Protestors stand up for animal rights outside ITR Laboratories

Undercover footage revealed misconduct and animal abuse at toxicology research facility

Protesters gathered in front of ITR Laboratories in Baie-D’Urfé on the West Island on March 17, after a recent undercover operation found that animals were being mistreated at the facility.

International Toxicology Research (ITR) Laboratories Canada is among the numerous medical animal testing companies in Canada. The animal rights group Last Chance for Animals sent an undercover technician into the facility for four months to videotape how the animals were treated. The footage, which aired on CTV’s W5 on March 11, shows dogs being thrown into cages, pigs being restrained as they scream and technicians slamming animals onto operating tables.

The protest was organized by 269Life Canada, a world-renown animal rights activism group. Rob Boisvert, an activist and the protest’s main organizer, said he has been planning this protest ever since he learned about ITR’s treatment of animals from an anonymous source, even before CTV’s W5 aired the undercover footage.

“We want to let this business know that in this day and age that enough is enough, we don’t need animal testing to continue” said Boisvert, adding he plans on putting all his focus into shutting down ITR.

Protesters chanted, “Shut down ITR!” and “Murderers!” whenever movement was seen inside and outside the building. One protester shouted they should be conducting tests on “rapists and murderers” rather than on animals.

The undercover footage was shown to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). The CCAC is responsible for ensuring and advancing animal ethics and care in science. Once they have done their own investigation, the CCAC will recommend appropriate action that should be taken. If an institution fails to take action, the CCAC can place it in a status of non-compliance. The process can take months.

Zaphiro Catherine Cody, a protestor, said she believes the CCAC are are also at fault—about a dozen other protesters agreed. Cody added the CCAC are responsible for verifying the facilities once a year to ensure that animal testing facilities such as ITR are following regulations. Cody said they should have caught the mistreatment of the animals sooner.

“It’s important to come out today because we have to stand up for the animals,” Cody said. “We have a voice—they don’t. From the minute they are born, they are caged, labeled and tagged, and thrown into pharmaceutical companies or other places that do research, unfortunately.”

Photo by Rebecca Meloche

Baie-D’Urfé city councillor Peter Fletcher also attended the protest and denounced the facility’s conduct. He said he believes that it is time for Canada to re-invent their animal testing laws and regulations.

Animal rights activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Last Chance for Animals and members from Caring Paws Animal Therapy, among others, were at the protest. According to their social network biography, Caring Paws offers animal-assisted therapy using dogs and cats to help improve the health and quality of life of individuals of all ages. They have visited Concordia during exam period as well as senior residents and hospitals to offer pet therapy.

“There is no reason whatsoever why we are testing in 2017 on animals, and the only reason that this is happening is for money. Multi-million dollar companies are getting rich by murdering animals,” said Helen Attavaris, a protester who was dressed as a giraffe.

A recent statement released on ITR’s website said: “We take our responsibility to treat the animals in our care with the utmost respect very seriously. Behavior that does not comply with our guidelines is addressed promptly and firmly.”

After the footage was shown, ITR sent a stated to W5 that they are taking the measures necessary to ensure that the animals are treated according to the CCAC. Ginette Bain, senior vice-president of ITR Canada, added she is certain animals have not been mistreated in the laboratories.

Katherine Millington, the vice-president of the Concordia Animal Rights Association (CARA), said she hopes the footage will show those in Montreal and across Canada that animal abuse is happening every day in their cities, and people need to be more aware of it.

Photo by Rebecca Meloche

Millington said, although she does not condone all animal testing, “I think that what this footage shows is that it’s more than just lab mice being tested on. Dogs, pigs and monkeys are being tested on—something that many people are under the impression is a thing of the past,” she said. “[It] is simply not true—The dogs used in ITR Laboratories would have been bred specifically to be used in laboratories and would live incredibly short and painful lives and know nothing of the kind of care and love of a domesticated pet.”

Millington said, since ITR is claiming that their practices are in-line with industry guidelines, “the public needs to think about whether or not they believe animal abuse should be a standard practice,” Millington said.

Police were present throughout the protest to ensure it remained peaceful and that nobody trespassed on the company’s property.

To follow the ongoing investigation against ITR, visit 269Life’s Facebook page or website.

