All Posts Tagged With: "Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois"
Student group says there won’t be second ‘Maple Spring’
Not even the most militant of Quebec’s student federations expects this week’s education summit to plunge the province into another Maple Spring.
Quebec gained international attention last year when a dispute over proposed tuition hikes boiled into a months-long uprising.
The unrest, dubbed the Maple Spring, saw thousands of protesters swarm Montreal streets night after night. The crisis eventually faded away, in part because the Liberals lost power and the incoming Parti Quebecois government cancelled the tuition increases.
The PQ stickhandled its way through the perilous political issue, during the election, by promising to come up with a new tuition policy at an education summit.
Some students are feeling disillusioned and boycotting the two-day summit, which starts Monday, because they believe the new government has tuned out some of their ideas.
The ranks of the restive, however, appear smaller than last year.
“We are aware… that there will not be a new Maple Spring,” said Blandine Parchemal of the ASSE student federation, one of the more militant groups within the movement.
“The Maple Spring is over.”
The once-powerful ASSE, led by its charismatic former spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, suffered several setbacks last week after it failed to gather support on a strike vote from a number of its associations.
The most symbolic setback came at a college near Montreal known as a bastion of activism, which was the first school to declare a strike last February in an event that kicked off the movement.
This time, College de Valleyfield not only voted against the strike, it tabled a motion to disassociate itself from ASSE.
That doesn’t mean the tuition divide between students and the government has disappeared.
One of the major sticking points is the PQ government’s intention to freeze rates, which are the lowest in Canada, but to introduce small increases indexed to inflation.
Some student federations that made up last year’s protest movement have drawn a line in the sand at an absolute tuition freeze.
They say they refuse to accept indexation.
ASSE, meanwhile, decided to boycott the summit completely over the government’s refusal to debate the group’s desire for zero tuition.
They view free university as an achievable goal, if only policy-makers would make it a priority like in many other jurisdictions. Former premier Jacques Parizeau, who as a young civil servant in the 1960s helped build the province’s university network, expressed support for their cause.
The federation is now planning to take its battle back into the streets. ASSE has planned to stage a protest Tuesday outside the summit venue.
With memories of last year’s clashes with demonstrators, Montreal police pledge to be present in large numbers and will maintain a security perimeter around the summit’s building.
Student associations representing junior colleges and universities affiliated with ASSE have also voted to hold a one-day strike on Tuesday.
But any protest revival from within ASSE faces an uphill climb. Several of its member unions voted last week against the strike, including those from some of the most militant schools during last year’s uprising.
“There’s a lot of exhaustion,” said Parchemal, ASSE’s secretary of academic affairs. She was referring to the compressed, intensive academic schedules students have had to endure after the 2012 strikes cancelled sessions.
She maintained, however, that the associations that voted against the strike still oppose indexation and support free tuition. Parchemal added that some schools that voted against strikes last year, actually supported the most recent one.
That stood in contrast to places like College de Valleyfield — where the vote was 366 against the strike and 124 in favour of it, said a student-union representative.
“We didn’t expect to be crushed like that,” said Cedrick Mainville, himself a supporter of the strike.
He blamed the loss on student fears that a Yes vote would lead to a prolonged strike like last year.
ASSE’s approach is much different than that of FEUQ, the largest student group in the province. The organization, which says it represents 125,000 students, plans to take its concerns to the summit’s negotiating tables rather than into the streets.
FEUQ president Martine Desjardins believes the student movement still has many potential avenues to explore before presenting a strike vote.
“Before that, you need to prove that you’ve tried everything that you could,” said Desjardins, who led FEUQ during last year’s protests.
When asked if students in her federation would be prepared to strike over indexation, she said it’s too early to know.
“We’re not planning strikes, for example, in two weeks,” she said. “It will take much more time to convince students to ramp up the pressure.”
Desjardins disagrees with ASSE’s decision to boycott the summit, a step she believes could hinder the process.
