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What are we to make of 100 days of mayhem in Montreal?

Social MovementsWeb Exclusive

Coddled kids with a mistaken sense of entitlement? Yes there’s some of that. But if it were just that, the strike would have fizzled out long before now.

The idea of a free education which has deep philosophical and political roots in France and Québec? OK … but does it run deep enough to pull thousands of young Québecois into the streets week after week?

Ah-ha! The unions have hijacked the demonstrations. The Québec unions are there alright, and they’re a lot bolder than their English cousins. But the people on the streets were … and are … students.

Dial down the diatribes for a bit and what do the streets of Montreal look like? They look like Toronto or Seattle during a G20 meeting. They look like Occupy Wall Street. We say we want the young engaged in the political process. But they’re young. Why are we surprised they engage in a way we don’t approve of?

Listen. Our sons and daughters, in Québec this time, are trying to tell us something. Their leaders are articulating it even if we, in English Canada, can’t hear them. No jobs in the future. No money in the money bank. No food in the food bank. Dishonest business leaders. Dishonourable political leaders. The house is burning down and the pumps don’t work ‘cause the vandals took the handles … to quote an old Bob Dylan tune from the sixties … except the real vandals are not the black-masked kids we see on TV.

Mais c’est la vie, hein? (shrug) That’s way it is, eh? What can you do? But then, maybe that’s the problem.

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