Tag Archives: Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Anna Kruzynski on Quebec’s Maple Spring (video)

(Via РСД)

DemocracyNow.org (May 25, 2012) – More than 400,000 filled the streets of Montreal this week as a protest over a 75 percent increase in tuition has grown into a full-blown political crisis. After three months of sustained protests and class boycotts that have come to be known around the world as the “Maple Spring,” the dispute exploded when the Quebec government passed an emergency law known as Bill 78, which suspends the current academic term, requires demonstrators to inform police of any protest route involving 50 or more people, and threatens student associations with fines of up to $125,000 if they disobey. The strike has received growing international attention as the standoff grows, striking a chord with young people across the globe amid growing discontent over austerity measures, bleak economies and crushing student debt. We’re joined by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesperson for CLASSE, the main coalition of student unions involved in the student strikes in Quebec; and Anna Kruzynski, assistant professor at the School of Community and Public Affairs at Concordia University in Montreal. She has been involved in the student strike as a member of the group “Professors Against the Hike.”

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Support the CLASSE Legal Committee! (Quebec Student Strike)

(Via Edufactory mailing list)

Request for solidarity and support for the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Sisters, brothers,

We write you during a dark time for democratic, human and associative rights in Quebec with the following appeal for your help and solidarity. As you have no doubt heard, the government recently enacted legislation that amounts to the single biggest attack on the right to organize and freedom of expression in North America since the McCarthy period and the biggest attack on civil and democratic rights since the enactment of the War Measures Act in 1970. Arguably, this recent law will unduly criminalize more law-abiding citizens than even McCarthy’s hearings and the War Measures Act ever could.

Among other draconian elements brought forward by this law, any gathering of 50 or more people must submit their plans to the police eight hours ahead of time and must agree to any changes to the gathering’s trajectory, start time, etc. Any failure to comply with this stifling of freedom of assembly and association will be met with a fine of up to $5,000 for every participant, $35,000 for someone representing a ‘leadership’ position, or $125,000 if a union – labour or student – is deemed to be in charge. The participation of any university staff (either support staff or professors) in any student demonstration (even one that follows the police’s trajectory and instructions) is equally punishable by these fines. Promoting the violation of any of these prohibitions is considered, legally, equivalent to having violated them and is equally punishable by these crippling fines.

One cannot view this law in isolation. In the past few months, the Québec student movement – inspired by Occupy, the Indignados of Spain, the students of Chile, and over 50 years of student struggle in Québec; and presently at North America’s forefront of fighting the government’s austerity agenda – has been confronted by precedent-shattering judicial and police repression in an attempt to force the end of the strike and our right to organize collectively. Our strike was voted and is re-voted every week in local general assemblies across Québec. As of May 18th, 2012, our committee has documented and is supporting 472 criminal accusations as well as 1047 ticket and penal offenses. One week in April saw over 600 arrests in three days. And those numbers only reflect those charged with an offense, without mentioning the thousands pepper sprayed and tear gassed, clubbed and beaten, detained and released. It does not mention Francis Grenier, who lost use of most of an eye when a sound grenade was illegally thrown by a police officer into his face in downtown Montreal. It does not mention Maxence Valade who lost a full eye and Alexandre Allard who clung to life in a coma on a hospital bed for days, both having received a police rubber bullet to the head in Victoriaville. And the thousands of others brutalized, terrorized, harassed and assaulted on our streets. Four students are currently being charged under provisions of the anti-terrorist laws enacted following September 11th.

In addition to these criminal and penal cases, of particular concern for those of us involved in the labour movement is that anti-strike forces have filed injunctions systematically from campus to campus to prevent the enactment of strike mandates, duly and democratically voted in general assemblies. Those who have defended their strike mandates and enforced the strike are now facing Contempt of Court charges and their accompanying potential $50,000 fines and potential prison time. One of our spokespeople, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, will appear in Superior Court under such a charge for having dared say, on May 13th of this year, that “I find it legitimate” that students form picket lines to defend their strike.

While we fight, on principle, against this judicialization of a political conflict, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the struggle on the streets has been, for many, transferred to the courtroom and we must act to defend our classmates, our friends and our family. This defense needs your help. Many students have been denied access to Legal Aid to help them to defend themselves. This, while students filing injunctions to end strikes have been systematically granted Legal Aid. While sympathetic lawyers in all fields of law have agreed to reduced rates and a lot of free support,
the inherent nature of the legal system means we are spending large sums of money on this defense by the day.

