This Agreement is a Farce

Sunday, May 6, 2012


By Marc-André Cyr, Voir

This agreement is an insult.

This agreement is a surrender!

Under the most optimistic – or tired – analysis this agreement is seen as a 'moratorium' on the question of the tuition increase. Yet it is nothing. The anticipated tuition increase of 1778$ over 7 years is intact and it's 'temporary suspension' is financed by a decrease in school fees payed by students [1].

Thus the government maintains the tuition hike, against which striking students have been fighting for many weeks. The agreement would see the creation of a 'provisional committee' which would be given the task of recommending places to cut 'unnecessary expenses'. Understanding that, this committee would not be dominated by student voices (students would be 4 out of 19 members). In other words, the tuition hike would be payed off by cuts within the schools; cuts which would be imposed by a committee dominated by Deans (who are fiercely in favour of the tuition hike), CEGEP representatives, and henchmen of the minister and the business community.

Even worse, nothing in this agreement guarantees that the increase will not be administered, in it's entirety, in the following years. If this increase of 125$ can be consumed, relatively painlessly, by moderately important cuts in the first year, we wonder how the universities will cover the 1778$ of projected increase for the following 7 years.

Once again, loyal to their arrogance, the government undertook the negotiations without CLASSE (who are still considered to be 'violent'), preferring to negotiate with ASSE (who is the heart of CLASSE without wearing their name). Not without paternalism, the government even included in the agreement, as if it wasn't enough, that students should not 'organize protests related to this agreement' (happily, they will not respect this grotesque clause...).

In other words this agreement, which does not effect the tuition increase one bit, does not respond to the principle demand of striking students. It is nothing but an attempt to make protesters surrender. For those who naively dared to cry victory and take the bait, remember that the government affirms that the agreement will 'maintain the tuition hike in it's entirety' and it is 'false to think that the increase in tuition fees would be completely compensated for by the decrease in school fees'. [2]



After 80 days on strike, more than 175 protests across the province...

After hundreds of assemblies, hundreds of meetings, hundreds of acts of civil disobedience, hundreds of blockages and hundreds of direct actions...

After more than 2 months of police repression and struggles against private security guards... After thousands of arrests, more than ten thousand blows from police batons and more than one hundred thousand tears and coughs caused by toxic gas and pepper spray...

After so much contempt from politicians, columnists, judges and students against the strike...

In brief, after so much effort and sacrifice, we should bow down and go home (nearly) empty handed?

It's a joke right?

You know that many students have suffered skull fractures, and some concussions? You know that one protester has lost an eye on account of police repression? Have you seen the picture of the youth who's ear was torn by the police? Do you know that at this moment a protester is still in critical condition after having been brutally beaten by a police officer?


Back from the break...

In the days to come politicians and their friends the columnists will without a doubt affirm that we must absolutely 'put an end to the crisis'. Again, a number of them will use the pretext of the escalating 'violence' to underline the urgency of the return to class. And they will add that polls indicate 'support for students is decreasing', that the movement has lost the battle of public opinion.

In other words, they will say those who, for weeks, have been receiving the blows of police batons, and been dragged through the mud by the media are responsible for their injuries and their 'poor results' in the polls.

This logic, if you follow, is a cruelty which would please the Marquis de Sade...

But the students, since the beginning of the strike, resist with courage this schizophrenic entrapment, typical of our society. Politicians and columnists should remember one thing: The number of striking students is still 175 000. In 1996 and in 2005 the government negotiated with students who numbered hardly half of what they do today.

And students were much less angry back then than they are today.



[1] To read this text in it' entirety:

[2] Le PLQ dit à ses députés: «Québec maintient intégralement les hausses»