Last year’s student unrest was ignited by opposition to the Liberal government’s proposal to boost tuition rates by $325 per year, over five years. The government later tweaked the planned increases to $254 per year, over seven years.
Even though the hike still would have left Quebec with some of the lowest tuition in Canada, many students insisted they opposed the increase out of principle.
Some demanded a freeze to keep fees from inching closer to the higher rates in other provinces. Others called education a right that should be free, just like in some European countries.
The Marois government appears to be aiming for the middle ground with indexation, somewhere between a freeze and the increases proposed by the former Liberal government.
A recent poll suggested the PQ’s middle-ground indexation solution had strong public support.
That’s a far cry from the spring, when the PQ’s early alignment with the protesters — such as wearing red squares in the national assembly and banging on pots and pans in the streets — came to be viewed as a political liability.
But the PQ did take some steps to try distancing itself from the protesters in the weeks before the election.
It ditched the red squares, and started side-stepping questions about its own tuition policy by promising a summit.
Now that the moment has arrived, university administrators worry the meeting won’t address the serious issues they say are facing post-secondary institutions.
Relations between the PQ and the universities are already strained after the government announced a $124-million cut to universities in December, midway through the fiscal year.
Universities have gone on the offensive in the lead-up to the summit. At one of a series of town hall meetings, McGill University’s provost called the cuts “an unprecedented attack” on higher education.
Alan Shepard, president of Montreal’s Concordia University, said he’s concerned the summit will get bogged down in the debate over tuition fees and proposals like that one won’t see serious discussion.
Even with an increase tied to inflation, Quebec universities would remain woefully underfunded, he said.
“The difference is substantial when you compare the financing we have per student compared with the rest of Canada,” he said in an interview.
One idea being floated by Shepard and others is to introduce differential fees based on the subject, so that a student in dentistry or law school would pay substantially more than a history student.
If the funding issue isn’t somehow addressed, Shepard said Montreal risks losing what he called an “enormous jewel” – a hub for research and student learning at its four major universities.
Universite de Montreal rector Guy Breton said post-secondary institutions now realize they need to do a better job explaining their role. Last spring, he felt they were drowned out in a debate dominated by students and the government.
“The student message was two letters — n-o,” he said.
“Ours is much more complicated.”
—Andy Blatchford and Benjamin Shingler
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois gets 120 hours of community service
A prominent figure in Quebec’s student protest movement has been sentenced to 120 hours of community service for a contempt of court conviction following the rowdy events of the so-called Maple Spring.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who was the spokesman for the militant CLASSE organization during protests against proposed tuition increases, was punished for urging supporters to defy a court order.
He remained defiant Wednesday. Nadeau-Dubois promised to carry through with his plan to appeal the earlier contempt verdict that drew Wednesday’s sentence.
“It’s not over,” he said on his Twitter feed. “Remember that my sentence will only apply if the Court of Appeal upholds the original decision. Hearing on January 22.”
No Doubt apologizes, plus Glen Murray & Dawgfather PhD
1. The band No Doubt has pulled its music video for a new song called “Looking Hot” after Native Americans called it racist due to the Wild West theme that includes front-woman Gwen Stefani dressed up in native-inspired attire. In response to the outcry, the band apologized on their website: “Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people. This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately. The music that inspired us when we started the band, and the community of friends, family, and fans that surrounds us was built upon respect, unity and inclusiveness. We sincerely apologize to the Native American community.”
2. Premier Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party voted at their convention on Saturday to support lowering the drinking age from 19 to 18. It’s not a certainty yet, however. “We take resolutions at the convention very seriously, Wall told CBC, adding, “Before we consider any sort of change, we’re going to have to consult.”
3. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois received $58,000 in donations from more than 1,700 people to fight his contempt of court conviction. The former head of CLASSE, who led the anti-tuition movement with its nightly marches and shutdown of Quebec universities earlier this year, was recently found guilty of encouraging people to ignore a court injunction that allowed a Laval student to return to classes.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois faces community service or prison
One of the most prominent figures in the Quebec student revolt that gained international attention and contributed to the defeat of Jean Charest’s government has been convicted of contempt of court.
Justice Jacques Denis wrote in his ruling handed down Thursday that Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the charismatic spokesman for the hardline CLASSE group, had advocated anarchy.
The case stems from allegations that Nadeau-Dubois encouraged students to ignore a court injunction obtained by student Jean-Francois Morasse that allowed him to return to class at Laval University in Quebec City.
Nadeau-Dubois said on television on May 13 that it was legitimate for protesters to form picket lines to keep students who had obtained injunctions from getting to their classrooms.
Dodgeball record, PETA billboards & Western homecoming
1. Students from the University of California Irvine shattered the Guinness World Record for the largest game of dodgeball this week with 6,084 players. The University of Alberta, a four-time record-holder, lost its standing. It had 4,979 players on Feb. 3. I bet they’ll try to get it back.
2. Western University’s homecoming parade will be held on campus today, rather than downtown. It’s because London Police won’t provide extra officers pro bono. (They may be busy anyway.)
3. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) will put up billboards near Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Ottawa schools this Thanksgiving holiday, reports The Canadian Press. The billboards will read: “Kids, if you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey? Go vegan.”
Rihanna cries, a stolen iPad and socialist summer school
1. In an interview promoted on her OWN Network even more often than Proactiv acne treatment, Oprah gets pop star Rihanna to cry and admit that she has forgiven Chris Brown for hitting her. “We are very, very close friends. We built a trust again,” she said. For the record, they’re not in a relationship, even though they chill in San Tropez.
2. Vancouver cyclists are angry at police for doing their jobs. Cops have been handing out $100 fines to those without lids, as a city bylaw dictates. Helmet haters say such laws cause people to cycle less. So far this year, 1,112 tickets have been given to bikers without headgear.
3. NASA’s Curiosity rover zapped its first Martian rock with a laser on Sunday. The rover, which landed two weeks ago, was sent to help answer the question: is Mars habitable? Considering the basic human need to burn tiny holes in things, the answer appears to be yes.
Murderous felines, sexy engineers, burning buses…
Here we give you the 10 stories that Canadian students are talking about today. Like us on Facebook for your daily fix.
1. Nearly one in three U.S. cats is a stone-cold killer, according to the University of Georgia, which spied on more than 60 felines with video cameras. Their favorite victims are lizards, snakes and frogs, followed by small mammals (poor chipmunks!), insects and worms (uh, gross), and finally, birds. Considering the gravity of this news, is it too soon to ask if claw control is the answer?
Students should be outraged about this misuse of funds
Quebec student leaders and their Ontario band of brothers are hoping to light a fire under students in Canada’s most populous province.
And indeed, Ontarian students have a good reason to be outraged. But it’s not that they’re being asked to shoulder more of the cost of their educations, as the student leaders would have them believe.
Instead, they should be outraged that their money is funding a working vacation for people like Quebec protest leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
Students declare impasse
The Quebec government has pulled out of negotiations with student leaders, quashing hopes that renewed talks this week would lead to an end more than three months of student protests in the province.
Martine Desjardins, leader of the FEUQ student union, told the CBC that the government hadn’t considered the students’ most recent proposal, and that the government instead stuck to its offer to reduce the annual tuition hike to $219 from $254, the CBC reports.
“It’s an impasse, it’s really an impasse,” said Education Minister Michelle Courchesne, speaking with reporters in Quebec City.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the leader of the more militant CLASSE union, has called for renewed protests over the government’s decision to walk away from the negotiating table. “The objective is to solve the crisis and to solve the crisis we need an offer that will be accepted by the general assemblies. And that is what we continuously repeat to Ms. Courchesne,” Nadeau-Dubois told the Globe and Mail.
