Yesterday, Quebec students took a simmering strike movement against tuition fees to a boiling point - and no further. This was one of the biggest protest rally in Quebec'history. A little late for beware the ides of March. Maybe beware the strides of March.

Hank who has reappeared from where ever has much experience with stampedes, says this was one of the most orderly he has seen. Sure enough, the huge throng, estimated around 250,000 took their protest over rising tuition in a calm and peaceful way. And they made their point and I'll bet they scored points with the public for protesting without seeing police in riot gear, stones being hurled and the general disarray we've become used to seeing at political rallies.

The issue: tuition fees are being raised by approximately $325 per year over the next five years. Not many students in other provinces are crying for Quebec students who have by quite a margin the lowest fees in the county. Which is hardly suprising as Quebec invests more into its social systems than, I would guess, anywhere in Canada.

The real issue as Hank points out is not the ends but the meaning. These student, from across the province, are clearly and coherently saying no. They are standing and marching for an issue, raising tuition fees, that has little to do with actual amounts, and a lot to do with saying to those in power -- you have to listen to us. You, the goverment, the Premier, the major politicians, cannot make decisions that directly impact us behind closed doors. And without consulting us.

They are blurring the line between power holders, decision-makers and the people who are effected by their decisions. They might not convince Premier Charest to roll back this increase but it's fair to say that the Premier looked at a lot of potential votes and turned his back.

As far as I know, occupy had nothing to do with this rally, how it was conducted and how it was organized. For example, organizers met with police and security a few days before to outline what was going to happen, when and where.

It's a valuable lessen that other groups - yes occupy - should learn from.

Leave a Reply.