Solidarity With Quebec
June 22nd will be the 5-month anniversary of when Quebec students first stood in the streets: When called upon to fulfill its responsibility on education, the Quebec government responded by violating more human rights through Bill-78, the bylaw prohibiting masks or bandanas at protests, and have since engaged in extreme political profiling. With Harper’s Bill C-309 set to do the same nationwide, it is more important than ever that Canadians band together to protest these egregious violations of our rights.
On May 17th, the Charest Liberals introduced Bill 78 to punish students, breaching constitutional rights of all Quebec people to freedom of association with strict regulations and harsh fines on protestors and student unions. This law is a direct violation of civil liberties.
There have been close to 3000 arrests since the beginning of the strike with almost 2000 coming in the recent weeks, after the enactment of Bill 78. Police continue to use violent tactics which have led to serious injury and permanent physical damage. Fortunately, the struggle against Bill 78 has spread across Canada and solidarity “cassarole marches” have appeared in 60 cities in Canada and around the world.
Quebec students have a long history of mobilization and student strikes. Through this, students have made major gains, reversed regressive government decisions and kept tuition fees among the lowest in Canada.
Mobilize to Take Back Education.
Decades of cuts by both federal and provincial governments have resulted in sharp tuition fees increases. High fees and debts impose a heavy burden on students and their families. Communities impoverished by social oppression are unable to get access to education; those that do get in face a loan system where the poorer you are the more you pay back in loans. Treaty rights to education for Indigenous people have been denied, while undocumented people are completely shut out.
Standardized Curriculums, Specialized to Fit the Corporate Agenda
Universities are increasingly placing profit ahead of education; furthermore, many of us graduate to a jobless future. Since 1990, Ontario household incomes have remained stagnant with rising levels of household debt (from 90% of disposable income 20 years ago to 150% today.) Since 1990, tuition fees have seen a real increase, 224%, with Ontario now home to the highest fees in the country. Student investment through ancillary and tuition fees will be greater than the governments for the first time in the history of the province. The new “30% tuition fee grant” excludes more than two-thirds of students in Ontario, paid for, in large part, by the discontinuation of other grants.
Charivari, a form of political protest dating back to the 16th century, is a peaceful method of bringing attention to socially unacceptable behaviour, especially that of government. Quebec has again brought the charivari back to life through casseroles and masquerades; and, on June 22nd, we bring this protest in the form of masquerade to the streets of Toronto. Our targets are the federal and provincial governments, our reason: the continued exploitation of students and perversion of the education system through privatization, cuts to funding, and mounting debt.
The streets of Toronto: filled with the most beautiful masks and costumes – a party. A party with a purpose: to heckle our governments for their dehumanizing policies, and their unwillingness to respect, protect, and fulfill those most fundamental rights which they already agreed to decades ago. Demand your right to education be upheld, and tuition fees eradicated.
When: June 22, 2012, 7 PM
Where: St. George Subway Station, (Bloor and University)
For more information visit the Ontario Student Mobilization Coalition, OSMC.ca