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L'idée n'est pas de répartir le débat ici, juste de mettre en ligne ce qui s'écrit sur le Québec à l'étranger.


Free lunches, please


Protests against tuition fee increases could help an unpopular government

May 5th 2012 | OTTAWA | from the print edition


Sure beats studying

IN THE past year students protesting over the cost of university education in business-friendly Chile have captured the world’s attention. In recent months their counterparts in statist Quebec have taken up the cause. Since February about a third of the province’s 450,000 university students have boycotted classes to oppose the tuition-fee increases planned by Jean Charest, the province’s Liberal premier. Some have blocked roads and vandalised government buildings. On April 25th and 26th around 115 people were arrested, following evening protests that turned into window-smashing in central Montreal.


Quebeckers have long seen cheap university education as a birthright. The decision by the centrist Liberals to double fees in 1990 was one reason why they lost control of the province. Their successor was the separatist Parti Québécois (PQ), which responded to a student strike in 1996 by freezing tuition fees for 11 years.


But Mr Charest is now in a fiscal squeeze. He has promised to cut a C$3.8 billion ($3.8 billion) deficit to C$1.5 billion this year. Quebec spends 4.6% of its budget on universities, mainly because its fees are the lowest among Canadian provinces. In humanities and social sciences, which have the highest share of striking students, Quebec charges C$2,845 and C$2,629 a year, a bit over half the average in all other provinces. To help close the gap, Mr Charest proposed raising annual fees by a total of C$1,625 over the next five years.


When the protests began the government vowed not to negotiate. It soon backtracked, proposing making student loans easier to get, linking repayment to income after graduation, stretching the fee increase over seven years and offering an additional C$39m in bursaries. But the student groups insist on an absolute tuition freeze.


Their hard line may help Mr Charest at a tough time. He would love to call an election before an inquiry into corruption in Quebec’s construction industry, which may leave his party squirming, begins in June. But his government is unpopular: an April poll found that 73% of Quebeckers are unhappy with its performance.


The opposition PQ has allied itself with the protesters, even putting the students’ red-square logo on its website. That may prove unwise: a recent online poll found that 79% of Quebeckers oppose raising income taxes to pay for universities. If the Liberals can tie the PQ to the movement’s intransigence, Mr Charest might yet risk an early vote and hope to eke out a win.



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Security Message for U.S. Citizens – Student Protests


The U.S. Consulate in Montreal alerts U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Quebec Province of the potential for continuing student protests, some of which have resulted in violence and arrests. The U.S. Consulate urges U.S. citizens to avoid the areas of demonstrations, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any protests.


For several weeks, there have been large demonstrations in Montreal and outlying cities protesting university tuition increases. While the majority of the protests have been peaceful, some participants have incited violence, by throwing rocks and engaging in other acts of vandalism. These demonstrations have varied in size, with some attracting thousands of protestors to downtown Montreal. Businesses remain open although vehicular traffic patterns and public transportation may be temporarily disrupted due to protest actions. Most of the protests have been well-publicized and announced several days in advance, while others have occurred with no prior notice. While the demonstrations are intended to be peaceful, some can turn into confrontational or potentially violent situations.


There are no indications that foreigners or U.S. citizens are being threatened or targeted. Nonetheless, U.S. citizens are advised to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. The local police service, Service de Police de la Ville de Montreal (SPVM), provides frequent security updates in French and English via Twitter (@SPVM).


The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid demonstrations, as bystanders can quickly be caught up in unforeseen violence and in some cases detained by the local police. If you believe your security is compromised, call the police at 911.

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really? I think that is a bit of a dramatization from the US. Of course, if you are caught in a protest, get out of there unless you are part of the protest!

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As much as this might be a dramatization by the US Embassy, it doesn't change the fact that Americans will rad this and decide to go somewhere else this summer instead of coming here. They might decide to try out Toronto or the maritimes or Québec City....what ever they choose, unless this situation is resolved VERY SOON, this will affect the economy of our city.

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It will !! I work in tourism so I just hope it won't affect my job. That being said, I know for a fact that some tourist groups already cancelled their visits to Montréal but surprisingly they are from the province of Québec !! A lot of retirees prefer to avoid our city for the moment.

