We are all Quebecois (even if we don’t know it yet)

We are all Quebecois

The Real News
By Diane Kalen-Sukra.

Months after the student protests against tuition hikes began in Quebec, many folks in English Canada continue to scratch their heads at how resistance from a group of disparate student unions over a dozen campuses could spark the largest and most sustained citizen’s revolt in Canadian history, a veritable “red square” revolution with the potential to topple the provincial government.

The English-corporate media outside of Quebec hasn’t helped. They’ve characterized the students as spoiled, selfish and prone to violence as well as out of touch with “fiscal realities”.

But the students’ core messages are getting out via social media and resonating with a political awakening taking place among people everywhere – namely, the rejection of a broken system that enslaves its population, even its youth, with debt; abandons them into a jobless economy; then uses all means, including state violence to enforce public subservience to corporate and banker interests over the public interest.


Overcoming any remnants of historical prejudices and divisions between Quebec and English Canada, Canadians are responding to the call, “building links of love and solidarity with pots and pans”.

A solidarity protest hastily organized on Facebook by Casseroles Canada for May 30 th turned out thousands of pot-banging supporters in dozens of cities across the country (video) including spirited rallies in New York and UK with more protests planned for next week.

It seems to be finally sinking in, that we’ve all been had. No matter where you look, no matter how rich your nation’s resources or how vast its land, most people, municipalities, regions, states/provinces, and nations are in debt.

No matter how many jobs you hold, no matter how hard you work, no matter what your education level or that of your parents, so long as you are part of the 99%, you’re destined to a life of debt slavery and the associated shame and subservience that comes with it.

Your parents can pay taxes for their entire lives, yet it’s not enough to cover your “unproductive years” pursuing “higher education”. You can hustle from job to job and pay taxes, yet it will still not be enough to sustain basic public infrastructure and services vital for the well-being of your family and community, let alone pay off your student loan.

It’s no accident that bankruptcy laws have been systematically tightened everywhere – not for the banks, we bail them out; not for the corporations, they walk away; but for ordinary folks.

But what about personal responsibility, you say? Absolutely. We have failed in our personal responsibility to counter the business-propaganda that promotes consumerism as a form of patriotism or worse, self-healing.

We have failed in our responsibility to counter the banker-propaganda that inculcates us early on that debt is an investment, or a manageable life-style, something you “learn to live with”, that there is good-debt versus bad-debt.

Our churches have failed to warn their congregations, happy to see well-dressed families nicely snuggled in highly mortgaged homes, when the Bible unequivocal states: Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)

Our trade unions and community organizations as well as left-leaning electoral parties have similarly failed to educate the people on the dangers of debt, buying into the argument that best-maintained the status-quo for too long — that a certain amount of debt is healthy, even good for the economy, that all ‘conservative’ concerns with debt are nothing but a ploy to limit personal freedom or cut public services. Keep raising that debt-ceiling as long as the money keeps rolling.

And everywhere our politicians have ignored the lessons of history, such as the warning of Canada’s 10th Prime Minster Mackenzie King not to privatize our banks because: “Once a nation parts with the control of its credit, it matters not who makes the laws.” Or the warning of U.S. founding father Thomas Jefferson that “banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies…[if allowed to control the currency] the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Today’s politicians honour these bankers and put them in charge of our economies. Our largest province, Ontario, this year appointed banker Don Drummond to head up a commission to reform “the way government works”, decide how many billions in public services ought to be cut and which services the people can do without.

The Canadian government and mainstream media worship at the altar of Goldman Sachs-man and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, apparently learning nothing from our idolatrous following of the great Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan who puppeteered the world economy into collapse, only to shrug off his “boo-boo” as a simple underestimation of the nature of human greed.

When are we going to see that inviting bankers to run our economies is like welcoming the folks who plundered your town to come in and ‘restore order’ while still collecting the booty?

U.S. state governors are being granted powers to hire “emergency financial managers” to take over communities, fire democratically-elected councils, school and park boards and turn those communities over to corporations to “efficiently” operate and/or sell off for private profit – ignoring the real problem of chronic unemployment and the inhumane placement of the collection of odious debt over human suffering.

Even the birthplace of democracy, Greece, before the recent elections had an EU banker put in charge of its highest office to ram through the economy-crashing, suicide-causing austerity measures that now threaten to bankrupt the country, while their public assets, utilities, coastal and tourist areas are being sold off to colluding corporations. Whatever happened to government of, for and by the people?

