Civil Disobedience, A Democratic Tool to Send a Message

I believe most of the public is missing the bigger picture when it comes to the Quebec student protests. There are several issues at play that many don’t notice.

First, the taxpaying public should be upset about the tuition increase. The argument is that tuition in other provinces are much higher. What the public fails to recognize is that the taxpayers in these provinces also pay less to subsidize education. So, if the Quebec government wants to increase tuition it should also reduce the tax burden on the public.

Second, the general public should wake up a recognize when a government does not respect its citizens. This may be a protest by students but it could have just well have been a protest about anything else (language, health care, gas prices, infrastructure, corruption, etc). Would the government have respected those protest or would they have conducted themselves in the same way? It seems to me that if an “elected” group of public representatives can be this dismissive and arrogant to the student protest then it would be logical to see them be as arrogant to any other protest.

Thirdly, as much as I appreciate the student’s passion, where are they and the rest of the public to protest other major issues facing the province? What about protesting lack of government accountability (transparency)? What about our disintegrating infrastructure or our failing healthcare? What about our ever-increasing taxation without fair representation? What about infringement of rights (specifically language or other freedoms)? Shall I continue?

Civil disobedience is the only right the public has to voice themselves in a democracy. Yes, we have a vote that occurs every 4 to 5 years but what about hearing our voices between elections and especially when our system provides for a majority government that can do as they wish? This is something that many of your reporters and talk radio commentators fail to acknowledge but keep preaching about the electoral vote.

We need more civil, but peaceful, disobedience. We need to learn through the example set by the students. I may not agree with their protest and how they are conducting themselves but I do applaud them for taking a stand and sending a message to the government. The public needs to wake up and do the same.


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