CUPE leaders offered their support to student protesters in Quebec taking a strong stand against tuition fee hikes and the recently imposed Special Bill 78, which represents a disturbing violation of basic rights to freedom of assembly.
CUPE members participated in a rally organized by the Alliance sociale and its affiliates (including the FTQ) on May 22 in Montreal. This rally coincided with a massive demonstration organized by the Coalition large de l’ASSÉ (CLASSE) and supported by the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ).
“We cannot stand by while governments continue to violate our basic rights in the name of austerity and funding cuts that only fuel the growing gap between rich and poor. Today we stand in solidarity with Quebecers who oppose these measures,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.
“Students shouldn’t have to suffer huge debt loads before they even get to work. They’ve seen the cost of post-secondary education grow outrageously in the United States and the rest of Canada, and they don’t want a society where only the rich can afford to go to school. I admire their stand, and CUPE supports them 100 per cent,” added Moist.
On May 18, the leaders of the FTQ, the CSN and the CSQ condemned the abuses of bill 78, a law that infringes on civil liberties and threatens our democracy. CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury also offered words of support to the protesters.
“CUPE Quebec has been working in solidarity with the students of Quebec for months. We’re very proud of all the work they’ve done” said Fleury. “Bill 78 resorts to extreme measures to try to silence the voice of dissent. The bill inhibits our members from exercising their basic rights to assembly and expression. CUPE stands firmly in opposition to this law.”
Quebec’s legislature has passed an emergency anti-protest law that the chair of the Quebec bar association calls “a breach to the fundamental, constitutional rights” of its citizens. Read the Bill.