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Montreal students protest 80% tuition increase

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Our neighbors to the north generally have a reputation for being friendly and polite. Maybe it's something they inherited from the English or maybe it's because they never had the overseas empire complex, but they're often among the friendliest people out there.

Since the 1960's, Quebec has been a bit different for a lot of reasons. English domination, bigoted views and a knuckle-dragging Catholic church that preferred poverty and kids over equality all contributed to problems that kept Quebec poor for decades. The Québécois pushed aside the church and then took on bigots, eventually forcing a referendum on secession. (De Gaulle's "Vive le Québec libre !" moment is often sited as an important speech.)

The secession referendum lost and the mood did eventually settle though there continues to be bad feelings all around. Those from other(English) provinces sometimes complain about Quebec receiving preferential treatment on costs such as education and health care, ignoring the years of mistreatment.

Fast forward to 2012, the Canada of today is vastly different, politically, than the Canada of the past. Crazy right wing politics mixed with the tar sands oil money have become much more influential, and we now find that our friendly neighbors to the north more closely resemble our own loony right-wing, corporate-dominated political system. (And I say that thinking of both political parties, not just the GOP.)

The police state actions that we continue to witness in the US and UK have spread to Canada, including Quebec. Students have now been protesting for 100 days against 80% tuition increases (tax increases for students, how curious) and in response to un-democratic actions by the government, even more came out to protest yesterday.

In addition to the radical tuition increases, the local government has updated the law to make civil disobedience more difficult. While the law (Bill 78) may not hold up in court, Bill 78 prohibits assembly near university campuses without prior police notification and of course, police approval.

Democracy theater is all the rage in political class circles. What's the most sad is that this problem keeps spreading and people keep accepting it. These are the golden years of the extreme political and corporate elite. For now, their power knows no limits but as we saw in the Middle East, all bad things must come to an end, eventually.

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