With files from Savanna Craig


Looking back on Maple Spring, looking forward to free education

Protests plagued by months of police brutality, mass arrests succeed in ending tuition hikes

On March 22, 2012, roughly 200,000 students poured onto the streets of downtown Montreal in what was one of the most iconic moments of the 2012 Maple Spring movement against provincial tuition hikes. In support, students pinned red squares of fabric to their clothes to denounce austerity measures imposed by the government.

One month prior, 36,000 students had voted to go on strike.

This large-scale mobilization was in response to former Quebec Premier Jean Charest announcing gradual tuition hikes in March 2011.

The Charest Liberal government proposed a province-wide tuition increase of $1,625 for university students, intended to be put into effect over a five-year period. Based on this plan, annual tuition fees would increase by $325 every year, rising from $2,168 to $3,793 by 2017.

Various occupations and mobilizations continued during that spring and throughout the summer, leading up to a protest on November 8, 2011, when 30,000 people took to the streets of Montreal to oppose these hikes—this culminated with a sit-in held at the administration building of McGill University.

The municipal government introduced P6—a bylaw which banned certain components of public protests. Photo by Navneet Pall.

While the protest in March 2012, which marked the peak of the movement, saw no arrests, in the months that followed, thousands of protesters were detained, along with bystanders and journalists caught up in kettling, a crowd-control tactic that corrals groups of people into a confined space.

As the summer of 2012 approached and the strike persisted, the municipal government of Montreal sought to curtail demonstrations by passing laws such as P6—a bylaw which banned protests not authorized by the city’s police and prohibited participants from wearing masks. This resulted in mass arrests—students endured police brutality, hefty fines and even harsh weather as the protests persevered into the winter months of early 2013.

Photo by Navneet Pall.

The Parti Québécois (PQ) was elected into office on September 4, 2012—the planned tuition hike was revoked one day after they took power. However, by December, the new government had laid out plans to slash the provincial budget. Among other affected institutions, Concordia University announced it was facing $13.2-million in cuts—cuts which caused the university to declare a deficit.

In February 2013, the PQ announced a three per cent tuition fee increase, amounting to $70 annually. This would increase tuition by $254 per year over a seven-year period, according to Maclean’s, which would be slightly less than the $325 hike proposed by the Liberal government. This was an act students condemned, and it led to renewed demonstrations, resulting in mass arrests during the following weeks.

After a long period of dwindling mobilization, a resurgence nicknamed Printemps 2015 restarted not just for students, but for all who were discouraged by the Quebec government’s budget cuts and the direction the province was headed.

Now, five years later, those who were involved in the Maple Spring movement reflect on the movement’s success, the evolution of the anti-austerity mobilization and the future of access to education for students in Quebec.

Many of Concordia’s current students were in their first year of university when the strike began. One student among them is Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis, the general coordinator of the Concordia Student Union (CSU).

“I joined the PSSA [Political Science Students’ Association] strike mob committee to help out with organizing, with picketing,” Marshall-Kiparissis said. The committee was tasked with organizing pickets and other events related to the strike. “At that point, I wasn’t in a lot of organizing work because I was still getting my feet wet.” Nonetheless, she described herself as a very enthusiastic participant.

Marshall-Kiparissis said mobilization in the form of strikes and large-scale protests was more common among francophone universities at the time. “So for Concordia to go on strike, this was one of the first major times that an Anglophone student community joined that greater movement,” Marshall-Kiparissis said.

36,000 students vote to go on strike in February 2012. Photo by Navneet Pall.

Alex Tyrrell, the leader of the Green Party of Quebec, attended various student protests at the time. He said he would often record the protests and upload those videos to Youtube to document the movement, particularly focusing on police brutality and other incidents.

While filming, Tyrrell was stopped by law enforcement officials.

Protesters dress don the red square, a symbol which represents the opposition of tuition hikes. Photo by Navneet Pall

“I got arrested one time for P6 on May 22, 2012,” Tyrrell said. “That was immediately after they passed the special law.” The Montreal P6 bylaw had been imposed by then-Mayor of Montreal Gérald Tremblay in 2012 to counter student protesting.

“You had to provide your itinerary before protesting, otherwise it would end in mass arrests,” Tyrrell said.

On the day of Tyrrell’s arrest, each detainee was subjected to an invasive search, one by one, and then put on a bus and were read their rights. Tyrrell said he and the bus loads of detained protesters were taken to the Centre Opérationnel Est in Saint-Léonard to be processed. He was released at 5 a.m. the next morning.

