Everything you need to know about Quebec’s latest student strike
March 29, 2015 11:03 AM   Subscribe

What’s a student strike? Can the education minister cancel the semester? How many students are in the streets? Though it may have appeared spontaneous, the student strike of 2012 took a year and a half of preparation. Since last fall, Quebec students, along with other elements of civil society such as unions and NGOs, have been mobilizing against Liberal premier Philippe Couillard’s austerity policies, typified by deep cuts to public services. That mobilization led to this week’s strike.

"In the case of this week’s strike, 50,000 students from over 40 student associations are on a renewable general strike mandate. Most will vote on whether to continue their strike at general assemblies scheduled for Apr. 7. The largest demonstration yet is set for Apr. 2, and over 95,000 students have already voted to strike that day, with another roughly 100,000 set to be consulted next week."
posted by standardasparagus (13 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Related. From earlier this week concerning University of Toronto strike: Binding arbitration means U of T strike is over, but issues are not resolved.
The strike, which began in late February, came to an end Friday, after teaching assistants and course instructors voted overwhelmingly to accept a university proposal to resolve the dispute through binding arbitration. It will now be up to an arbitrator to find a resolution to a battle that stretches far beyond the past 10 months of bargaining. If that solution leaves graduate students unsatisfied, a repeat of this month could be in the cards, with undergrads again caught in the middle.
posted by Fizz at 11:09 AM on March 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine keeps posting videos (shot himself) from Quebec of students getting pepper-sprayed at protests. I mourn the death of my country.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:12 AM on March 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Austerity cuts, popular protest, police violence...

Yep, looks familiar.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:19 AM on March 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Austerity cuts, popular protest, police violence...

Thanks Obama Harper!
posted by Fizz at 11:42 AM on March 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

To be fair, the Sûreté du Québec and the SPVM don't need Harper, or really any excuses to start tear gassing and pepper spraying people.

The SQ actually managed to tear gas themselves during the Oka crisis.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:48 AM on March 29, 2015 [8 favorites]

The SQ actually managed to tear gas themselves during the Oka crisis.

Yeah, I saw this during the Ferguson protests, watching on a uStream feed away from the main network coverage. Police tossed canisters toward protestors, not accounting for the wind, and had to use tents from an outdoor supplier to protect themselves from their own gas.

As for the second round, they just said "screw it" and started beaning people with the canisters.
posted by parliboy at 11:56 AM on March 29, 2015

Great information here. I was unaware of the capital gains tax cut for banks.
posted by Pr0t35t3r at 12:55 PM on March 29, 2015

It's actually a tax on capital, ie, equity (so akin to a property tax on the value of the company). It was replaced with higher corporate income tax rates.
posted by jpe at 1:30 PM on March 29, 2015

fun fact #1: when I was a unionized grad. student (in the US), we were classified as the kind of state employees who were *forbidden* to strike.

fun fact #2: because of the large number of foreign grad. students in the US, even if it weren't illegal a grad. student strike would be difficult because universities can and will de-matriculate students for minor infractions. If you on a student visa in the US, de-matriculation puts you on a very short schedule to deportation.
posted by ennui.bz at 1:44 PM on March 29, 2015

The students who are striking are by and large not grad students being paid but undergrad students who are paying to go to school.
posted by jeather at 2:37 PM on March 29, 2015

I'm curious. If the current provincial Liberal government provided the exact same placations as the former nationalist government did, would the protestors roll over as breathtakingly quickly?
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 3:41 PM on March 29, 2015

Thanks Obama Harper!

It's probably about as much Harper's fault as it is Obama's. It's not really Couillard who primarily caused the problem, either. Mostly, I blame the previous Quebec governments which apparently had absolutely no sense of fiscal responsibility, leaving us with the highest taxes among Canadian provinces as well as the largest debt. Well, them and the police who do things like fire tear gas canisters at students' faces, and whoever is meant to be in charge of making sure they don't do that.

"All told it’s a hole of $12 billion in the government’s coffers" from ill advised and badly-designed tax cuts of the past 14 years, we are told. That sounds bad enough, but the debt increased by $90 billion over the same period. It grew beyond the point where something had to be done. Disagreement about what exactly they should've done is one thing, calling any and every attempt to address the problem "austerity" and therefore bad, is something else.
posted by sfenders at 5:52 PM on March 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Lest you think Buzzfeed invented something new...   |   What Women Want in Women Characters Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments