is jaw-dropping. It is beneath contempt for the government to play fast and loose with our civil rights and liberties in order to deal with the results of its own abject failure to govern.

So that is why tomorrow I will be taking a walk in downtown Montreal with (hopefully!) hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens. Again, you are all free to disagree, but at least don't let it be because of the completely distorted picture of what is going on here that you have been getting from media outlets, including some from which we might have expected more.



Füsun Atalay ~ Copyright © Will of my Own - 2012

* * *

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
". . .wealthy universities hoarding their endowments, gouging their students and paying some profs and administrators a quarter million a year. ."

That is part of what students are fighting for - it's all part of the elite sytem trying to protect itself regardless of what happens to the poorstudents with thousands of education debts and NO jobs to pay them off. I am all for free education. It is the best investment for a society's future. Thank you!
Good grief!
I'm so glad that you posted this Füsun. I had no idea what is going on.

Enlightening to say the least.....I had heard any of this either....the cognitive dissonance of the world's government is coming to a head...it's happening everywhere. Thanks for the information.
The fact that they even passed Bill 78 makes me sick.,

"The new legislation imposes heavy fines on students, unions and their leaders for picketing or demonstrating within 50 metres of campus buildings, and requires protest organizers to submit demo routes for any gathering over 50, eight hours in advance, effectively ruling out spontaneous action."

A friend of mine is covering this every single day for the Canadian Press and told me several sections will be shot down.

Ma Belle Province is falling apart.
-Marty's Husband, thanks.
-Sky, I can't believe you had no idea!
-Linda, don't worry about La belle Provence - we lived through the October crisis and lived to tell about it didn't we? Hugs to you.
Thank you for the enlightenment. All the best, Duke
Popular media surely gives a different picture. Thank you for this.
Thanks so much for providing an informative account that shatters the shallow talking points of the MSM. I wouldn't have had any understanding of this conflict without your post, Fusun. [r]
Great piece on the mind of students everywhere: we, here in the US, have a similar grind with our priorities. And you are most correct in stating that the students are the 'conscience' of their society. I do hope that people listen. We have our wake up call, as you have. The sense of investing in the future, which is quite complicated in its own nettlesome set of shifting needs, is one that many people -- everywhere -- just do not get. This is a cleansing process, with people in the streets, their is this prayer of hope, a breath of affirmation that fills the sense of our collective mind. I sure do wish this was reported in the US. I know many are with you in this struggle: let us join to make what must be, known and appreciated.
Thank you for your fine report. R>>>>>>>
What an eye-opener, Fusun. I follow the news fairly closely, and this is all news to me. I'll be watching to see how U.S. media handle this story, if they do at all, in the coming days, especially after a half-million went to the streets yesterday. Thanks for this!
Fusun,you are so right and meaningful.Indeed our generation will lead our children to not so good education,unemρloyement and misery,until we all "Students are the conscience and the pulse of a society. We need to listen to them with open ears and unbiased hearts. They have limited means to express what they believe is right and is important for their future. ".Same issues here in Greece.So thank you for the informations,the sharing and that you made me think!!Rated..
-Duke, Donegal, Victor, deepcalm, STATHI
Thank you all for reading and commenting. I sent pms to some.

-Daniel, I'm not surprised you haven't heard any of this, for mainstream media is terrible for reflecting what really goes on. Thank you for dropping by and expressing your thoughts.
This is Front Cover EP material.
Appalling, how the old guard are trying to cover p their insincere motives while trying to keep those of us still trying fo the better from succeeding.
It's ugly news.
Fusun, Very few people outside of Quebec know about the Quiet Revolution and all that it stood for. Good for you for pointing out that this movement is not just supported by students but "actually represents a large portion of Québec society and their values."
Okay, maybe I shouldn't say "very few " know about the Quiet Revolution... perhaps I should say, a limited portion of the population.
Jesus! Where do I start? There is so much BS glaring at me in this infuriating story, the list could be lengthy indeed.

Most of all, I find it infuriating that comments such as this; "Quebec students pay the lowest tuition in North America, and therefore, they should not be complaining," which of course is meant solely to marginalize the issue, are parroted by ANYONE with even half a brain.

