Police misconduct: CLASSE requests intervention by the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

Montreal, June 10th 2012 — The Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE) strongly denounces the cases of police misconduct observed during the last few days. Numerous allegations testify of systematic illegal searches on citizens wearing a red square. Dozens of students were also questioned and held in custody on “preventive” grounds. It took only a couple hours through the social media for the CLASSE to collect close to a hundred testimonies from people who claimed they were victims of political profiling by the Montreal police force (SPVM).

Hence, the Coalition requests that the Quebec Human Rights Commission get involved, so as to shed light on those allegations.“It is absolutely necessary that everything be made clear with regard to those troubling testimonies.We cannot stand for the police questioning and detaining citizens on the sole grounds that they exhibit a political symbol. People have the right to know what happened,” said CLASSE spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, also pointing out how for the moment no means were ruled out in the effort to throw light on the matters.

The Coalition further draws attention to the fact that the events of late come stringing along with a larger wave of political- and police-driven repression. “ The Human Rights Commission must scrutinize not only the incidents which occurred last weekend, but also the various police corps’ behaviour throughout the conflict.We’re obviously talking about police brutality and mass arrests during demonstrations, but also about intimidation and the arbitrary, and unlawful, search of citizens sporting the red square. This can’t go on any longer,” added Camille Robert, co- spokesperson for the CLASSE.

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Information: Renaud Poirier St-Pierre, press secretary: 514-835-2444

Email: communication@asse-solidarite.qc.ca

Web site: www.stopthehike.ca

Fundraising campaign : Our hope and fight should last !

On strike against massive tuition hikes since more than a hundred days, Québec students are achieving the construction of a historical movement that will forge the future of the province. Despite the liberal’s arrogance and lack of consideration for the students demands, the youth of Québec had stayed mobilized and firmed on what they are fighting for : an education accessible to everyone.

Against the perseverance and determination of the students, the government reacted with a «bludgeon law» (bill 78) which restricts the right to demonstrate, the right of free expression and association. With this law, the government is fighting against something bigger than just the student unions: it’s going against the possibility for any citizen to freely contest decisions taken by the political power. Thus, the CLASSE decided to contest the juridical validity of this law.

Despite the law and the consequences for our organization, the CLASSE is determined to continue the struggle against tuition hikes. Unfortunately, after more than three months of general strike and the unpredicted costs of the juridical contestation of bill 78, we are facing a serious shortage of funds. This is a call-out for solidarity from any organizations or individuals willing to support us in our fight. Your help will be more than appreciated by the student movement of Quebec, that is already inspiring other movements around Canada to stand up and fight for our right to education.

Let’s make our hope and fight continue to shine!

You can send your contribution to the following adress :
Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante
2065, rue Parthenais, local 383
Montréal, Québec, Canada
H2K 3T1

The cheque should be made to the order of: ASSÉ

Letter: fundraising campaign

New Ultimatum newspaper !

Here is the new CLASSE newspaper. You can find articles and information about tuition hikes, previous student strikes and other important issues.

 

 

 

A printable version is also available here.

Demonstration on Saturday 14th

Public Demonstration – April 14th:
For a Quebecois spring!

Nine years, to the day, after the election of of the liberal government, while tens of thousands of students remain on strike for over 8 weeks against the announced massive increase in university tuition fees, the student movement is calling for a popular, citizens’ mobilization against the governments in place in Quebec City and Ottawa.

For too long, Liberals and Conservatives have done as they please. Cuts in social programs, taxcuts for corporations, record-shattering military expenditures, rollbacks on women’s rights, mass-firings, inaction in the face of factory closings, increasing the retirement age to 67, increases in tuition fees, the imposition of the « health tax », increase in Hydro Quebec rates… The list of injustices is too long!

While the gifts to the banks and the giant corporations multiply, the poorest members of society and the middle class are given the bill for an economic crisis for which the responsible parties are given a free pass.

April 14, 2012:
Nine years, to the day, since the election of the provincial liberal government of Jean Charest.
Two weeks after the release of the Harper budget.
Towards a Quebec spring!
If the strike is students’, the struggle must be popular!

The demonstration will start at 1pm,

in the Jeanne-Mance Parc (corner of Parc and Mont-Royal)

Click here for Facebook event

 

 

If the strike continues, students are certain to win the fight!

By Philippe Dumesnil

The author is Professor of philosophy at the Collège de Valleyfield.


