Quebec students are commemorating 100 days of protests today at a rally in Montreal. I think this strike has gone far enough; if it ever was a strike to begin with; any definition I’ve read indicates that to strike you must withhold service in support of a demand; withholding your presence from a classroom doesn’t seem to satisfy that. The students are just hurting themselves really, and making enemies of their fellow students who want to go to school; who have summer jobs, and future plans riding on this year at school.
The Charest government isn’t helping either. I would’ve taken a hardline with the students much earlier. I would’ve cancelled the year, forcing those who are out on the so-called “strike action” to repeat their years. And I would’ve made it illegal to stop any of the students who wanted to attend classes from doing so; the perpetrators would be immediately arrested in my world.
Bill 78 is going a step too far. It’s more a symptom of a government that has lost control of a situation rather than any actual method of dealing with it. But in order to deal with it Charest would have to essentially give into the students, and I don’t think that’s an option. It comes down to the economic climate; that everywhere people are being asked to pay more for services, and governments are being asked cutback. Quebec has been extraordinarily lucky having social services remain at the prices they are but the time has come for the province to catch up with the rest of us.
The striking students don’t help themselves either with the violent protests on the streets of Montreal. Any points they may have had get lost among the physical damage and increasing bitterness. I can see a day coming when everyone just forgets what they’re fighting for, and it descends into chaos; if it isn’t already there. The Charest government has dug in its heels; there will be a tuition hike at some point. It’s time to grow up, and focus on negotiating what that hike will be.