Voicing such an argument is the very converse of logic to begin with. “If I have to pay more, then so should you?” What the hell? Doesn’t it seem much more logical to say; “hey! I want to pay less too! Let’s get together and do something about that?”

But then that’s just me; maybe I’m the backassward fool here.

This reminds me of the things I frequently heard growing up in the 50s, 60s and 70s, such as:

during the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.; “the blacks have it a lot better now than they used to; so they should just keep their mouths shut, or just go back to Africa! (as if their ancestors arrived here willingly while enjoying lobster and champagne on a Princess Line cruise ship);”

during the War in Vietnam; “America, Love it or Leave it!” UmmK? What does the war in Vietnam have to do with loving the U.S.?

during the hippie movement; “get a haircut and get a job, then you won’t have anything to complain about!” Uhhh, you old fart, you’re missing the point – I don’t want to be like you; apparently the length of hair is directly proportionate to the amount of brain cells one has, you buzz-cut moron!

There’s an acronym; “TANSTAAFL” – Their Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” used to educate accounting and/or finance students to the fact that, while people will say something is “free,” someone, somewhere pays for everything and “free” always comes back to us in one form or another for us to pay. This is often erroneously used to stifle many issues ESPECIALLY education cost issues.

But! Those who use it to this end are in fact using it egregiously incorrectly, when they should be thinking the reverse of what they do, e.g. how much do we pay out in costs associated with a lack of “free” education by "passing the cost on to the students, thereby making it their responsibility and free for us"?

A double whammy (beware, I use very technical jargon) of volumes upon volumes of violent crimes costing individuals and tax payers collectively billions of dollars annually at minimum and that’s just the cost of the crimes themselves, add to that the accompanying system costs of policing, judicial and penal systems (although much of that could be cancelled out by eliminating the war on drugs) and it reaches light years beyond insanity;

Absurd health care costs associated with ignorance and depression-related illnesses because the undereducated are, well, undereducated;

A triple whammy (don’t say you weren’t warned) in lost wages, making it rather difficult to buy things to perpetuate this wonderful capitalist economy we have, resulting in lost tax revenues and the now necessary government social support required for the under educated.


So maybe those over-indulging jackasses who seem to think that they shouldn’t be paying for education or in the case of a divided Canada, shouldn’t be allowing someone to have a less expensive education than they do should think a bit longer before they open their ignorant mouths; it’ll come back and get them eventually.

And all this doesn’t even begin to address the massive cost of the loss of freedom of the press.
FusunA, it is rare that I don't have the mental gearing for reading anything. Tonight is one of those rare moments. I will re-read the article (it's almost as long as something I'd write -- hee hee hee) tomorrow and then dig in with your piece. Right now, my head isn't in the right frame to do it justice.

I'm totally okay, just in another mode of thinking right now and it's not conducive to serious and heavy thought. Gotta laugh and love right now.

[using my best (and it's pretty good) Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation from that famous Movie, "Terminator" :

