Below, we are re-publishing two letters of solidarity with the Quebec student movement, and we encourage our readers and supporters to distribute them to their own unions, locals, student groups, workplaces, etc. Fightback fully agrees that we need to spread the example from Quebec to the rest of Canada, as well as backing up Quebec students in their struggle against the Jean Charest government.
Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND) support Quebec students
WHEREAS students in Quebec are facing more than a 75% increase in tuition fees that threatens their access to education and will contribute to the increase of tuition fees across the country;
WHEREAS there is more than 180,000 students on strike in the province of Quebec, with some of the largest protests in Canadian history, including a rally of almost 300,000 portraying the broad public support;
WHEREAS the issue of rising tuition fees is just one component part of a wider problem of austerity, crisis, and war being put forth by the Canadian government and ruling class;
WHEREAS the government of Canada spends $49-million on the Canadian monarchy, $3.5-billion financing oil companies, $16-billion in tax evasions of the biggest five banks, amongst much other frivolous expenditures, free education would cost only one percent of the Quebec budget.
WHEREAS the Quebec government is refusing to negotiate in good faith and instead has attempted to break the student’s unity and resolve through court injunctions, openly mocking their campaign, refusing to seriously negotiate, allowing police violence against the students including the use of the infamous CS gas against protestors, mass arrests, to continuously suppress and provoke a movement that has aimed to achieve its goals through peaceful means;
WHEREAS the government, police and courts have not respected the students’ and faculty’s constitutional right to demonstrate;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND) denounce these actions by the Liberal government in Quebec;
BE IT RESOLVED that the TYND respond to the argument made by politicians and corporate press – that Quebec tuition fees are the lowest, and therefore the students should not complain about the increase – with a call for tuition fees across Canada to be reduced to the levels in Quebec, as a first step towards getting free post-secondary education across Canada.
BE IT RESOLVED that the TYND stand in solidarity with the students and workers in Quebec, and that we commit to continuing to organize events, public discussions and solidarity action, through our local student unions if possible, to raise awareness and to support the heroic struggle in Quebec.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the TYND pressure the New Democratic Party (NDP) to openly support the Quebec student movement and to condemn all police repression of students and workers, and to go forward to raise the demand for “free education” at both provincial and federal levels (as was the case under Tommy Douglas, first federal leader of the NDP).
An open letter to the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS):
Support Quebec students by bringing the movement to Ontario!
To our representatives at the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and affiliated student union locals,
We the undersigned are writing to the CFS as proud student unionists and activists, as well as workers and community members who support the student movement in Canada. We write this letter asking that the CFS engage in a consistent and serious mobilizing effort to bring the Quebec student movement to the rest of Canada.
We believe that this is the best solidarity we can give our sisters and brothers in Quebec. We believe it is the obligation of the elected student leaders to build this movement, and we commit, as rank-and-file students, to support you.
After 12 weeks of strikes against massive tuition hikes, and facing massive police repression and brutality, the student movement in Quebec is forcing the government to budge. This is a heroic example.
We ask that the CFS begin mobilizing for a student strike in Ontario and the rest of Canada. A campaign of mass educationals, solidarity delegations and mass mobilizations should be used to lead up towards a student strike in Ontario. Bring the lessons of Quebec to Ontario.
Quebec has shown, again and again, that the only way to force concession from governments is to mobilize on a mass basis through a strike campaign and confront the government, not with postcards, but with action! Students and youth, as well as the working population in general, have been inspired by the Quebec movement.
We are therefore asking that our representatives at the CFS and affiliated locals immediately begin a campaign for free post-secondary education, and make preparations to carry out a strike ballot in the Fall of 2012.
A massive student movement in Ontario would show the Quebec students that they are not alone. It would strengthen the movement for free post-secondary education across Canada, and it would cut across the divisions created by the pro-business politicians and corporate press to weaken the student movement.
Our response to the race to the bottom; tuition fees across Canada should be immediately lowered to the levels in Quebec, as a step towards abolishing all tuition fees in the country.
Prepare for an Ontario-wide strike vote in the Fall of 2012!