Quebec Students Ignite the Popular Imagination

Quebec Students Ignite the Popular Imagination
Stefan Christoff chronicles the progress of student protests in Montréal, Québec as the movement grows. Students on strike initiated the demonstration to protest the rapidly increasing cost of tuition, but the movement now incorporates diverse groups addressing broader issues of social justice, such as laid-off Aveos airline maintenance workers and Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), a key trade union federation. The Liberal government in Québec has been uncooperative with negotiations, and the Montréal police have been responding to protestors with shockingly violent retaliation.

Québec’s government has repeatedly attempted to exclude Coalition large de l’association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSÉ), “a network of student unions that supports direct action and openly rejects the capitalist economic system” from the negotations. Fragmentation within the movement is a real concern, as tensions between Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ), Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) and CLASSÉ have historically been divisive. It remains to be seen if an agreement can be reached. Demonstrations are expected to continue through the upcoming Liberal Party general council meeting, which has been moved to Victoriaville because of concerns regarding protests. Read the article…

Breaking news in the National Post and Montreal Gazette on May 4, 2012 indicated that all three groups have now been invited to negotiate with Pierre Pilote, the representative of the provincial government.
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Alexandra Epp

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