Ah'll be baack. [vrooom! vrooomm!]
I can't believe that video! So the police are trying to stop journalists from documenting what really goes on? All because students want to get an affordable education? Americans should join Canadians, we pay ridiculously high college fees. I'm sharing this on my FB.
Holy...! Please tell me that Canada is not becoming like us. Thank you Fusun for bringing this up. R
I am a youngish person living in downtown Montreal. I live under the constant nightly buzz of a police helicopter and squeal of sirens. I see and hear stories about people in my community being verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted day after day, night after night, for taking to the streets peacefully to stand for what they believe in and, ultimately, for what's right. I hear of mainstream Canadian and American media outright declaring war on them, as if it's funny to say 'someone should take a nightstick to these kids'. I also come across news about the movement posted on Facebook in solidarity by groups such as Occupy Canada, which are met with ignorant, racist, and completely uninformed or misinformed statements like 'the only people using violence are those stupid French kids.' I want to thank the author for this article, and the people commenting on it for your overwhelmingly supportive responses to it, because the mainstream media is not making it possible for people outside of Montreal, or Québec city, or Sherbrooke (to name a few of the hotbeds of this movement), let alone in the rest of Canada, the United States, or the world, to know or understand what's really happening here. Not only that, but the mainstream media is responsible for the propagation of lies, omission of important facts, and misrepresentation. First of all, we're not all kids, and we're not all French. This movement has gone far beyond language and Anglophone Québecers are equally involved and militant, despite the piss- poor job the English- language media (excluding some community media sources I will provide below) has done of framing the core issues. 'Kids' is also a mistaken term, as hundreds of thousands of people from far and wide, of all different ages and walks of life, have joined the movement, have marched in solidarity with the students, have stood on the sidelines of protests cheering and banging on pots and pans, have sat, stuck in their cars on clogged streets, through long lines of protestors, honking and waving and yelling 'bravo!' Union workers have come out by the thousands to show unwavering support. Political parties, ecologist groups, artists and celebrities have all come out. Why? Because everything is connected and this is the beginning of a revolution. This began with tuition fee hikes but has ballooned into a fight against fascistic neo- liberalism (please see the first link provided in this piece for details about the Québec Liberal Party's ties to the mafia and other points that affect society as a whole and can be connected the the issue of tuition fee hikes.) On the question of violence: from the beginning, the movement has been peaceful, and protests were largely so for quite a while. Student association leaders publicly discouraged violence at all times. As the provincial government continued to ignore the student strike, mocking it openly, tensions grew and new groups of people added themselves to the protesting crowds- among them black block anarchist groups (who have their own tactic that I'm not criticizing, but simply contrasting with the tactic of peaceful protest.) Yes, it got ugly at times, as the video above showing the outside of the Salon Plan Nord shows. What else could have been expected in the face of bullying and mockery from those who are supposed to defend the public interest? However, for all the police beatings, use of chemical irritants, cases of sexual assault of female protestors, although there may have been some broken windows and some damaged public and private property around Montreal and other cities in Québec, I have never seen or heard of a protestor lifting a finger offensively to hurt another person (except perhaps in the mainstream media, which likes to claim every now and then that a police officer [wearing riot armour, might I add] was 'brutally beaten'). I have been to a number of protests, two of which counted 300 000 and 500 000 participants, respectively. These protests were beautiful, peaceful, massive gatherings of smiling people, families with young children, the elderly, workers, students, everyone believing in the duty to stand up for the common good- and yet the media chose to focus on small, isolated instances of so- called criminal activity. I say so- called, especially in the case of yesterday's half- million- person protest, because since the passing of the 'Special Law' 78, things such as failing to dissuade someone from protesting on a route not given to the police beforehand, showing support for protestors who may be taking to the streets on an undeclared route, or failing to report more radical activity to the authorities (i.e, failing to police) count as criminal acts. Law 78 contradicts the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is unconstitutional and potentially criminalizes all members of Québec society, in an effort to scare people away and have them back down in their exponentially growing support for the students. This law is a direct assault on our freedoms of speech, expression, association, and assembly. Many people- respectable members of society, as well as the leader of one of the opposition parties, have declared that they will engage in civil disobedience by refusing to submit to this unconstitutional and therefore illegitimate law. As they should. For my part, I will not be scared into refraining from showing unfettered support on social media or in public spaces for the young people who are risking their well- being and their livelihoods every single night in ongoing nocturnal protests that become face- offs with an extremely heavy- handed police force, consisting of municipal police backed by provincial police. What does scare me, though, is the perception of what's happening that's being spread by media outfits that are failing us and failing democracy. So please, friends, look up the prolific video documentation of police intimidation and brutality on youtube. Turn to community- supported, grassroots media to learn the truth. Please visit http://www.montrealmediacoop.ca for news, and tune into http://www.cutvmontreal.ca for live, front- line coverage of the nightly protests, which can range from several hundreds to several thousands of people depending on the night (there have been approximately 30 consecutive nocturnal protests by now.) These media groups go where the sissies we see on t.v either dare not to, or choose not to as a covert branch of the government. You will never see in the mainstream news what you see on CUTV- raw and real numbers and actions and exchanges between people protesting and those trying to silence and oppress them on the behalf of an infuriatingly, sickeningly corrupt western government. And please, please spread the word. Let the world know the truth about our struggles so that we can live without having insult added to injury by being downplayed, criticized, judged and laughed at. If you care for any more information or to know how you can help by signing petitions or making donations that will help with court fees in an effort to have Law 78 repealed, feel free to drop me a line at bellaprunella@gmail.com. Thanks.
That being said, I have one pernickety thing to point out about the article- I wouldn't say that Line Beauchamp resigned 'in light of' Jean Charest's deflection of any discussion about tuition fees by proposing increased student loan limits and extended repayment periods. Line Beauchamp echoed these proposals for a significant amount of time. The media were all saying that she was burnt out, which is probably true. What they were more reticent to say, however, while commenting on the fact that she was the second vice- premiere and minister under Charest to resign, was that Charest probably just about told her to resign, as the impasse that the conflict was at at the time was horrendous press, and it probably made his party look good for Beauchamp to do something seemingly so noble.
I just spent the last hour or so reading your article and watching the videos. I have been following the events in Montreal, and media coverage of the situation, closely and with despair and frustration.