What kind of a nation enslaves its young? Our nations. On top of “their share” of the national debt, Canadian students owe $20 billion in student loans and U.S. students owe over $1 trillion – debt owed at interest rates well above prime, apparently due to their “high-risk” status (since everybody knows there aren’t enough jobs for these students to graduate into).

Further enforcing this slavery, the Canadian conservative federal government has introduced legislation to make it obligatory that job-seekers take “any job”, regardless of skill level, pay- level and location or risk being cut-off of the measly benefits the unemployed receive for their mostly blameless suffering. Simultaneously they’re radically speeding up the assembly line that carts temporary foreign workers into the country, adding to Canada’s half-a-million strong pool of cheap foreign labour.

And what of banker responsibility? Why are they allowed to lend money that they don’t have and charge compounded interest for it? In Canada, this interest amounts to $60 billion a year – enough to pay for free education for all as well needed water and waste water infrastructure upgrades for the next century.

Who is holding the bankers accountable? No one. Quebec students and supporters are locked up, Occupy protesters everywhere are herded and jailed and not a single bankster in North America has been held to account. The bill for the extra-policing is, of course, borne by all of us.


There are several things the student unions did right. Most significantly, they finally made real the old labour promise of “drawing a line in the sand”.

For the past quarter century that line has been more fluid than shifting sands. Take away our pay and the line moves back. Take away our pensions and the line moves further back. Take away our jobs and it disappears altogether as it did for the Caterpillar (EMD) workers in London, Ontario this year that despite running a profitable plant were given the ultimatum to slash their wages in half or lose their jobs. Needless to say, they lost their jobs.

These young Quebecois students and their unions have responded differently. Their example is a gold mine of lessons for the labour movement that has for years held uninspiring workshops and brainstorming sessions on how to counter member-apathy and build a social movement.

Rather than seeking to consolidate power, these many small student unions through direct democracy distribute it widely, calling for solidarity and unleashing the creativity, diversity and power of their membership.

Rather than fear mobilization and civil disobedience, they embrace it, winning public support through public protest.

Rather than waiting for the dominant social democratic electoral party (NDP) to support them, the students bang-on regardless of the party’s unbelievable silence.

Rather than do ‘everything-but’ confront power, Quebec’s “red square” revolutionaries went right for it – the government, the banks and the corporations – holding protests against the very system that enslaves them and all of us.

Quebec’s students have set an example of the kind of mobilization it will take to defend our public services, our civil liberties and democracy. Now let’s do our part.

Let’s grab our pots and pan, acknowledge we are all Quebecois, and bang until we are sure that our children will not “wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Diane Kalen-Sukra is a veteran communications professional, community and labour activist. Over the past 20 years, she has coordinated and led countless successful campaigns, most recently, the Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford campaign which defeated the largest proposed water privatization scheme in Canada’s water sector.

Join Diane on Facebook. Follow her @dianekalensukra

Check out the comments section of this post… worth a read too, I think.


It isn’t the rebels that cause the troubles of the world, it’s the troubles that cause the rebels.

from John Prince
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14 Responses to We are all Quebecois (even if we don’t know it yet)

  1. Rick Stratton says:

    Nobody cares about your Quebec riots. That’s what we have the media for. Post about local events and happening. That is what generates interest on your so-called “blog”.
    The revolution you so desire isn’t happening. Period. Life will go on in the ‘Pass.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Rick. This constant rhetoric about revolutions and riots is a waste of time to read. It’s an idealogical thing that bears no actual facts and nothing constructive has or will come from it. Face it, the 60’s are over. Let’s focus on immediate issues in the Crowsnest Pass and forget all this crap about revolutions and uprisings. You do such a good job keeping Council in line and keeping us informed of their doings (or, mis-doings) so perhaps you should focus on and stick with that.

  3. John Prince says:

    I guess being from Saskabush you feel entitled to speak for ‘everybody’ in the ‘Pass, Alberta, the rest of Canada, and the world for that matter, about what they should care about, while also telling me how I should run my blog? Yes, my blog JOHN PRINCE – Telling it like it is. Not RICK STRATTON (if that is even your real name?) – Telling it like it is.

    Well Rick, I’m sorry to inform you that I’ll run my blog the way I see fit and will not be taking advice from those who know not what they say having not even taken the time to read my post, while also following the links within it before commenting. I know this because of your referring to what is taking place as the ‘Quebec riots’, as well as your believe that you are being served by msm.

    If you would have read my post and followed the links there before commenting, I think you would know that for all intents and purposes msm have blacked out, in the rest of Canada, what is really happening in Quebec, and by extension, the rest of the world.