Throughout the protests, participants faced police brutality and mass arrests. Photo by Navneet Pall.

He described the mass arrests and the laws causing components of student protests to be illegal, as a form of oppression administered by the Liberal government. “Being arrested is frowned upon—a lot of people think it’s a very negative thing,” Tyrrell said. “I’ve only actually recently started talking about it publicly because now it’s actually been proven unconstitutional.” He said before the arrests were deemed unconstitutional, people would warn him that a criminal record could affect his political career. P6 was ruled illegitimate in June 2016 by the Quebec Superior Court Justice Chantal Masse, as two crucial points of the bylaw were unconstitutional, including Article 2.1, which made it illegal to hold a protest without an itinerary registered with police beforehand. Additionally, Article 3.2 was marked wrongful as it prevented the wearing of masks during a protest.

Tyrrell said after acquiring leadership of the Green Party of Quebec, he found himself in situations where could debate with Geoffrey Kelley, a former minister of the Liberal government, about a generation wanting to protest being met with police brutality and mass arrests.

Over the course of the protests, Tyrrell said he lost confidence in the integrity of the police force. During April 2012, protesting peacefully increasingly put the physical safety of participants at risk. He said it was often other protesters who would intervene when some participants began vandalizing. “The protest would try to police itself,” Tyrrell said.

He said he realized the police were not interested in arresting specific unruly protesters or preventing individual acts of vandalism. “They were more interested in using the fact that the window was broken to declare the entire protest illegal, and start taking out the rubber bullets and pepper spray,” Tyrrell said. “That, I think, for a lot of people, called into question the legitimacy of the police force.”

Former Quebec Education Minister Line Beauchamp mocked in protest photo. Photo by Sophia Loffreda.

Over the course of the protests, SPVM law enforcement officials requested more than $7.3 million in overtime income for work between February and June 2012, according to the McGill Daily. For May and June alone, SPVM police officers were paid $5.6 million for overtime.

La fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal—the union representing SPVM police officers—estimated that special intervention units were paid between $2.5 to $3 million during the strike, as they were required to assist more than 150 times during an 11-week period, according to the McGill Daily.

Tyrrell recounted an instance of police brutality faced by a friend of his during one protest. He described his friend fleeing riot police officers, but, as they chased him, Tyrrell’s friend stopped to turn himself in. Despite his compliance, police pushed the young man from behind and threw him to the ground, causing him to fracture his wrist. “Then they put him in handcuffs with a broken wrist and they cut the straps of his backpack off,” Tyrrell said.

Matthew Palynchuk, now a masters student, was a first-year undergraduate philosophy student at Concordia at the time of the protests. He was one of 26 students who were set to face tribunals at the university for actions during strikes in the 2011-2012 academic year. These students were being charged for conduct prohibited under section 29G of the university’s Code of Rights and Responsibilities, which deals with the “obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, study, student disciplinary procedures or other university activity.”

Palynchuk said the evidence to be used against him at the trial consisted of security tapes which didn’t contain any recognizable footage of him.

On September 18, 2012, the day before Palynchuk’s tribunal, newly-appointed Concordia President Alan Shepard withdrew all charges administered by the university, as a fresh start between administration and students.

The Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ), a Canadian student union prominent within the anti-austerity movement, obtained a large number of members over the course of the protests. “ASSÉ went from about 40,000 members before the strike [to] 75,000 after,” said Marion Miller, a member of ASSÉ’s training committee.

After 2012, ASSÉ dropped in male* involvement and membership. According to Miller, ASSÉ had trouble making quorum last congress—in other words, reaching a minimum number of members needed to validate the proceedings of that meeting, which took place between February 25 and 26. “It’s a quiet period,” Miller said.

Photo by Sophia Loffreda.

In response to rumours made towards ASSÉ disbanding, Miller said she understands the assumption, as ASSÉ has not been as externally active in recent years. However, she denied the claim. “If [ASSÉ] were to be at the end of an era, they could rebuild,” said Miller. However, she said ASSÉ is not at the end of era.

“The strike was against tuition hikes, but the long-term goal was free education and redistribution of wealth,” Tyrrell said.

“It’s just a question of priorities. The government has more than enough money to pay for people’s tuition, but they choose not to,” Tyrrell said. “They choose instead to give tax breaks to national corporations, the one per cent—that’s a choice.”