I am totally in support of the principles of the Student Movement. I believe, and hope, that youth and old alike around the country will join in and promote their views of Status Quo in Canada. I agree entirely with your analysis of the issues, they were well expressed.

The status quo is indeed a dismal one, where taxpayers are, without any choice, footing the costs of continuos wasteful spending in this country. G10 Summit extravaganzas, building of prisons, purchasing warfare toys, corruption in civil servant spending, and on and on.

We enjoy several social services in this country which are not self-funding but rely heavily on the tax pot. Examples are Health care, RCMP, Old age pension, Welfare, National defense, Public Schools. We see these services as essential. Why is University education not in this list. Are we not encouraging our youth to strive to learn, prepare themselves for taking over the future of this country. Why do fighter jets have more priority over education and self-betterment. What say do we taxpayers have in this decision?

I grew up in the sixties, and believe that our generation accomplished an impressive amount of social change in the past 40 years. We rebelled against our parents' values. Moral issues such as Women's rights, racism, sexual harassment, prejudice, gay rights, abortion, sex before marriage- all went through significant transformation, and all for the better! My generation also demonstrated, got abused by police and political "leaders" and media at the time. But we did not give up, and fought these issues relentlessly, as they arose. Imagine the irony of Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Elton John, getting knighted? The previous generation scoffed at them and refused to acknowledge their genius in music and personal merits at the time. We know better now, don't we.

I urge all of you to listen to our youth, guide them in difficult times of phenomenal social change, admit our mistakes, and work with them to try to correct them. There is a lot of young brainpower and energy out there...

Governments, Please stop police brutality, and treat our youth in a dignified and intelligent manner. Show leadership and maturity, lead by example. Start addressing this as a national issue, rather than point fingers at Quebec and promote further polarization of this country. Stop playing these events in political calculations.


an ex-pat Ontarian
Akl-Best to them!
What a spokesperson they have in you!
I'd no idea this was going on and I am in your debt for this. Rated.
We must support the rights of protesters to point out the wrongs in society.
We must support the rights to demand proper channels to hold such protests.
We must support the rights of freedom of the press to direct our attention to these protests.