    Anon @ 1:05
    A waste of time, you say? Nothing constructive will come from it, you say? Another one, who obviously never even read my post before commenting, otherwise you would know how wrong you are in what you say. You don’t get hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in Quebec, and even more thousands in the rest of Canada, and the world in support, if this wasn’t more than just spoiled children not wanting to pay more in tuition fees. This is a world-wide problem and event… it’s called a democratic revolution. I know the word ‘revolution’ (def: A forcible overthrow of a government or social order for a new system.) scares some of you people, but that is life. Get over it, and either get on board, or get out of the way.

    btw/ I’ve just posted a notice of an upcoming meeting of the Ratepayers Association here in the Pass that should be more to your and Rick’s liking about local events. Unfortunately, they too (Ratepayers Association) are revolutionaries of a sort.  Maybe you and Rick would like to shut them up to, as what you have tried with me?

    p.s. Thanks for the kudos on my doing “such a good job” on local issues, but “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, my friend, with respect to this blog.


  4. John Prince says:

    Well that’s the corporatist view on education that the liberal class in universities have bought into over the last couple of decades or so with respect to the globalist agenda but it is definitely not the historical view has always been, which is yo shape minds to think, not program them to be nothing more than systems managers. Big difference between what kind of world you want to live in, now isn’t it? Do you want automatons or people who know how to think… for themselves?


  5. Jose says:

    John, in a few hours we will see if the revolution you crave, will indeed have a starting point in North America. That is, who wins the State of Wisconsin recall election of Governor Walker for taking on the unions and cutting government spending and handouts.

    If Governor Walker is re-elected, then the back of the union movement is broken, in favor of controlled government spending — something we all want in the Crowsnest Municipality.

    If Governor Walker is defeated and the unions win, then the proletariat will rise up with new found power, and the social justice you speak of, will occur — until the coffers are empty and then everyone suffers. THEN, you will see the start of your revolution.

    Canada is not immune and the Quebec situation will take on a new direction – not a good one me thinks.


  6. John Prince says:

    Comrade Jose,
    I too am following this closely and believe Republican governors hope the results are favourable for Walker, so that they see this as a green light to further erode the middle class in America for the corporate interests of a dead globalist agenda that is more about greed and power than about controlled government spending.

    In any event, no matter how it goes the end result in my opinion will be more of a ripple than a tidal wave. But, we’ll see?


    p.s. This coming fall will tell the story regarding the Quebec student movement. I think it will be a hot summer, but an even hotter fall, with a strong chance that things could get out of control and lead to who knows what?

  7. Rick Stratton says:

    Saskabush? Whatever gave you the idea that I’m in Saskabush??? I live in Bellevue…..several doors down from you by the corner. Are you ever out a province or 2! I suppose it’s par for the course. You’re out to lunch on everything else. Bye bye for now.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You sure do get angry and mad when someone does not agree with you. I agree with Rick Stratton or whatever his name is; doesn’t matter. Everyone has a right to a point of view and if that is not what your blog is for then maybe you should rethink it. I used to think this blog was informative but not now. Very one-sided.

  9. John Prince says:

    Is that right, hey? Well Anon @7:34 pray do tell us how Rick, Harold or whatever he wants to call himself this week, has ‘enlightened’ us with his two liners, based on nothing more than ignorance and intolerance? Please enlighten us as to what you say? We’re waiting???


  10. Fred Poirier says:

    Hi John,
    Don’t get mad at those meat heads, they just create shit for you, hoping you will give up.
    Re: Anonymous 7:34
    “I used to think this blog was information!! Very one sided.”
    It’s the way it’s supposed to be, meat head. This Blog belongs to John Prince. Start your own, say whatever you want, compete with this one. You don’t have the guts to do that because the blog people would need you name, they can’t use ‘Chicken Shit’ as a name for registery. You are a councillor in hiding with too much baggage to show your face. Maybe you have the same attitude as this guy: http://fred-poirier.blogspot.ca/2012/04/society-act.html#comment-form he is a councillor too.
    Go to your room and close the door form the inside. It would be best for all of us. You don’t provide any useful topics for discussion except watching what John says and how he says it. You’re a lost cause. Want to be informed? Check out this website.

  11. Anonymous says:


    As a québécoise in the midst of this unrest – i had become embittered towards the rest of canada because of the way were abandoned by stephen harper and other federal political party leaders during this crisis & the vitrioloc + hateful + derisive + dismissive anti-québec & anti-student reader comments on various news sites. reading the comments above practically brings tears to my eyes and heals quite a portion of the hurt. love and solidarity, all the way from québec and THANK YOU!

    Hilina Hailu

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