This morning I went on Vancouver Co-op Radio and W2Media’sMedia Mornings with Irwin Oostindie to talk about our work at Voices-Voix, the federal elections and civil liberties in Canada. We talked about how there’s been little to no focus on refugees and migrants (until this week), C-51, civil liberties, women’s rights or Indigenous issues so far in this federal election campaign. It being the anniversary of 9/11, we talked a bit about that too.
Take a listen to the interview below, or listen to the full show here.
It also made me think of how many resources are appearing to help shed light on these issues throughout the election campaign, but aren’t necessarily receiving the focus they deserve. I meant to mention the incredible NeverHome.ca site from No One Is Illegal, but ran out of time. Check it out. And I think a future post will be on some of those resources…
MONTREAL—As the city of Montreal tightens its belt-buckle and is cutting budgets, two Montrealers who are challenging the city’s regulations around demonstrations are questioning the amount of resources the city is putting in to defend the bylaws.
“It seems like there is room for austerity measures around everything except repression,” said Julien Villeneuve, better-known as Anarchopanda, in an interview.
Documents obtained by Villeneuve and Jaggi Singh, both plaintiffs in their own separate court challenges against municipal bylaw P-6, show that the city has decided to turn to private lawyers in order to defend the regulation. The documents were provided to the Montreal Media Co-op for review by Singh and Villeneuve.
The 2012 Quebec student strike has left many legacies in the province: from a resurgent social media ready to capture police wrongdoings, to ongoing local neighbourhood assemblies, to debates on whether a 3 per cent tuition fee indexation was actually a victory in the end. But one of the most enduring, and possibly counterintuitive, has been the crackdown on protests in the province’s largest – and most active – city.
Two years later, Montreal police continue to carry out mass arrests and to dole out huge fines, backed by laws brought in and popularized during the strike. As the number of arrests continued to rise, though, civil liberties advocates have increased their push to see the laws thrown out. Over the past 24 months, challenges to two of the most controversial laws have been weaving through the courts, and class action filings continue to pile up.
“We see a complete lack of interest among politicians to even discuss the issue,” says Julien Villeneuve. A college philosophy teacher by trade, Villeneuve became known for donning a panda suit during protests, giving out hugs, and doing his best to rally people to the cause of accessible education and the right to protest. His alter-ego ofAnarchopanda was born. While the strike ended, he’s one of many who has continued to fight for the right to protest in Montreal.