The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

May 26, 2012


From the start an out of touch Quebec Premier and an unrealistic Liberal government has misread the Quebec students. Montreal now is the scene rather of daily increased protests.. More and more persons now are protesting the unacceptable, too controversial law Bill 78 aimed at limiting protests against tuition hikes. Government officials worried about the fast-approaching tourist season have too hastily introduced Bill 78 but it severely and falsely restricts the fundamental rights of all Quebecers to freedom of speech, protest.. The draconian legislation also provides for fines for anyone who prevents someone from entering an educational institution. The student groups, labour federations and a wide range of other organizations rightfully now do claim the law is unconstitutional and a violation of basic rights. 
Bill 78 is excessively punitive, restricts freedom of assembly and muzzles free speech through the threat of pulling student association funding.
MONTREAL – three main student groups behind a boycott of classes that is in its 15th week formed a common front Friday with more than 100 unions and individuals against the Quebec government’s emergency legislation, BILL 78, asking the court to strike down the bill that restricts protests, arguing that it infringes on fundamental freedoms. While the court challenge intends to quash Bill 78 permanently, the groups also filed a motion to have key articles in the law suspended until a decision is rendered on the constitutionality of the law. “It’s the biggest constitutional challenge in Quebec history.”

Bill 78 was adopted last week by Premier Jean Charest’s Liberal government in hopes of quelling some of the recent months’ unrest over Quebec’s plan to hike tuition fees  But it seems to have had the opposite effect. People from all walks of life, who hadn’t been involved in the nightly student demonstrations and didn’t necessarily support the student strike, have joined in, denouncing the law as trampling on fundamental rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association. Civil libertarians and constitutional experts have weighed in…

The law suspends the academic term in progress and provides for when and how classes are to resume, as well as restricting protests. “The new law does put a limitation on free expression. The question is whether or not that limitation is reasonable.”The second motion filed Friday asks for the entire law to be struck down because it violates both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the Quebec Charter. the fines for not respecting the law are exorbitant and could instill enough fear that a person might avoid all demonstrations altogether.


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