Quebec student protesters heading for Ontario
Published Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:24PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2012 7:58PM EDT
Quebec organizers of the biggest student strike in Canadian history are taking their message to Ontario with a nine-city tour of the province beginning Thursday.
The Student Solidarity Tour kicks off in Ottawa with a speech by high-profile student protest leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
The tour will also stop in Kingston, Hamilton, Windsor, Niagara, London, Guelph and Toronto before wrapping up in Peterborough on July 20.
Reporter Camille Ross told CTV News Montreal that after a quiet month, the protesters have released a new manifesto and they want to discuss their beliefs directly with Canadians.
“It contains what they call their core values when it comes to things like democracy, access to education, issues like feminism and ecology,” Ross said.
Ahead of an event in Ottawa Thursday night, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said he wants to engage with Canadians.
“We have something to say as a generation and we have been trying to say it for the last month, but through the mainstream media it’s always a little bit harder to explain deeply our message,” Nadeau-Dubois said.
“So now the decision we have taken is to go directly to the population to give them this basis of reflection and discuss with them, exchange with them.”
The manifesto says the student strike goes beyond the $1625 tuition-fee hike.
“If, by throwing our educational institutions into the marketplace, our most basic rights are being taken from us, we can say the same for hospitals, Hydro-Québec, our forests, and the soil beneath our feet,” the manifesto reads.
“We share so much more than public services: we share our living spaces, spaces that were here before we were born. We want them to survive us.”
When in the regions, the campaign will take the form of conferences, discussions and a presence at big events where they’ll distribute the manifesto.
In addition to the Ontario dates, the student protest group plans to visit 20 regions in Quebec including Sherbrooke, Rimouski and St Jerome.
Students in Quebec have been on strike since February to oppose a tuition fee hike of $1,625 over five years. The daily marches have been marred by some violence and classroom sit-ins.
The Quebec strike has been the longest and largest student action in Canadian history.