September 30, 2012
Quebec student leaders want to spark national anti-Harper movement
By Giuseppe Valiante, QMI Agency
The face of the Quebec student protests, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, has embarked on a Canada-wide tour to inspire Canadians to fight against austerity measures as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The seven-day speaking tour began Saturday in London, Ont., and ends Oct. 5 in Vancouver.
Nadeau-Dubois is joined on the tour by a former representative from Quebec student federation, CLASSE, as well as Ethan Cox, the Quebec correspondent for Rabble.ca, an online news organization.
Nadeau-Dubois was the spokesman for CLASSE during most of the student protests this year. He resigned in August.
Cox told QMI Agency the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) financed about one-third of the cost of the pan-Canadian tour. The rest of the money came in “dribs and drabs” from other unions and community organizations across the country, Cox said.
The tour is also sponsored by Rabble.ca and Leadnow.ca, which bills itself on its website as an organization that seeks “to help Canadians take action together for the fair, responsible and democratic Canada that we believe in.”
Cox would not say how much money was raised for the tour.
QMI Agency was unable to reach the CEP or LeanNow.ca for comment.
Cox said the goal of the tour is to teach Canadians how to build social movements similar to Quebec’s student movement.
He said the critical component of the success of Quebec’s student protests was that each student “felt a sense of ownership” in the movement.
Tens of thousands of Quebec students went on strike between February and August against the government’s decision to increase tuition by 82% over seven years.
Former Quebec Premier Jean Charest called an election in August, in part, to quell the social unrest that had rocked the province since the strike started.
The Charest Liberals narrowly lost the Sept. 4 election and the winning Parti Quebecois cancelled the tuition hike.
Cox said the tour is to “give people a concrete example of a successful social movement and inspire people to fight for what is important to them.
“And yes, we desperately need to get rid of Stephen Harper,” he added.
The Harper government is dismantling the country’s social welfare state, Cox said, “and that needs to be resisted.”
“Democracy cannot be restricted solely to electoral politics. Democracy is a lot more than voting every four years,” he said.
The three speakers are scheduled to give presentations in Toronto, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Victoria and Vancouver.
Cox said Saturday’s event in London drew about 150 people.