It is in this context that we appeal to you to help us cover the costs of this, our defense. Not only must we help those being unduly criminalized and facing injunctions undermining their right to associate, but we must act now and make sure that the criminalization and judicialization of a political struggle does not work and set a precedent that endangers the right to free speech and free assembly.

If you, your union, or your organization is able to give any amount of financial help, it would make an undeniable difference in our struggle. In addition to the outpouring of support from labour across Quebec, we have already begun to receive trans-Canadian and international solidarity donations. We thank you for adding your organization’s support to the list.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email legal AT asse-solidarité.qc.ca. Telephone numbers can be given to you in a private message. You can also send you donation directly to the order of “Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante” (2065 rue Parthenais, Bureau 383, Montréal, QC, H2K 3T1) noting “CLASSE Legal Committee” in the memo line.

In solidarity,

Max Silverman
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Volunteer with the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Andrée Bourbeau
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Delegate to the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Emilie Charette
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Delegate to the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Emilie Breton-Côté
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Volunteer with the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

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Of Montreal (On the Quebec Student Strike)

Translation of speech by bloquonslahausse.com/ English translation of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois’s historic March 22nd, 2012 speech to the students. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is the spokesperson for the Large de l’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (CLASSE) bloquonslahausse.com/. I made this translation with the help of my friend Francis for the Anglophone students who asked for more English coverage of the student strike. Very proud to have Gabriel as our spokesperson.

In recent weeks, I have been fortunate to do several interviews on television, on the radio and in the newspapers, repeating the claims of the student movement, but today … today is a unique moment for me because we are in the hundreds of thousands in the streets, and the strikes are not happening on television sets. The strike is happening in the streets! In recent weeks, the media, the Minister of Education, Mrs. Beauchamp, Minister of Finance, Mr. Bachand and Prime Minister Jean Charest keep hammering that WE are at war with the workers. I have some news for the Liberal government. Since coming into power, it is THEY who continue to attack our working men and women. During the Journal de Montreal lockout, where were the Liberals? Following the Rio Tinto Alcan lockout, where were the Liberals? Following the AVEOS closing, where were the Liberals? THEY were with the bosses! And WE were, and ARE STILL on the side of the working people of Quebec, and against the corrupt and dirty government. It’s not … it’s not the student movement that is at war with the people of Quebec. Those who are at war against the people, is the Liberal government and their economic and political allies WE. ARE. THE. PEOPLE. Mrs. Beauchamp’s glasses may be broken, but it’s the government that is blind to the largest grassroots mobilization in the history of Quebec. One day, when we have free education, our kids will be in school, and when they’ll open their history books to the date of March 22nd 2012, they will speak of this day as the day when the youth of Quebec stood up for accessible education. And when they will speak of spring 2012, it will be called the Student Spring, and it will be the spring of victory! We will, dear friends…WE WILL WIN. We will win, but we have not yet won. Everywhere in the media, and around the corridors of the National Assembly, they say that today’s event was very beautiful, that it’s the only one that will be as massive, and that starting today, the student movement will falter. NO! We must make them liars, starting tomorrow! We must return to our CEGEPs and our universities, and talk about the general strike even more. We must go beyond the general strike if we want to disprove those who say that our movement will falter. We will have to collectively go beyond our streets. We will have to disrupt. We will have to occupy. We will have to shake Québec. Today, hundreds of people bravely blocked the access to the Port of Montreal, because… Why did they do that? Because this government has only one language: money. And if we want to win, THAT is the language we must speak to them. Mr. Charest, Mrs. Beauchamp, Mr. Bachand, you are wrong when you say that the student movement will collapse. In the coming weeks, we will be more numerous than ever before and we will take to the streets even more. We will disturb Quebec more than ever. Mr. Bachand, Mrs. Beauchamp, Mr. Charest, open your eyes, you are surrounded. You only have one option: BACK OFF ON YOUR DECISION.


The Chronicle of Higher Education, “The Biggest Student Strike You’ve Never Heard of”:

On an unseasonably warm day in late March, a quarter of a million postsecondary students and their supporters gathered in the streets of Montreal to protest against the Liberal government’s plan to raise tuition fees by 75% over five years.  As the crowd marched in seemingly endless waves from Place du Canada, dotted with the carrés rouges, or red squares, that have become the symbol of the Quebec student movement, it was plainly obvious that this demonstration was the largest in Quebec’s, and perhaps Canadian, history.