“Neoliberals want students to graduate in debt,” said Tyrrell. He said this is because somebody who graduates university debt-free is not necessarily going to go work for  a corporation immediately. “That’s the freedom that’s associated with free education.”

Tyrrell said a way the Quebec government could provide free education is by not only removing tax breaks to private corporations, but by generating revenues from a number of sources. Some suggestions include a carbon tax and mining royalties—this is the model proposed by the Green Party of Quebec.

Tyrrell said he believes the government is being infiltrated by private interest. “Who is the government working for?” he asked. “They defend private interest rather than the well-being and best interest of the general population.”

“The 75 per cent hike was supposed to come into force over five years—the entire hike would be in place by now,” Marshall-Kiparissis said. “Instead of having the 75 per cent, we’ve had about 15 per cent hike over that period of time. That’s the legacy of the student movement.”

*This article has been updated for accuracy and clarity. The Concordian regrets the error.


“Make Racists Afraid Again” protest

An SPVM window was smashed, anti-Trump protesters were cleared with tear gas

Approximately 300 demonstrators protesting the inauguration of President Donald Trump marched down Ste-Catherine Street West in downtown Montreal on Friday evening.

The protest, called “Make Racists Afraid Again,” started peacefully in Phillips Square, but as demonstrators marched against the flow of traffic on Ste-Catherine, windows of commercial stores were vandalized. Montreal police, dressed in riot gear, used tear gas and shields to disperse the protesters after several people started throwing stones, smashing a window at the SPVM station on the corner of Ste-Catherine and Bishop Street.

Protesters mobilize against Trump as he was sworn in as the new president of the United States. Photo by Ana Hernandez.

The protest was organized by the Anti-Racist Resistance Collective of Montreal (CRAM) and Resist Trump Montreal, in partnership with DisruptJ20—a group that organized many large protests throughout the United States on Friday.

Protesters held banners denouncing Trump, the United States and fascism. Organizers used megaphones to chant ‘No more Trump, no more hate, America was never great!,’ as the march moved along the downtown thoroughfare.

Activist and organizer Eamon Toohey said the protest—meant to be “a show of solidarity with protesters in Washington”—was a success.

“We wanted to show that the rise of the far-right as represented by Trump isn’t welcome in the States and it isn’t welcome in Canada,” said Toohey.

When asked about the vandalism that took place during the march, Toohey said he didn’t have sympathy for the SPVM or businesses like American Apparel, which were targeted during the protest.

“I’m not going to condemn protesters smashing the window of the police station,” said Toohey. “The police are the armed wing of the state and serve [to] enforce the policies that place people in jeopardy. No condemnation there.”

According to The Montreal Gazette, Montreal SPVM said they did not ticket or arrest anyone.

However, Concordia student Maidina Kadeer said she was arrested while waiting with her friends following the protests. “[The police] grabbed me and slammed me against the window and began handcuffing me,” Kadeer said.

Police officers are seen in front of the broken glass. Photo by Adrian Knowler

“They, at no point, told me if I was being arrested, for what—[they gave] no reason as to why I was being handcuffed and arrested,” said Kadeer. Her other friend began filming the scene, but the officers then pushed him, threw his phone out of his hands and stomped on it, she said. “They held me like that with no explanation.”

Student Stéphane Krims came directly from McGill’s music school to march, carrying his double bass the entire way. Krims said he is worried Trump’s election has made hate more widely tolerable in America, adding that he was alarmed by “the [racist] behaviour that some people exhibited when they found out that Trump was going to be president.”

Blake Hawley, an American citizen at the Montreal protest, said he was embarrassed by the message Trump’s election sent to the rest of the world.

“[The United States] already didn’t have a great image, but it’s definitely worse now for sure,” said Hawley. He said he’s afraid American-Canadian relations may suffer during the Trump years.

“The whole idea of the American government isn’t taken seriously anymore,” said Hawley. “The U.S. is going to lose allies as we go into this administration. [Trump] might be as bad as everyone thinks. If he is, the U.S. will lose a lot more respect than it already has.”

Toohey said he is concerned that Canadians are not taking the election of Donald Trump seriously enough. “There’s a sense here in Canada of, ‘Oh, we’re not America,’” Toohey said. “But injustices and abuse of police power are happening in Canada too.”

