Watch out, Quebeckers, North Korea is coming. And its name is emergency Bill 78.
Penned during an all-night session by Premier Jean Charest’s government, this bill sets strict limits on public demonstrations and threatens stiff penalties to anyone trying to exercise their right to gather in protest and exercise free speech.
“This bill, if adopted, is a breach to the fundamental, constitutional rights of the citizens,” says the bar association president Louis Masson, who goes on to note how “The scale of its restraints on fundamental freedoms isn’t justified by the objectives aimed by the government.”
The precedent set here isn’t just bad for Quebec, it’s bad for our entire country. If they can do it there, why not everywhere?
So a handful of individuals seize the protests as opportunity to resort to vandalism and violence and the entire movement gets punished. How typical! No wonder police go undercover to disturb the peace… it so readily negates populist uprisings.
Which is really too bad, because I love what the students have been doing. I love their energy, their spirit, and their tenacity in the face of a domineering establishment. And really, their cause is just. Sure, they already pay the lowest tuition in all of Canada, and the hikes are relatively small. But that’s no reason not to expect better.
Instead of hating on Quebec’s students for being engaged in our democracy, maybe a better question is ‘Why aren’t the rest of Canadian students out demanding lower costs for themselves?’