Lessons from the Spring of 2012 (La Presse)

By Rima Elkouri
Originally published on March 31, 2015
See original French text here: http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/52819f3b-8470-48e8-8497-c6efe5c4584a%257C_0

What lessons have we learned from the student uprising in the spring of 2012?

I asked myself this question while listening, on Sunday, to Prime Minister Philippe Couillard comment on the violent episode before the Parliament of Québec in which one demonstrator was injured in the face by a shot of teargas. There are “lessons to be learned from both sides,” said Mr. Couillard.

In and of itself, this statement contrasted those which we became used to from Jean Charest in such circumstances. Even in the face of obvious police misconduct, Mr. Charest seemed to have decided by political calculation that only violence he associated with the “red squares” deserved to be condemned. Another spring, another speech … This time, Prime Minister Couillard has at least had the wisdom to invite the police to review its crowd control practices.

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Letter to my mother: why I am striking (Huffington Post)

By Gioia Cazzaniga
Originally published on March 26, 2015
See original French text here: http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/gioia-cazzaniga/lettre-a-ma-mere-pourquoi-je-fais-greve_b_6942712.html

My Dear Mother,

I know you are a bit far from here, from Montreal and the hot spot of the protest. You only have access to mainstream media, to [Education] Minister Blais who threatens students with cancelling the semester and right-wing commentators who are bent on pointing out spelling mistakes instead of listening to the message. Only if you would inform yourself a bit better, you would know we are more than 50 000 on strike, without counting the one-off strike mandates and the votes yet to come. Even medical students will take a day or two to denounce the measures of [Health] Minister Barette. Many unions also have their collective agreements ending next week and for them too, it smells strongly of protest.

It is not a question of illusions, it is not a question that only touches students. It is not like 2012. This time, it is a global political struggle.

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More Cuts, More Cops (La Presse)

By Joëlle Dussault, MA Candidate in Sociology at UQAM and researcher for the Commission populaire sur la repression politique
Originally published on: December 29, 2014
See original French version here: http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/9df1b8e0-5df5-4abb-b937-b573c954d24b%7C_0.html

“The more they cut, the more cops they put out there”; a well-known protest slogan from the last few years. At the dawn of 2015, this simple expression becomes fully realized. At the moment that groups of all kinds are mobilizing to fight against the austerity measures being imposed on all public services in the past few years, there is one that, to the contrary, is on the rise.

Between 2004 and 2013, the annual budget of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) grew by more than 241 million dollars (budgetary document 2004, 2013 SPVM). From 2004 to 2014, 634 more police officers were authorized in the territory of Montreal (annual reports, 2004, 2013 SPVM).

The SPVM has also equipped itself with two sound canons that can project up to 143 decibels costing, respectively, $6000 – $12 000. And that is without mentioning Thunder 1, the armored truck worth $364 606 that the SPVM recently acquired. What will be the toy of 2015? All bets are off!

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