From Cyberpresse

          Everyone has an opinion on the strike but nobody seems to be addressing the question at the heart of it all: What happens if the Government refuses to change its position and students do not return to class? The answer is of widespread concern, because if the strike continues and snowballs into a something even more large-scale, students are likely to win the fight.

The strike causes serious and costly organizational problems for each of the schools involved, especially in the case of cégeps that have been on strike for over five weeks.

Because of strike’s unforeseen delay and extension, the return to regular courses may be bumped up to mid-June, at which point professors will be beginning the summer season, taking time off from regular teaching. There are several different options facing the student population, then, each with its strong and weak points, but all costly and problematic: firstly, students could demand that schools schedule Saturday make-up classes; or, it could be proposed that the vacation time for professors could be moved to a new date; the winter session could then be extended into mid-june, with summer courses beginning in August. Professors would have to be paid overtime, the number of course lecture days might have to be reduced, etc.

In all cases, this would require complicated negotiations before coming to agreements with local unions. Tampering with the academic schedule would also potentially undermine the quality of coursework, since the summer session would have to be postpones a few weeks, causing a domino effect which would push forward the beginning of the fall session as well.

In the universities themselves, the mere though of the majority of faculty members having to renegotiate the contracts of lecturing staff points to the incredibly magnitude of the effects of the strike and the problems present.

If these complications are taken into consideration along with the difficulties of the administrative blocks and the negotiation of support and maintenance staff schedules it is clear that the Government will eventually have no choice but to negotiate.

A Shortage of Employment Opportunities

The strike also runs the risk of delaying many graduate students’ entry into the labour market. We often fail to take into account that most of the CÉGEP technical programs offer placement rates of at least 90%. Staunching the flow of students into the labour market would also affect the public service industry and companies that have a dire need for this work force. Not many people talk about it, but it is often these very companies that tend to contact the Government with appeals for information on when the strike might end.

The same situation applies to the many jobs that are expected to open up in late May and early June, jobs which may not be filled because students will still be spending their time in the classroom. We must try and look at this situation not in terms of students who lose these hours of wages, but in terms of how this situation might put pressure on the Government. Looking at it in terms of the latter, leaving the strike is prolonged will affect company’s seeking to recruit employees, and affect municipalities in general, impair the quality of education and job training, delay the beginning of the new University session, and generally create serious organizational problems in schools with the cost of extending the strike growing daily, especially when considered along with the delay in resuming courses.

This not to mention the price to be paid by the government for the municipal services of the police during demonstrations, occupations, the barricading of bridges, and other « set-in’s », or the fact that the strike has begun to spread as far as to some secondary schools.

There will come a time when the price that the government (and by extension, we the taxpayers) pay for these problems will be higher than any increase in tuition fees.

To Cancel or not to Cancel the Session

If the government refuses to back down, and the strike is forced to continue, cancelling the session might be an effective means of getting the message across. However, this possibility is really quite… impossible. This option is logistically difficult, especially when considering the chaos that might ensue if the extended end of the fall session runs into the summer, and the arrival of new students when the students form the fall session are still attending courses, not to mention, the sudden shortage of graduating students whose availability for employment will be delayed.

The idea of cancelling the session at the last minute, then, would pose a great threat to the government, and should be considered the students’ ultimate weapon. In proposing to cancel classes, the government will really feel pressured to reconsider the hike in tuition.

This is a student strike, unlike any strike in the public service. The government does not have the right to press charges or to motion for a special Act or Bill against strikers unions or associations.

The question « What can possibly effectively push the Government into meeting our demands? » can only be answered by careful negotiation. It has always been the case that when students strike, at any time, in any country, solidarity and taking to the streets is the only way to render the government powerless to our forces. This is at all times, in all countries: when students strike, remain solidarity and appear in the streets, the Government is powerless to their challenge, unless they resort to sending in the army. But there is no Tiananmen Square in Quebec…

The government has its feet and fists bound, and can only hope that the student movement loses its momentum. But this is far from the case; momentum is gathering in the struggle. Still, the government certainly seems to be hoping the protests will die down.

We have only to think of the recent pronouncements of Charest, Bachand, and Beauchamp: « la decision est prise (the decision has been made) », « nous ne reculons pas (we will not back down) ». An opposing reaction on their part would have been stupefying. They seek to discourage the strikers, but fail to recognize our power to apply pressure in the negotiations. With three or four more weeks of students striking in significant numbers, and with two or three more national protests, the government may have to But even three or four weeks of strike d’ a number significant d’ students, combined with one or two other national events, and the Government will have no choice but to back down a little.

The question remains as to whether the strike movement can and should be sustained for another month.

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