“Things are going to get as bad [here in Canada] unless they’re challenged,” he added. “It’s not just the United States, it’s not just Trump. It’s what he represents and what he was elected on.”

Be sure to check out an audio piece on this protest on The Concordian Radio Show on CJLO 1690 AM on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.


Vote to determine if reprimanded students may sit on Concordia’s senate

During the last senate meeting six of the nine committee members were approved

Concordia Student Union’s (CSU) General Coordinator Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis may soon be allowed full privilege to sit on Concordia’s senate, along with other former reprimanded students. Following senate’s approval for students to sit on senate, the final vote will be made by the Board of Governors which will either pass or fail.

Marshall-Kiparissis, who has requested speaking rights before each senate meeting, may no longer have to. “As general coordinator of the Concordia Student Union it’s part of my responsibilities to be a representative on senate and the Board of Governors since I’m the primary [person] representative of the union,” said Marshall-Kiparissis.

“Senators voted on a proposal that now has to go to the Board of Governors for approval,” said university spokesperson Chris Mota. “If the governors vote in favour of the proposal, then the reprimanded students will be allowed to sit on senate.” This would not allow reprimanded students to sit on the Board of Governors, however.

Marshall-Kiparissis said students who want to sit on senate are bound by certain eligibility requirements, which include term limits that do not apply to any other members. Students also have to be in acceptable academic standing—not conditional standing—and can not be independent students.

She said both she and Marion Miller, elected to represent the faculty of Fine Arts, were chosen to be senators in the CSU’s elections last March. “We both received the lowest possible sanction under the code of rights and responsibilities related to the 2015 strikes,” she said, adding that an ad hoc committee, a committee formed to resolve an issue with a specific goal, met throughout the summer with faculty and student representatives.

Marshall-Kiparissis said the ad hoc committee was formed after Concordia’s senate voted against the recommendations made by CSU and Concordia administration to grant reprimanded students eligibility at the senate meeting at the end of the last academic year.

She said the recommendation was made in light of her and Miller being appointed on senate. Marshall-Kiparissis said it was approved by six of the nine members of the committee. “Senate passed without any dissent so that was really heartening,” said Marshall-Kiparissis. Marshall-Kiparissis said she is really excited to be able to fulfill the responsibility given to her as the CSU general coordinator.

She said this is the step in the right direction for students, however, although in the CSU’s mind this represents good progress, it’s not quite complete. Kiparissis said CSU council had a mandate last year recognizing the eligibility barriers to students sitting on Concordia’s bodies is not completely in line with the provincial accreditation act concerning student representation of unions.

“We believe it is in our right that any students that the undergraduate constituency deems to be a good representative should be allowed to sit on those bodies without interference from the university,” said Marshall-Kiparissis. “That means we hope in the future independant students will be able to sit on, that even students with conditional standing will be able to sit on, that students are not bound by a more rigid term limits than faculty are.”

The date of the vote was not confirmed before the publication deadline, but those who are interested in viewing the next Board of Governors meeting may attend at the observer’s’ room in H-633-1 of the Hall building on S.G.W. campus at 4 p.m. on Nov 2.


Up in arms over anti-austerity

Over 10,000 march against budget cuts to public sector on Halloween

A familiar sight presented itself in downtown Montreal on Friday as tens of thousands showed their displeasure with provincial austerity cuts. At the protest, students weren’t the only marchers, but were rather joined by professionals, unions members, and public servants.

Concordia’s contingent to the morning protest commenced at the Sir George Williams campus before joining the main group at the McGill University Roddick gates. Colourfully dressed in costumes as befit the occasion and the event entitled “Austerity: A Horror Story,” all assembled were protesting against the large cuts in spending by the Quebec government.

“I think it went really well,” said Concordia Student Union (CSU) President Benjamin Prunty, who noted the comparably large turnout.

“It’s not quite the same as tuition,” he said, referencing the 2012-13 protests that saw hundreds of thousands of people protest against cuts to the education sector. “When the university is looking to cut 180 positions and [is] losing $16 million—and that’s only in one year, obviously the year before they lost more—it’s really easy for students to realize this is affecting them in a real way, and not only that, it will be affecting them in the future.”

Sustainable Concordia’s (SC) External Coordinator, Mike Finck, also agreed that the event was a marked success.

“I think [the event] was very successful on the amount of people who came out on such short notice and looking across who was represented,” he said.

