Friday, May 18, 2012

#OWS Canada : Quebec passing Draconian Police State Style Laws to Shut Down Student Protests

Quebec students continue their strike and protests which is now entering its 25th day.
Quebec leading the way to creating a police state ala USA
or Quebec police continuing the draconian tactics as used in the 2010 G20 protest in Toronto
have they learned the wrong lesson from the events in Toronto 2010.

Canadian police forces use American style tactics in crowd control . As in America so it goes in Canada the citizenry are told they have certain rights as long they don't actually exercise these rights. In other words so called rights are not really rights since those in authority can take away those rights anytime they wish. Those in authority resort to various excuses and rationalizations in order to stifle free speech and so forth. They can appeal to notions such as national Security the defense of property or law and order that is as established by the ruling class.
The police forces and those in authority also use the violent actions of a few protesters to deligitimize their cause and their right to publicly protest.

We are now being told that since 9/11 such notions or even civil and human rights are in fact old fashioned quaint ideals of the ill-informed, the ignorant or opportunists who wish to appeal to these rights in order to cause havoc. So as we have seen the true believers of Ayn Rand's style fascism and Neo-liberalism, noconservatism and the corporate elite have joined forces to maintain the status quo .

Montreal student protest ends with 122 arrests Police declare protest illegal and break up demonstration
CBC News, May 17, 2012

The gathering of ten people or more in a public space is now illegal in Quebec will other provinces follow suit.

The official report on the response of police in Toronto G20 Summit Report just released.
The report notes there was an over-zealous draconian response of police in Toronto during the G20 Summit 2010.

Two of the recommendations which are noteworthy referring to media and filming or taking pictures of police.
These recommendations should be taken seriously by police forces in Canada and by police in the USA especially where the local police at times make up laws and rules as they go along to justify their illegal actions and their dismissive attitude towards the rights of protesters, the media and average citizens.

It is not against the law per se to film or take pictures of police officers while performing their duties.
And the Media personnel must be shown respect and not threatened or have their equipment ceased or destroyed.

Say cheese. People will take pictures and videotape police at work, and police must recognize their right to do so "without being subject to detention, search, or confiscation and destruction of property."

Accredit all media (including new media and non-traditional media) through one office, and then ensure police respect the credentials. Involve the media in creating the policies, and make the policies public.

Another important issue is that of Ketteling or Corralling protesters without giving them a way to peacefully if they so choose to leave. We saw this in Toronto and at Occupy Wall Street in New York, Chicago ,Oakland etc. as police demand protesters move back or leave the area but find themselves blocked in. So how can the protesters then move or leave. This tactic is more akin to what we see in third world countries under authoritarian governement, dictator, monarch or Generals.

The G8/G20 reports
CBC News Posted: May 16, 2012

Toronto police chief seeks OK to charge G20 officers CBC News Posted: May 18, 2012

Marathon debate on education

CBC reports on debate taking place in Quebec's legislative assembly concerning the student protests and the new draconian anti-protest laws.

Student leaders, unions slam proposed Quebec law Student leaders call law 'declaration of war' CBC News,May 18, 2012

The Charest government's special legislation aimed at curbing student demonstrations is under fire from the province's unions.

Michel Arsenault, the president of the Quebec Federation of Labour, said limits on what defines a 'lawful' demonstration are unreasonable.

...Student and union leaders held a joint news conference this morning as the debate over Bill 78 continued in the National Assembly.

Bill 78 stipulates any organized public gathering involving more than 10 people must be registered with the police at least eight hours in advance.

Arsenault says that limit is undemocratic, and clearly the product of the Charest government's spite against students.

That portion of the bill could be amended, however. The Coalition Avenir Québec party wants the minimum raised to 50.

Friday morning, after hours of marathon debate on the bill, the government said that number could be raised to 25, but Education Minister Michelle Courchesne insisted the number must be relatively small to facilitate the work of police.

...'Time to cool down,' says premier
Premier Jean Charest had said Wednesday he would table a special law to allow boycotting students to finish their school semester, while taking a summer break to "restore calm" in the three-month-old tuition crisis.

"This is a time to cool down, take a breath, and take a look at the whole situation," Charest said.

But student leaders reacted angrily to the government's announcement.

FEUQ university association spokeswoman Martine Desjardins warned that government hopes of defusing the tuition crisis would likely backfire.

"If Jean Charest wanted to reduce tensions with this proposal, I'm really afraid that it will increase them instead.… Young people will remember."

Despite the premier's call for calm, the demonstrations are likely to continue. Students are calling for a mass march on Tuesday through Montreal.

The emergency law proposed by the government would affect as many as 11 universities and 14 CEGEPs across Quebec, where classes could be postponed until August, when a short catch-up session would resume.

...Lawyers representing student organizations have been studying the law in detail and believe several provisions violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Mathieu Huchete, a lawyer for the student groups, says the requirement that protests involving more than 10 people must first be reported to police is troubling.

"Now, the kinds of spontaneous, peaceful protests that people should make will be illegal," he said.

Banning protests from anywhere within 50 metres of universities or CEGEPs would effectively prevent any demonstrations from going forward in downtown Montreal, where there is a cluster of campuses.

(and the government's draconian law forbidding protests has only led to an increase of support for the students:)

Protests grow
Montreal's nightly student protests saw a swell in numbers last night as the national assembly went through the bill.

As many as 4,000 took to the streets for the 24th consecutive night of protests, calling the legislation anti-democratic.

Students say they have been re-energized by the government's latest attempt to resolve the tuition battle.

"Since he [Premier Jean Charest] did that, we're a lot more students in the streets and I think he's digging his own grave right now, " said demonstrator Maxime Vigeant.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of the student group CLASSE said the government knows full well the law will strip away students' right to protest.

He said that's precisely why the government is moving ahead with the bill so quickly.

And here's an outline of the Bill:

Bill 78
General provisions:

Outlines dates for classes to resume in August, but also allows institutions to set their own dates and even hold summer terms.
Requires institutions to deliver educational services.
Allows institutions to shorten the time needed for a term of school.
Protects students from being penalized for the terms being shortened.
When school resumes, requires employees to report for work. Employee associations cannot participate in concerted action to contravene this.
Prohibits anyone from impeding students' right to study or attend class. Any form of gathering that would do so [ie., within 50 metres of building] is illegal.

Any demonstration involving 10 or more people in a public place requires the time, date, duration, venue and route plus means of transportation to be disclosed in advance to police.
Anyone who violates the act and is found guilty can be fined between $1,000 and $5,000 for each day he or she broke law. That fine rises to between $7,000 and $35,000 for student leaders and $25,000 to $125,000 for student or employee associations or federations.
Student associations:

If an association fails to comply with the act, the government can order an educational institution to cease to provide it with space, furniture and display areas free of charge.
Students are no longer required to make any financial contributions to student associations
A federation may lose all its funding, by order of the minister of education, if it has failed to comply with the law.
The provisions would expire July 1, 2013

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