The portrait painted by the polls
Republished from Inkless Wells on Macleans.ca.
To read today’s CROP—La Presse poll on the tuition protests in Quebec (main story here; detailed tables in a .pdf here, all in French) is to see evidence of a population applying consistent values in a difficult situation. It’s not at all surprising, but after hotheads have spent months trying to conscript the population to one faction or another in the dispute, it’s heartening.
(UPDATE: Some readers have noted that CROP used an online poll. There’s a good discussion of the methodology in the La Presse story, and some more general discussion here. I’ve seen no evidence that online polls, which are increasingly common, produce wildly different results from telephone polls, which have their own growing problems. I know of no new telephone poll that asked this many questions on the tuition dispute. I’ll let you know if one comes along.)
First big question: Do you support the government position (increasing tuition fees over seven years) or the students’ (a tuition freeze)? On the central policy question of the dispute, the government wins nearly two to one, with 64% supporting the government to 36% who support the students. This is true even in Montreal, where support for students is highest (60/40 in government’s favour); even among young adults (56/44 in the 18-34 age bracket); even among female respondents (63/37) and francophones (62/38).
But what about Law 78, the government’s latest enforcement tool? “Generally, do you favour or oppose this special law?” Here it’s much closer, 51% in favour and 49% opposed. There’s no gender gap, but 18-to-34-year-olds oppose the law 56/44; francophones oppose it 53/47.
Then an apparent paradox. Continue reading Meet the average Quebecer
Intense debate in Quebec’s National Assembly
Sweeping legislation to get students back to classes while restoring order to Montreal is being debated again today in the Quebec’s National Assembly after a marathon session last night.
If Bill 78 is made law, police could fine student groups, labour union officials, and individuals who prevent an enrolled student from attending classes at a university or CEGEP. Despite court injunctions, protesters have frequently blocked students from legally attending classes this year. On Wednesday, protesters stormed into UQAM where some stood on desks shouting “scabs.”
Demonstrations within 50 metres of a higher education institution would fall under the act.
The law would also require people organizing a demonstration of 50 or more to inform police eight hours in advance. They would also need to provide certain details of their plans.
Individuals who violate the law would be fined $1,000 to $5,000 per day. Student leaders would face fines of up to $35,000. Student and labour union employees could be charged up to $125,000.
Alex Ballingall reports on the Quebec student movement
For more than 12 weeks, tens of thousands of Quebec students have taken to the streets in anger and frustration. They’ve hurled slogans from worn-out vocal cords, sung and danced and taken their clothes off. Protesters threw stones, smashed windows and clashed with riot police, all in an effort to halt the government’s proposal to increase tuition $1,625 over the next ﬁve to seven years.
Students began walking out on their classes in February. More than three months later, the dispute has become the longest student strike in Quebec history. The stubborn persistence of the strike has left many in the rest of Canada scratching their heads over why there’s been such uproar. Even in Quebec, the intensity of the protests has puzzled observers.
Tuition protest leads to violence, vandalism
Banks, shops, cars and a police station had their windows shattered in Montreal Wednesday night following a protest against university tuition hikes in Quebec. Police say that 85 people were arrested and that three police officers suffered injuries.
The scene was chaotic. Students lobbed paint balls. Police used pepper-spray.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, head of the militant Quebec student group C.L.A.S.S.E., had warned earlier in the day that Quebec Education Minister Line Beauchamp’s refusal to meet with him was equivalent to “pouring oil on the fire,” reports Le Soleil.
Beauchamp had been willing to meet two other student groups, but refuses to speak with C.L.A.S.S.E. because they continue to advertise violent demonstrations online. C.L.A.S.S.E. responded by saying that their website is not centrally controlled.
Many student associations in Quebec have opted to boycott classes at various points over the past 73 days to protest the government’s planned tuition fee increase of $1,625 over five years.