The strike has been supported by near-daily protest actions ranging from family-oriented rallies to building occupations and bridge blockades, and, more recently, by a campaign of political and economic disruption directed against government ministries, crown corporations, and private industry.  Although generally peaceful, these actions have met with increasingly brutal acts of police violence: Student protesters are routinely beaten, pepper-sprayed, and tear-gassed by riot police, and one, Francis Grenier, lost an eye after being hit by a flashbang grenade at close range.  Meanwhile, college and university administrators have deployed a spate of court injunctions and other legal measures in an unsuccessful attempt to break the strike, and Quebec’s premier, Jean Charest, remains intransigent in spite of growing calls for his government to negotiate with student leaders.

So, why haven’t you heard about this yet?

Read the rest of the article here.


Antonia Maioni, “Charest’s Marie Antoinette moment,” The Globe and Mail, April 24, 2012″:

Last Friday, the contrast between Quebec students and their provincial government could not have been sharper: Outside, tear gas filled the streets as riot police scuffled with young protesters; inside, at a business lunch on his plan to develop Quebec’s north, Premier Jean Charest joked that “we could offer them a job … in the North, as far as possible.”

As Mr. Charest reaches his Marie Antoinette moment, there still seems to be some skepticism in the rest of Canada about what’s taking place in this “Quebec Spring,” some of it incredulity, much of it incomprehension. But like a lot of others things, the politics of higher education is different in Quebec.

Access to universities and colleges is an important legacy of the Quiet Revolution. The mid-sixties’ Parent Report, which laid the basis for sweeping education reform in Quebec, recommended the abolition of university fees. While it didn’t happen for universities, it did for the two-year colleges (CEGEP) that serve as prep courses for some, and as professional or vocational training for others.

The ensuing protests of 1968 reflected a radicalization of the student movement, with an emphasis on the role of higher education in breaking down barriers to socio-economic disparities and language status. The spirit behind the notion of free tuition – that higher education needed to be democratized and that money should not impede equal access – remained a powerful force for decades…

Read the rest of the article here.


Violence breaks out during student protest
April 25, 2012

MONTREAL — Starting out peacefully, another chaotic student protest overtook Montreal’s downtown on Wednesday night after Quebec’s three student federations broke off negotiations with Education Minister Line Beauchamp.

Angry at the exclusion of CLASSE from the minister’s negotiations only hours earlier, over 5,000 took in the streets to show support for the province’s more militant student federation.

With a “truce” declared between the student federations and the Quebec government, Beauchamp expelled CLASSE after an uproarious protest on Tuesday saw five arrests, an injured police officer and the window of a bank smashed.

There were more disruptions Wednesday morning, with a pair of smoke bombs tossed in the Montreal subway system, while there were several protests in the city. According to Beauchamp, CLASSE’s announcement of the protests on its website broke the truce.

Wednesday’s protest

While the students gathering at Place Emilie-Gamelin, near Berri-UQAM metro, were mostly peaceful at the start of Wednesday night, the protest slowly began to unravel as the crowd marched west, heading toward Premier Jean Charest’s office.

Organized by the association representing UQAM’s political science and law students, the march began 45 minutes late, at 9:15 p.m. The students did not provide a route to the Montreal police before the protest—something not unusual over the past 11 weeks of protests.

The first hour of the protest was relatively peaceful, with students chanting against Beauchamp and Charest.

Bank windows began to shatter an hour into the protest as some protesters began to throw rocks. With cars being hit by paint and store windows breaking, the protest was declared illegal at around 10 p.m.

A showdown soon developed near the corner of Stanley St. and Ste. Catherine St. as pepper spray and rocks were exchanged. A window of the nearby Chapter’s bookstore was broken as a car was set on fire at the intersection.

Encircling the crowd, Montreal police ordered the protesters to disperse. While some rocks and bricks continued to be thrown, the majority of the protesters began to disperse before 11 p.m.

Several journalists were hit by pepper spray during the protest, including one of CTV Montreal’s cameramen. Earlier in the evening, protesters targeted photojournalists with paint balls.

The Montreal police have yet to report on any arrests or injuries from the clash on one of the city’s main commercial arteries.

A smaller protest was organized on the steps of the National Assembly earlier on Wednesday afternoon.

The situation is still developing.


@CUTVnews – Montreal says “NO!”, protestors confront police in the streets

Tonight, an estimated 10,000 Montreal residents took to the streets to protest against Minister of Education Line Beauchamp following her rejection of CLASSE in the ongoing negotions. FECQ and FEUQ dropped out of negotiations with the Minister as a show of solidarity with CLASSE.

Watch live video of last night’s protests here.


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