I have been aware of the ongoing protests Fusun. And reading on what is happening in Canada.
I thank you for bringing this issue to a broader audience.
Good for those students. I went to a city university, which was not free, but dirt cheap compared to the many private institutions which cost a fortune. I partook in student protests against tuition hikes with my fellow students too. I beleve all colleges and universities should be free in the US, so that everyone, regardless of economic or social strata has a chance to become whatever they wish to be. It seems now that only the very wealthy can afford premiere educations, and to me, that is un-American.
It's amazing to me that with any entrenched 'old school' system of education there is none but you are expected to pay for it if you actually want to learn something. My oldest daughter just graduated as a DVSM (Surgical Veterinarian) the costs roughly 1/2 million for 5 years. She although attained 6 scholarships and worked during that time to pay for it, my wife and I covered the rest from trusts we have set up just for our children's education.
She is in practice now and has a great paying job for life.
In contrast (exactly what the students in Quebec are protesting) most young adults cannot expect to be able to pay for it and are relegated to less expensive alternatives with no prospect or assurance they can even be employed. Quebec's media portrayal is shameful but predictable as with any politically motivated activity. Hell I know students that have applied for jobs with me and HAVE a college degree (and debt) but read on a 5th or 6th grade level and couldn't find their ass without an app. Entrenched money and politics are hard to break. Hopefully the students in Quebec will win their quest. In America though they have been amusing and distracting young people and stealing an education from them and the ones that truly want to learn can't. Great post.....o/e r******
Fusun, your impeccable reporting skills are so crucial in a situation like this. You bring to the table a reasonable piece that explains both sides of the issue, something that is severely lacking in mainstream (American) media. And you point out that it is no different to the north.
The open letter brings up so very many good points - especially the need for reasonable debate and not a quelling of opinion and action.
Thank you so much for always shining the light on such crucial issues. Rated with admiration.
Thanks for this piece about something that goes to the heart of democratic societies. Also appreciated the Quiet Revolution history.
OH no it sounds like Wisconsin politics. Cheese any one?
What seems missing is the possibility that parents who have children, raise them, and want them to be educated might...somewhere along the line....put aside some $$ for their future college tuition. In the absence of that, students can also work before they go to college (maybe even delaying the start of university by a year or two-- not the end of the world) and save some $$ toward tuition. Otherwise, raising taxes for government to offer free university is the only other answer. Frankly, I love Canada but I sometimes think Canadians want it both ways...low taxes and endless free government services. Not realistic.
Ach, I'm tired of hearing that the media are the problem: It's always easy to shoot the messenger. I should know.

I've been following this on the CBC, which has devoted considerable resources to coverage, and has consistently pointed out that the issues are far more widespread than tuition fee hikes. They include the investigation just getting under way into organised crime and the construction industry, bribes and general thuggery.

I've seen student leaders and ordinary citizens interviewed, giving well-reasoned and articulate responses to questions ranging from how long this will last to their discontent with the Charest government and this latest attempt to throttle debate and dissent.

And, while of course there has been reporting on instances of the police being attacked and of students still attending classes being intimidated, the coverage I've seen has been balanced, fair and, insofar as can be the case with such a broadly based protest, comprehensive.
Wow - I am stunned to find the kind of response I did this morning.
Some of the comments are worth a distinct post on their own. Thank you!

Boomer Bob - Your comments are right on every point. As a frim believer that ignorance is the root of all evil, I could not agree more with you that the staggering health costs are the direct results of undereducation.

Christopher - I know you'll be back. I'm tickled that for once I wrote something almost as long as you might. Be good my friend.

Stillgreen, Thoth - Thanks for your comments.

Youngsih person in Montreal - I am extremely touched by your passion, insight, articulation and analysis of the situation as you expressed it. I wish you had written this post as your comments certainly explain mine far better. Thank you very much for taking the time and commenting. I believe that you are a good representative of the majority of youth who have been fighting relentlessly on this mission and I wish them all the victory they so richly deserve for them and for their posterity.

Kate - Hiding our heads in the sand doesn't do much good, but to each her own. Thanks for reading.

Loverofbooks - Thank you for your time and another riveting comment. You make many valid points about our generation, what we have learned fromour own experiences and why we should indeed support this movement rather than sit on the sidelines criticising students. Thank you!

Jonathan - Thank you, as usual, for your open mindednes.

Mission - You are welcome. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Erica - Absolutely. Education should be an equal opportunity, available to eveyryone regardless of their financial status.

O/E - Your example demonstrates how a good education can serve well, but one should NOT have to kill oneself just to obtain scholarships and work day and night just to pay them off up front. I hope you're right about Quebec students winning their fight. Thank you for dropping by.

Michelle - Thank you, it's lovely to see you here with your comments.

Mary – Thank you.

Tg – I don't know what you mean. I'm not familiar with Wisconsin politics, my friend.

Mary-Ann – Canadians hardly pay low taxes at all. That is a total misconception. In Quebec alone we pay a sales tax calculated on first a Federal tax levied on the item and then a provincial tax added upon the already taxed total. Where else do you pay tax upon tax? Unlike Americans, Canadians cannot deduct their mortgage interests from their income taxes – just another example. Besides, more than about free education, this is about government's accountability of their reckless spending of peoples money.