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John Moore: It’s the older generation that’s entitled, not students


John Moore May 24, 2012 – 3:18 PM ET | Last Updated: May 25, 2012 9:16 AM ET


Quebec Education Minister Michelle Courchesne and Premier Jean Charest. The old folks who lived their whole life with generous government benefits now are telling students to tighten their belts.



“Entitlement.” We hear that word associated again and again with student protesters in Quebec. Usually, it’s preceded by the words, “sense of.”


“They think someone owes them a living,” disgruntled critics harrumph. “Wait until they get into the real world.”


Setting aside the fact that this intergenerational hectoring dates back to Socrates, let us ask: Who exactly is making the charge? Quebec has had low tuition rates for a half century. That means almost every living adult in the province, having already been afforded a plum goodie, is now wagging his finger at the first generation that will be asked to pay the tab. So who really is entitled here?


Canadians now aged 55 years and older will collect Old Age Security when they hit 65. The rest of us will have to work two more years. Those who came of age in the 1960s enjoyed Employment Insurance and Medicare when they were still unfunded liabilities. They cash a Canada Pension cheque that depends upon today’s working men and women. The plan probably won’t exist by the time the rest of us reach whatever age of retirement the government decrees by the time we are old.


In the 1970s, parents pulled on the (now discontinued) Family Allowance program. The employed could count on a level of job security that allowed them to take on debt to own houses, cottages and cars. They paid them off and retired to indexed pensions.


It’s almost like Canadians had a “sense of entitlement,” or something.


In the ’90s, this same well-entitled generation began the drumbeat for lower taxes, never once offering up a government program they were willing to sacrifice. When the economy tanked, it fell to money-starved governments to bail everyone out. Today’s youth had nothing to do with that profligacy, but are being called upon to “grow up” and shoulder the adult responsibility of paying the debt off.


We hear a great deal these days about how we have to be reasonable about the times we live in. Corporate officers pulling in massive salaries and bonuses even as their companies lose money say average working men and women have to understand that the age of job security, pensions and even a middle-class wage are behind us. Have any of them offered to take the lead by surrendering even a fraction of their benefits? Are Federal Labour Minister Lisa Rait and Quebec Premier Jean Charest prepared to trim their gold-plated pensions to set an example to the students and workers they condescendingly lecture about the “new reality”?


Today’s youth face a grim future not of their own making. Is it any wonder that they’re angry about it? What they are asking for is what previous generations so eagerly gobbled up for themselves. If those generations now believe their entitlements were too generous, then, perhaps, in the spirit of sharing the burden, they might want to give some of them back.


Didn’t think so.


National Post

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Punir et laisser pourrir, le choix risqué de Charest.


Sa stratégie d’affrontement ayant atteint ses limites, le Premier ministre libéral, au pouvoir depuis près de dix ans, voit sa popularité s’effondrer.



Le printemps érable ressemble au printemps arabe. Répression comprise. Dans cette démocratie que l’on croyait avancée, des centaines d’étudiants ont été arrêtés, menottés et détenus pour avoir manifesté. Une loi d’exception, justement surnommée «matraque» et qui semble appartenir à la panoplie d’une dictature style Biélorussie ou Azerbaïdjan, limite désormais le droit de manifester, d’association et d’expression. Tout rassemblement de plus de 50 personnes est soumis à une autorisation de la police. Comme si la répression pouvait répondre à un mouvement de masse vivace et festif qui réunit étudiants protestant contre la hausse des droits d’inscription en fac et la société civile outrée par les méthodes du gouvernement. Comme pour les révolutions arabes, Twitter et les réseaux sociaux détournent cette loi scélérate qui a finalement décuplé le soutien au mouvement étudiant. Mais, le gouvernement de Jean Charest reste sourd, refusant de discuter des droits d’inscription, devenus le symbole d’un libéralisme qui gagne et corrompt la société québécoise, cet îlot de social-démocratie en Amérique du Nord. Les étudiants et leurs parents manifestent parce qu’ils sentent qu’un modèle de vivre ensemble est menacé. Comme le clame une chanson des rebelles : «On a mis quelqu’un au monde, on devrait peut-être l’écouter.»





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you mean the hundreds of polls which show majority of Quebeckers in support of government policy. You're being very fair Vaillant as usual


That majority is slowly falling appart as hundreds of thousands people from all around the province are getting the streets each night. This movement is getting stronger and stronger and it seems nothing can stop this. It's the end for Charest.

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