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Strength of Student Solidarity in Kingston?

Casserole Demonstrations, peaceful protests, Kingston, OntarioThe so-called Maple Spring reached the Limestone City a few weeks ago, by way of peaceful musical protests, which meandered through downtown neighborhoods on Wednesday evenings.  Commonly referred to as Casseroles, these traffic-stopping grassroots demonstrations inspired local citizens to get out and make as much noise as possible by banging together  pots, pans and kitchen utensils. The Casserole phenomenon originated as a result the ongoing student strike in Montreal, the longest and largest in Canadian history, while the movement has sparked supportive demonstrations all around the globe.  Local supporters took to the cause for many reasons, while the central motivator was to increase awareness regarding a host of social, political and rights-based issues.  Soon after the demonstrations reached Kingston, a flyer appeared in our mailbox, while an excerpt of the invitation reads as follows:

Everyone is out for their own reasons but the common theme is we are discontent with our current government and want to show love for our neighbours and community.  If you agree with this sentiment, you belong out here with us.  Our message is changing as the weeks pass – in the interest of making a real change to our country you are invited to help us send that message.  here are the main reasons the casseroles started…student tuition…Bill 78…police brutality…Bill C-38…

While Casserole demonstrations have largely gone on hiatus for the Summer months, Quebec organizers are reaching out and working hard to ensure their message is heard across Ontario. Accordingly, this week’s poll question asks:

Is local support for Quebec's student movement growing?

  • No. (79%, 123 Votes)
  • Yes. (20%, 31 Votes)
  • Something Else Entirely. (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 156

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Last Friday, the nine-day Student Solidarity Tour stopped over at Queen’s University featuring discussions led by a trio of Quebec student leaders: Jeremie Bedard-Wien (Executive Committee Member, CLASSE), Audrey Deveault (Dawsons Students’ Union Chairperson at CEGEP) and Marianne Breton-Fontaine (Former Student Union Member at CEGEP).  While the turnout was limited to a few dozen sympathizers, solidarity and the strategy of growing the movement were core themes to the Student Solidarity Tour’s local discussions.  Regarding the probability of wide scale supportive protests moving east into Ontario, Vincent Mosco, a professor of Sociology at Queen’s, states:

The protests are not going away. These demonstrations are starting to rank with major protests from the 1960s. It is getting support from organized labour, the Occupy movement, and opposition politicians. Support is coming from outside Quebec, including the U.S. and Europe. It is now about inequality and not just tuition (source). We’re seeing young people in the streets every day and (Ontario students) will be asking how does this affect me, and do I have some concerns? It seems more normal for students to be protesting than not (source).

What are your thoughts on the possibility of local post-secondary students joining their Quebec counterparts?  Do you support the striking post-secondary students, or are you firmly opposed?  Drop off your comments below.

Thanks to Laurel L. Ruswwurm for today’s photo.

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Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

6 thoughts on “Strength of Student Solidarity in Kingston?

  • July 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm
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    I go to SLC, and I'm ashamed that the salary for many support staff positions make it such that employees can't become students.
    I cross people twenty years my senior and can't help but lower my head. Its a sickening feeling that in a land of opportunity, one of the richest in the world… these hard working people have hit a dead end.

    I'm not sure about how viable a strike here in ontario is (even the english schools in quebec dont strike).
    That being said,
    I cant think of anything more beautiful or selfless than giving up a year of my studies so that others might have the opportunity.

  • July 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm
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    This picture says a thousand words about who is actually willing to raise their voice. Firstly, look at the Kitchen-Aid pan. The seams on her clothes aren't torn or worn, well manicured threads. People aren't taking this seriously, and the only people who can afford to go out and protest, are the people who can afford the snappy clothes, and the Kitchen-Aid pans We can't forget the people who have no work/school/day job,
    their contributions are immense. I bet they wish they had a job in the first place, so they could buy nice clothes and kitchen aid pans. They want them, they aren't crazy. Those are good pans in fact, and I'm not jealous of their pans, but I would like to work hard and succeed and have my fellow Kingstonians have the same luck at success.

    I had to buy my pots and pans at 2nd hand/thrift stores. I am going back to school after being out of school since high school, around 1997. I could have gone to Queen's, and the University tuitions were under 2000$. So here we are a mere 15 years later, and now going back to SLC which is cheaper than Queen's, I am paying for ONE YEAR what I would have been able to take for 3 Years of University. 1997 -> 1600$ University one year VS. 2012 5700$ College one year. So before you say that's inflation, consider the cost of homes, food, and cars, what has gone up over 300% in this local economy?

    This is why Quebec is protesting. I have to sink myself in over 20,000$ worth of debt, which makes banks create money out of thin air because of our distorted banking system. I would really like to work, and raise my own money, to pay for school. But instead, the rates are atificially inflated to cover "Soaring Costs" , and the OSAP programs funded by private interest banksters get stinking rich. I understand economics, and environment, and these trends have nothing to do with either. It's just Corporate Greed, and NO ONE needs a salary over 200K when most people are living on less than 1/10th of that. Forget the hard work, forget the lazy people arguments. It just like clogged arteries in a heart, no one to blame but the problem needs to be fixed. More qualified people would drive the economy wouldn't they. More educators, more people who could create things.

    Oddly enough in Quebec, they make most food, drink, and craft instruments and have an actual manufacturing base other than government subsidized auto industy in Ontario. They understand, you have to MAKE something that's worth something, and not devalue the average human being to be convinced that living a life in continuous debt is just the state of the modern world. Its not. I live on less than 10k a year, and because of that, I will be forced to encourage the Banksters who set high interest rates, and lend out other's money, to create more fiscal wealth for themselves.

    All I want to do is work with children with Autism. Which is another kettle of fish being ignored by the provincial and federal governments both.

    BANG ON I SAY! BANG ON!

  • July 19, 2012 at 8:47 am
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    Do people even want this in their streets? Ontarian students have no reason to be striking – this is ridiculous, especially on the grounds of one of the most Conservative and privileged schools on the country.

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