Boanerges - I understand where you are coming from. I am part of the media too, just not mainstream by choice. I cannot deny that greater media is still controlled by big wigs and not eveything that transpires is shown unless one investigates in search for balance.
So sadly this greed is everywhere the entire world has gone crazy...in the end really can't those who want it all see what they are destroying to keep it all? What good will all that money be in a dead world?
@ Mary Ann Sorrentino: It's a nice thought that parents hsould put away money to save for their children's future, but, well, NOT always VERY REALISTIC. What do you propose for single parents with hourly- wage- paying jobs providing an income incommensurate with the cost of living? Not everyone who would wish for his or her children to attend university has had the opportunity to do so him or herself. Add to that high taxation rates, expensive public 'services' (such as public transity), and you'll find that people may feel like they're being forced into corners. And sure young people CAN put off school and work to save some money, but why SHOULD they? What kind of a society allows that to become a necessary pre- requisite for having access to higher education? The problem is that so many people have come to take this 'well that's reality so snap out of it and get on the ball with the rest of us' kind of view. Where are our ideals? When did we stop aspiring to the good, the just, and the true? Of course, there will always be problems in society, but they should present themselves and be taken as opportunities to strive towards even better and not to stick our heads in the sand and accept as 'reality' what governments dictate to us, while they go around spending their money to help out their corporate buddies, who in turn will reward them with jetset lifestyles once they've retired from 'public service.' It's easy to talk about things in black and white. Higher taxation of individual citizens is not the only answer, and certainly not the one I would propose (nor that Québec students have been proposing) considering our already high taxes income and sales taxes. If the banks, for one, were taxed for even just 1% of their net profit towards funding higher education, a lot more people would be able to go to school and would graduate into better jobs, thereby improving the economy.
Ps: If anyone thinks funding education would cost both arms and legs to tax payers in Québec, I hope you realize that it might as well be costing us our souls to arm and deploy the insane amounts of police forces that are in the streets every day and night, and keep helicopters hovering above for hours on end, and clean up messes caused during heated protests, and pay for the public transit authority's overtime hours for moving police around town and using buses as makeshift prisons to hold detained protestors...
Just some questions.

Don’t approximately 70% of the population oppose the strike?
Don’t approximately 70% of the Montreal students oppose the strike?
Where strike votes have been taken, have they ever been by secret ballot?
Weren’t the tuition hikes first proposed a few years ago?
Even after the increases won’t Quebec tuitions remain the lowest in Canada?
Isn’t the Quebec government facing proportionally the biggest deficit and carrying the biggest debt in the country?
Doesn’t Quebec receive proportionally the highest rate of transfer payments from other parts of the country?

If it’s true that Quebec’s finances are in the most precarious state and they’re already receiving the largest subsidies from elsewhere and the tuition rates are now and will remain the lowest, a tuition hike doesn’t seem so out of line to me.
Informative post. Not surprised by any of this. The media, like politicians, rely on income from large corporations and monied influential people; therefore, their principles rule what comes out as speech. Perhaps we are on the verge of global revolution with the help of the internet (and its technological iterations) and in-the-trenches communication. The media used to be more a source of information than indoctrination.
I have no idea why U.S. students aren't up in arms. Too busy taking out student loans and scrambling for non-existent jobs, I guess.

I just learned that the students of the University of Ottawa have occupied the university offices to oppose tuition hikes in the footsteps of their Quebec counterparts. You can read more at the following link:

Congratulations on the excellent reporting and on the well deserved EP as well.
I second that. Quite an eye opener and excellent commentaries.
Wow, well now I am thoroughly demoralized. Not only does this sound way too much like what is happening in the U.S. in terms of the movement toward what I consider to be insanely conservative governments; I am picking up a whiff of the Canadian form of U.S. racsim, except it is divided over language instead of color.

Why was the letter written only to Anglo Canadians? Aren't most citizens of Montreal/Quebec bilingual? Or is the division somehow a cultural one masquerading as a political one? I would love for you to write more about the unique tensions between the English and the French.

None of this is making the mainstream news in my region. I knew nothing of this protest and here there are a half million people in the streets of Montreal, at least according to the student who commented above. Is the news, in fact, being suppressed, even in the U.S.?