Beside the CSU and SC, representatives from a dozen Concordia student organizations across most faculties. Labour unions like Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia (TRAC) and the Concordia Undergraduate Part-time Faculty Association (CUPFA) were also present.

“The government is not prioritizing the public sector, and so the public sector needs to remind the government … why they exist—which is to provide support for citizens,” said Prunty. Many of the labour contracts at Concordia and Quebec as a whole are up for renegotiation next year, and he says austerity won’t be lost on the negotiators.

“This is all very top-down. We’re told this is the case, we have no choice, and things are compartmentalized,” said Prunty, who disputes the idea of austerity as the only course of action and without alternative discourses. “We have cuts to the public sector, and low and behold, there’s also tax cuts here to certain parts of the private sector or certain parts of the financial sector.”

Prunty would like the university to take a clear stance on the austerity measures coming from the provincial government.

“When you’re making cuts to education instead of to other places, you’re affecting the people who really need it most. It doesn’t make any sense to me when there’s so many opportunities,” said Concordia student and protester Alejandra Melian-Morse. “We’re struggling, and we’re individuals, not huge corporations.”

“The key, really, is to not feel disempowered by this message being constantly pushed down and that we’re always hearing from the figures we see as authorities. The only answer is to start the conversation ourselves,” said Prunty.


Students arrested at UQAM and U de M

Graphic by Jennifer Kwan

The first week of classes at universities which suspended their winter semesters due to the student strike movement saw clashes between protesters in opposition of the tuition fee increase and Law 12 with administration, security, and Montreal Police.

Hundreds of classes were cancelled at both Université de Montréal and Université du Québec à Montréal as students blocked access to classes in both French-language universities.

Under Law 12, the emergency legislation passed by the Charest Liberals in May aimed to curb protests and allow students to attend class, the winter semester was cancelled at post-secondary institutions paralyzed by the student movement.

The protests at the universities last week forced classes to be cancelled as students physically blocked access to classrooms where confrontations between demonstrators and security, staff and students wishing to attend class ensued.

On the first day of classes at UQAM, a group of masked students roamed the hallways with lists of departments that voted in favour of the student strike in order to empty the classes where the strike was not respected. The students managed to disrupt many courses resulting in professors ending the class early.

At U de M, Montreal Police detained 19 individuals on Monday, Aug. 27 for allegedly violating provisions of the back-to-school legislation Administration of the university asked Montreal Police to intervene after dozens staged protests within the school where a standoff between students and security occurred.

“These people have been released with no conditions,” police Commander Ian Lafreniere told the press last week.

“They received a paper mentioning they are under investigation with Law 12.”

This is the first time Law 12, or Bill 78, has been applied in Montreal.

On Aug. 10, the Montreal Police announced that enforcement of the emergency legislation would only be applied if universities request it. By Tuesday, Aug. 28, more than 30 arrests had been made with regards to Law 12 or general violations of the criminal code.

At UQAM, administration decided to handle the disruptions without the help of the police, in fear of creating more tension at the university. The school’s spokesperson Jenny Desrochers told The Gazette that UQAM did not want to exacerbate the situation by bringing in police officers.

On Wednesday, Aug. 29, U de M decided to cancel classes for the rest of the week for the six faculties that voted to continue their strike. That same day, approximately 100 demonstrators flooded the downtown core.

Marielle Villeneuve, a first-year student at UQAM slated to start school in October, is not worried that protests will stop her from attending her courses.

“I think everyone is annoyed with the student strike,” said Villeneuve. “I don’t think my department will be on strike but I know my courses will be more intense due to time constraints.”

However Villeneuve says she’s awaiting the outcome of the upcoming provincial election to see how the university is affected.

“It’s UQAM, so you don’t really know what’s going to happen,” explained Villeneuve. “I think if Liberals are still in power, there will surely be protests.”


In Case You Missed It

Oct. 15, 2011 – Occupy Montreal movement begins

In coordination with the Occupy Canada movement and in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street in New York City, approximately 1,000 people showed up to Victoria Square for the first day of Occupy Montreal. Participants in the ‘general assembly’ then decided to rename Victoria Square as “Place du peuple.” Occupy Montreal lasted about a month before police forcibly vacated the square.

