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Quebec student uprising: New York Times gets its “not-so-friendly northern neighbor”. Why can’t our media do the same?

The New York Times approaches the Quebec student uprising with a scalpel, opening layers of the student struggle our media is too timid, too ignorant and too biased to explore .

Needless to say, a must read.

WHEN Vladimir V. Putin first came to power in Russia, Quebecers could not help but laugh. Poutine, as he is called in French, is also the name of a Québécois fast-food dish made of French fries, gravy and cheese. But these days the laughter is over, as Quebec gets a taste of Mr. Putin’s medicine.

For a change, Americans should take note of what is happening across the quiet northern border. Canada used to seem a progressive and just neighbor, but the picture today looks less rosy. One of its provinces has gone rogue, trampling basic democratic rights in an effort to end student protests against the Quebec provincial government’s plan to raise tuition fees by 75 percent.

On May 18, Quebec’s legislative assembly, under the authority of the provincial premier, Jean Charest, passed a draconian law in a move to break the 15-week-long student strike. Bill 78, adopted last week, is an attack on Quebecers’ freedom of speech, association and assembly. Mr. Charest has refused to use the traditional means of mediation in a representative democracy, leading to even more polarization. His administration, one of the most right-wing governments Quebec has had in 40 years, now wants to shut down opposition.

X-posted at Let Freedom Rain .

17 comments to Quebec student uprising: New York Times gets its “not-so-friendly northern neighbor”. Why can’t our media do the same?

  • Jacques McBrearty

    you can add that the «I’m running out of synonyms for insane» bill 78 is also killing democracy. No jokes or me being paranoid.
    What happens when you get the legislative power to give up his powers to the executive and suppress the word of the law? Dictatorship!

  • ck

    Things are upside down. For one, even Eric Duhaime, the Chou-Chou of the Reseau Liberte du Quebec (Quebec Tea-party chapter), fully disagrees with Bill 78, for albeit different reasons than most of us.

  • Jacques McBrearty

    common sense disagree with bill 78

  • kootcoot

    ck – what are the reasons? (I didn’t know Quebec had a tea-party, I thought Maxime Bernier was enough)

  • Jacques McBrearty

    the «réseau liberté Québec» says that Quebec has a debts worst than Greece and several bullshit like that on a weekly basis and Duhaime (or du haine as some of my fellows call him) is their spokeperson (I’d say preacher).

    ck Reply:

    Oh Jacques! If you think Duhaime is fun, you haven’t met Dr. Roy Eappen, a co-founder with Duhaime at RLQ. Eappen is a monarchist, “Christian” — a doctor who’s been whining on various pages to have American health care system here. He has a blog too over at the Blogging SupposiTories. He’s basically nasty and I think in need of some psychological intervention.

  • Deb OConnor

    The US newspaper is only bold because they’re going after a Canadian province. If it was happening in their country they’d be as timid as our own media lest they offend anyone important who can hurt them. They have a long history in the USA of ignoring the real issues, and the nuances, just like in Canada.

    For truthful media we have to look to blogs and internet zines like this one. Thank you, by the way.

  • Jacques McBrearty

    I’m glad I got to live these days. I often envy the baby-boomers (those who were born after WW II and were too lazy to have enough kids to give us any demographic weight) to have the luck to live La Révolution Tranquile (the Quiet Revolution). Our time has come to change the face of our world and we plan to create mecanism in order to make these changes easier!

  • Andre

    Yea, but it’s the only paper in this country (US) that has given any space to the protests. And I disagree with you, your press is far superior to ours. Try and find another article in this country on it. But here is the bottom line for Charest (and he’s salivating at the thought, I’m sure, especially if he can be the one who started the privatization of health care there, and something the health care money would pay dearly for):

    Jymn Reply:

    No Andre, Canada’s media is 90 percent Conservative. That is not a good thing. The reportage of the uprising may be rare, but up here it’s 90 percent against the students without any finely-tuned analysis. At least in the States, you have a plethora of media representing all sides, not just the conservative one.

    Andre Reply:

    Oh, Really? Well show me US reportage on the opposite side of the NY Tines article. Our press is conservative too, but the right wingers don’t think it is conservative enough, so they cast aspersions on it at being the “Liberal Media” (there’s no lengths they’ll not go to, to move the discussion to the right), and of course, we on the left have responded “Yea, thee so-called Liberal media”. Any info I have gotten about the demonstrations in Quebec has been from thee Canadian media. There is an obvious answer as to why our media will allow no mention of Quebec: the elites on their boards of directors don’t want us getting any ideas. Also, why are we not talking about making tuition free, at least for native Quebecers? Here in Massachusetts we used to have very cheap tuition at state institutions, until the powers that be (the top 1 %) wanted the money that these “lazy” kids were not paying.

  • jenny

    The NYT editorial letter writers omitted the cause of the protest on purpose. Had the mentioned the bargain tuition prices in a US publication, all sympathy would have evaporated faster than you can say “spoiled brats”.

    ck Reply:

    Uh Jenny, are you illiterate or just too damned lazy to click the link?? It did mention the protests were initially about tuition hikes, you stupid cow. In fact, I’m sure many young readers of the New York Times may be wishing their tuitions were lower. Oops! I just insulted cows. Now be gone, troll!

  • Jacques McBrearty

    to see how spoiled brats Quebecers are… maybe it’s the anglo saxon tradition that is the problem


  • Adrienne

    Hey! I never knew the real costs!!! But it’s the same all over the world… even when the table you show Jacques, in Mexico public universities are almost free but places are not enough for all the population… in addition if you’re not lucky enough to get in, you have to pay really high tuition fees in private universities.

  • Chuck

    I read that same article. But there is a difference between the actual new york times articles and the opinion post section of the new york times. This article was not an actual article written from reporters of the new york times, but rather two highly educated individuals who work in Montreal and who decided to passionately post their beliefs on the current situation. So to say that the new york times is on either side of the issue is simply inaccurate.

    There are many threads all over our media websites in montreal allowing for free conversation about the current issue. And these threads are posted on actual articles written by reporters who try their best only to report fact, not opinion. Opinions are for the readers once the fact have been brought to light.

    This issue has gotten completely out of hand, and the government cannot negotiate with radical movements. I do not want to compare it to terrorism however the protest have almost taken the city, its civilians and its businesses hostage in order to change the government decisions. The protesters are a small minority who have made a lot of noise, a lot of damage and cost the city millions of dollars. This issue something that literally would be flagged as a non issue if all the facts were laid out in the proper manner.

    Jacques McBrearty Reply:

    They had it coming. Never believing that if you don’t take care of an incoming crisis and thinking that it will magically solve by itself is behond incompetence.