I'm learning a lot today on Open Salon. Rated with gratitude for keeping so many of us informed.
I'm learning a lot today on Open Salon. Rated with gratitude for keeping so many of us informed.
Lezlie - There's always duplicity in Quebec as far as language. I linked English translations of everything for the benefit of my readers. You can rest assured everything is also written in French as well.

Stim, Sarah, Jeanette - Thank you for reading and your comments.

DandyLion - Your questions should be answered if you read the link i provided in the text.
Thanks for documenting this example of the importance of freedom of expression and association. I'm so glad to see you got this well-deserved Editor's Pick. Thank you for an edifying and educational piece!
I did read the link but couldn't find anything on the provincial government's deficit, debt or level of federal transfers. The unparagraphed, multi-screen wall of text style makes it easy to miss something so my apologies if I did.
Canada, particularly the province of Quebec, has a history of repression of which almost no one outside of Canada has any awareness. The only time we hear anything about what's going on in Canada is when somebody blows something up.
Yay! It made the EP status I'd hoped it would!!!!!!
Congrats to you, my friend!
Can't wait to read this tomorrow. Looks fascinating xoo.
“The student strikes are far deeper than what they seem on the surface. In fact a study into their recent history will easily reveal that the student strike is not simply related to increased tuition fees, but to much broader issues affecting all of society.”

This is a key, important point. The protests have morphed into something bigger, and even more important. And it should only be the beginning. As Marty’s Husband wrote above, “the cognitive dissonance of the world's government is coming to a head...it's happening everywhere.”
I read the "link" and I need to digest it before going on. So much we had no idea about Canada. Thank you for all this info.
First.....extraodinary write3 up, Fusun!
A lot of comments here have been about the state of finances in Quebec, but I go back to your title....
Is freedom of press under attack in Montreal?

Honestly, in my opinion, not all that educated or brilliant....yeah......I think "under attack" is not far off.

The question I have...still pondering as I read this....is "why?"
Am I missing something here?
Wow , thanks for sharing this, I wish them the best!
First of all, solidarity from America.

Second, part of the problem with the political situation in all capitalist countries right now is the pseudo-left. This is the left that stands by occupations and protests on the one hand while trying to funnel the passions represented by these events back into a moribund parliamentary politics. We're past that in many ways, although I don't think one should entirely discount it.

Still it strikes me that even the students in Quebec buy into this myth of call-and-response. If you protest, and make your voices heard, power will have to respond eventually in some kind of productive way. Or perhaps the opposition, if they're put in power, will do the right thing and abandon the failed positions of austerity and punishing, repressive laws. These have proven to be false in both Europe and America, where opposition parties continue to lie and collude with capital and continue the policies of neoliberal control states.

So the real problem does come down to the state, and here, I'm afraid, even some of the legitimate left are still lagging behind the multitude. Noam Chomsky, for instance, for all his intelligence, continues to insist on the impossibility of fighting the state head-on. He's become one of the best propagandists for the state by constantly going on about how powerful and violent it is, how it can't be abolished, how even thinking about abolishing the state in its present form is, well, unthinkable. I think that's grossly stupid.

It's like we're trapped in a very confined space with a wounded tiger, and one side is trying to make plans on how to kill it, while there are others who keep complaining how this is impossible, how it can't be done, no matter what. But what is their alternative exactly? There is no legitimate opposition in parliamentary or so called democratic politics. Middle class solutions have reached a dead end. So they're reduced to making plans for how to sit down and have tea with the tiger. Which is more ridiculous?

In other words, in many ways, we don't have a choice. This holy-grail type belief in choice is misplaced. Contingency is by definition quite limiting, and we live in very contingent times. For that matter, so do the ruling classes, and so does the state. Acquiescence, collaboration, these really are not options, because they're totally ineffective, even more ineffective than the alternatives, and also because state regards those behaviors as EVEN MORE suspicious. The state, even though it's not a subjectivity, is the most paranoid of the paranoiacs, as laws like this one in Quebec demonstrate. And nothing sets off a paranoiac like agreeing with him.