Nov. 10, 2011 – Massive downtown protest against tuition hikes

An estimated 30,000 students protested against the provincial government’s plan to raise tuition in the streets of downtown Montreal. Despite the downpour, a Concordia contingent left from Reggie’s terrace around 1 p.m. to meet up with other students at Parc Emilie-Gamelin. After marching through the downtown core, the movement gathered outside Premier Jean Charest’s office on McGill College. By the end of the protest, some students flocked to the James Administration building to take part in a growing confrontation. Police used tear gas and pepper spray to force protesters off McGill property. According to Montreal Police, four arrests were made that day.

February 7 – 12, 2012 – McGill students occupy James Administration building

A group of students occupied the office of Deputy Provost for Student Life and Learning, Morton Mendelson, in protest of the administration’s decision not to uphold a referendum that would continue funding the campus radio station and a social justice organization. Students requested that CKUT and QPIRG continue to receive funding and that Mendelson step down. Administration cut off access to power and plumbing, which eventually forced students out days later.

February 10, 2012 – Student representatives walk out on Board of Governors

Student governors Cameron Monagle, AJ West and Erik Chevrier quickly put an end to a meeting that had not even entered open session. The three students walked out in protest because they opposed a motion made in closed session that addressed whether or not cameras and recording equipment would be allowied during meetings. When they left, the meeting lost quorum and was therefore cancelled.

March 5, 2012 – Concordia University votes to go on strike

Concordia University became the first English post-secondary institution to join the student strike against the tuition increase. In a historic moment, undergraduate students voted in favour of a week-long general strike from March 15-22.

March 5, 2012 – Concordia Student Union execs disqualified

Then-executive candidates Schubert Laforest and Lucia Gallardo were disqualified from running for the Concordia Student Union by Chief Electoral Officer Ismail Holoubi. Holoubi claimed that Gallardo and Laforest were not registered students and thus not eligible to run.

March 9, 2012 – Concordia University is fined $2-million

Education Minister Line Beauchamp slapped Concordia University with a $2-million fine for handing out excessive severance packages and mismanaging funds. In a letter addressed to the administration, Beauchamp expressed her concern about senior administrators’ salaries and the turnover rate for those positions.

March 16, 2012 – Gallardo and Laforest reinstated

The judicial board of the CSU ruled that Gallardo and Laforest should be able to participate in the general election campaign.  Their affiliation presented evidence that they experienced trouble with their VISAs and were left temporarily unregistered.  Both candidates were reinstated.

March 22, 2012 – A sea of red to denounce the tuition fee increase

A massive demonstration of more than 200,000 students and their supporters took to the streets of downtown Montreal to protest against the tuition fee increase.  Concordia University cancelled class on both campuses that day for security reasons. It marked one of the largest protests in Canadian history and no arrests were made.

April 2, 2012 – Sit-in outside of Lowy’s office

When a Fine Arts Student Alliance general assembly failed to meet quorum, more than 70 students held a sit-in outside of President Frederick Lowy’s office on the 15th floor of the MB building. Students proceeded to demand another meeting so they could discuss concerns about the ongoing student strike. After an hour, Lowy emerged from his office to take part in the impromptu meeting which would be continued at a later date.

May 14, 2012 – Education Minister Line Beauchamp resigns

Following months of student unrest and protests against the tuition hike, Education Minister Line Beauchamp stepped down from her position and from politics entirely. Beauchamp’s resignation came after negotiations between the provincial government and student groups failed.  An hour later, Michelle Courchesne was appointed as the new education minister.

May 18, 2012 – Provincial government passes Bill 78

In an effort to put an end to the tuition crisis after 14 weeks of student unrest, the provincial government passed the controversial and historic Bill 78. The bill cracks down on the size and governance of demonstrations, imposes strict fines for individuals blocking access to classes in post-secondary institutions and ended the winter semester at CEGEPs and universities affected by the strike.

July 26, 2012 – Jun Lin’s funeral

A Concordia University student Jun Lin was remembered in a public funeral nearly two months after his brutal murder. Family and friends gathered at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery at 9 a.m. to mourn the loss of 33-year-old Lin. His ashes were buried in Montreal, where he had started to make a life for himself. The suspect was apprehended and his trial is ongoing.

August 1, 2012 – Alan Shepard takes office

Concordia University’s incumbent President Alan Shepard took office on Aug. 1 to commence his five-year mandate. Shepard was hired to replace Frederick Lowy who was appointed as interim President following the resignation of Judith Woodsworth in Dec. 2010.

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