Continue the fight. See it through. Never, never make the mistake of settling on some kind of partial solution. Keep expanding and expanding the implications. And then, expand them some more.... Really, what else can you do with a wounded, pissed off tiger?

I did not know any of this...thank you. My sense of Canada has always been that you are a progressive and humanistic country. wtf?
All of these movements and demonstrations
All over the world
When will they listen?
Will they listen?
How bad does it have to get before they listen?
Last night I heard CBC interviewing people who do seasonal work about the new regulations about Employment Insurance.
Why does police brutality always seem to happen when people protest? It seems the police are closer to the people that demonstrate than they are to the leaders who send them to commit this brutality.
Excellent post.
rated with love
And not a word of this in the US media while the tuition costs here are staggering.
How easy it is to forget when we get older and snug in our old age. Remember how our generation also demonstrated against the Vietnam War, the establishment, for free love. We got abused by the media the police and the so called leaders of the time. Did we give up? Are we giving up now? Think of the Occupy Movements that have been spreading. Bravo to the Canadian students! Stand up for your principles and don't give up. You may awaken the conscience of your generation around the world.
The world is at war with itself.
This recent AP/NY Times article continues to paint a picture of complaints over already lowest tuitions. None of the counter arguments of student debt, budget allocations, etc. are mentioned. It has been only on Salon Open that I have any idea of the full story and all the issues involved.

Thanks to many who have read and commented. I will not reply everyone individually to avoid repetition. I have included further links below for interested readers.
@ Spence Blakely - You may like to look at the following links if you are interested. Thank you for your comments.



This was a fine presentation on some ugly business. Thank you for making things much more clear. R
Well deserved EP by the way. This was SO good!
Glad you marching the march and talking the talk here. Bravo!
Thanks Fusun for this enlightening piece. I swear, we all seem to be going backwards. There is no greater investment a country can make in its future than the education of its citizens. As I typed those words it occurred to me, perhaps upward mobility for the masses is not what they want.

It was one of the founding fathers who lamented how terrible it would be if all people thought they were equal. Thomas Jefferson even suggested that "common folk" should not even be counted as part of America. The 1% have been around a long time.
I am glad that democracy is alive and well in Quebec you seem to be ahead of us in the U.S. at the moment!
As an American with a French-Canadian heritage, I applaud and support the students in Quebec and all across Canada.
I have a dear friend who is joining in the pot banging with you.

Lawyers march against Bill 78

“Hundreds of lawyers hit the streets of Montreal Monday to show their displeasure with Bill 78.

They walked, in full court regalia, from the courthouse to Emilie Gamelin Park Monday afternoon.

"We have some people who support tuition hikes, some people who are against it, but what we are concerned about is as lawyers, as notaries as jurists, what we are concerned is that this law is attacking some fundamental civil rights upon which our constitution relies," said Remi Bourget.”

Source: ctvmontreal.ca
Premier Jean Charest met with student leaders, before dozens arrested at Quebec City protest
Source: http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120528/mtl_negotiations_120528?hub=MontrealHome
Concordia University Political Science Professor Harold Chorney was highly critical of the Charest government's handling of the tuition issue.
Source: http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120526/mtl_chorney_120526?hub=MontrealHome
I endorse the idea of paying for college education after it has earned income for the students. I think that's brilliant. And, yes, in Canada, where universal health care exists, I think everybody should pay for the education of doctors. Way better than the US system of paying when you need medicine, so each visit is super costly. Lots of great ideas here. Thanks for posting!
I live in New Zealand, another lapdog of Wall Street, the US military industrial complex and the corporate media. It would make you gag if I told you what our government has agreed to (as regards education) under the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trades.
Geezerchick - Thank you for visiting and reading this piece. Your comments are much appreciated.

Dr Bramhall - Thank you for commenting. If you ever decide to write about in how it is in New Zealand,please send me a note.
May 30, 2012

Students, and government go into third day of talks.

A CROP/Radio-Canada poll released late Friday shows 60 percent of Quebecers oppose Bill 78.

Actually, Lord Acton in his famous letter of 1857 said that "power tends to corrupt . . . . " I like that hedge because power does not always corrupt.

Nonetheless, great report Füsun!
Comments are now closed.