By Peter Rakobowchuk, The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press
MONTREAL – Quebec’s student protesters have a new celebrity critic — and he’s firing away on all cylinders.
Jacques Villeneuve, the Quebec-born car-racing champion, is upset at a protest movement that has gone on for months and is now promising to turn up at Formula One Grand Prix events in Montreal all weekend.
In a five-minute exchange with reporters Thursday, Villeneuve urged the protesters to go back to school.
He suggested they were lazy. He called them an embarrassment to Canada — especially to Quebec. He suggested they were badly raised, by parents who never learned to say, ‘No.’
And he said they risked scaring away tourists and wealthy taxpayers, who would just pick up and invest elsewhere in a more stable climate.
The student protest movement has received the enthusiastic endorsement of many Quebec celebrities and near-unanimous support from the artistic community. But the Quebec-born, Monaco-raised driver just might have become the most famous, most virulent new critic of the movement.
“It’s time for people to wake up and stop loafing about. It’s lasted long enough,” Villeneuve told reporters at a cocktail benefit that kicked off the four-day Grand Prix festivities.
“We heard them. We listened. They should stop. It’s costing the city a fortune. It makes no sense.”
As for their parents, Villeneuve said: “I think these people grew up without ever hearing their parents ever tell them, ‘No.’ So that’s what you see in the streets now. People spending their time complaining. It’s becoming a little bit ridiculous. They spoke, we heard, and now it’s time to go back to school.”
He said that in a democracy, people can vote to turf governments, and speak their mind between elections to make themselves heard — but they have to know when to give it a rest.
“That’s what democracy is. We vote for people — and if you’re not happy, then you vote for other people the next time around. And if you’re not happy you complain, they listen, and that’s it,” he said.
“Same with your parents: ‘Daddy, mommy, I don’t like this.’ Well, go back to bed now.” Villeneuve said he was raised to believe in hard work, and not imagine money will fall from the sky.
He also compared the students to the London rioters last year and said they were “rebels without a cause.”
In the end, he said, the students are hurting themselves because they’re pushing for things that aren’t fiscally sustainable — and they’ll end up paying one day. Unfortunately, he said, if they keep it up there will be less taxpayers around to help foot the bill.
“And where does the government get the money? From taxes, from selling stuff. The next thing they will say is, ‘Well, take it from the rich,’” he said.
“And that’s when you have the rich moving to another country.”
The student protesters dismiss the idea that taxes would need to be raised to freeze or eliminate tuition — which represents only a tiny fraction of the provincial budget and pales in comparison to the money spent on corporate subsidies.
Scores of protesters demonstrated outside the cocktail event Villeneuve was attending, in the company of other racing figures and celebrities. It was a glitzy $1,000-a-plate fundraiser, with proceeds going to a local children’s hospital. Some protesters have promised to disrupt events throughout the Grand Prix weekend and even jam the metro leading to the race track on Sunday.
Villeneuve, 41, won the 1997 Formula One world championship and received the adulation of local sports fans who feted his success with a roaring celebration before a Montreal Canadiens game. After several difficult seasons he left Formula One in 2005 and has since raced on other circuits.
-With files by Alexander Panetta
This photo would be more appropriate if there were train tracks near here, and there are, not far off but one doesn’t really go walking on the tracks because they are busy all day long.
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There have been marches every night here in the city. The cops are getting creative with their “Kettling” of the crowds, and though other police forces in other cities have been cited for using this drastic tactic, Montreal police are fearing for their lives on a nightly basis.
Hundreds were arrested last night after a Kettling, and even innocent passersby have been getting caught up in the dragnet. We are told that talks will resume and that they really need to reach consensus, and they need to do it now.
The Grand Prix is starting to suffer as groups have begun to cancel their appearances here because they fear for their lives and the well being of the cars and those who would be coming.
Festival season is just days away now and students are holding the city hostage and the Premier is shuffling his cabinet in the attempt to bring fresh eyes and ideas into the mix to try and end this conflict with students.
The protests have morphed into what is called Casseroling. People sit on their balconies and on street corners banging pots and pans in civil disobedience to voice their displeasure with Bill 78.
Social media is firing all these protests in our city, and even though I support the students, something has to give and it better give soon.
We don’t venture out into the neighborhood very often and we sure as shit don’t travel to the East end or the village because that is where all the nightly troubles start. Marchers are fucking with the city by marching up and down streets Against traffic which creates nightmares for pedestrians and drivers and buses.
They marched against traffic down Ste. Catherine’s Street earlier today which stopped traffic for hours while cops drove behind them the wrong way all the way to Westmount.
I don’t see an end in sight and this needs to end because if it doesn’t the summer tourism season will be heavily affected and the city will loose big because tourism is a huge draw during the summer with the Grand Prix, The Fireworks Festival, the Jazz Fest, Just for Laughs, and on and on …
If students are marching in the streets blocking traffic, fucking with the Metro, blocking bridges and streets en masse, how are we supposed to go on with our lives – it’s not only the tourists who are loosing, it is Montrealer’s just as well.
We will keep you posted …
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It has been a quiet couple of days. I had lunch with my mentor yesterday and we chatted about a great many things. Lots of ideas are on the table but nothing looks really good at the moment. I’ve been told by more than one sober person that I should wait to see what presents itself and not to rush to do anything big just yet. I’ve been making a list of “Things to do or Things I would like to do.”
And all these things involve other people and all of those people are out living their lives and doing their jobs and ministering to their folks. How do you go about asking someone to devote some time to you when it seems that their plates are full already? Time is precious and I don’t want to waste someones time or be a burden on them or their community.
All my EBAY items for sale will end tomorrow. Which means I will have to cart those boxes downstairs for pricing and shipping again. I contacted all the bidders to get some information from them and I am waiting on them to respond. It’s all about timing right now.
I was sitting on the balcony earlier today and the sun was shining and dark clouds closed in from the South Shore and it poured down rain just before I was getting ready to head out for a meeting. And glad that I arrived when I did to see arching over the sky from one end of the sky to the other was a huge bright and beautiful rainbow – I took photos of it with my phone. It was the first time in recent memory that I have seen a rainbow that big in the sky.
Not a bad photo !!! Courtesy of Android HTC Hero.
The speaker at tonight’s meeting talked about God, and his conscious contact and how God had moved in his life. All the stories are somewhat the same. We came, we drank, we couldn’t stop things get ugly and only finding God as a result of working the steps, does one finally get sober.
A friend of mine asks the questions …
How much recovery is enough? My answer to this question is another question…. how much is there?
Our man has been part of the program for more than 25 years. But he dabbled, drank and drugged in sobriety. So how much is enough? I don’t think we ever get “enough” but we have to come each day and fill our cups with living water, hope and serenity. It isn’t enough to stop drinking – but a constant daily necessity of getting what we need as we need it.
It was a good meeting. Here is today’s reflection…
Happy, Joyous, and Free
We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence.
Alcoholics Anonymous P.133
No matter how bad it gets (Grasshopper) there is always a solution. It may take some time – but we will find the solution. Just don’t drink. One day at a time.
That’s all for tonight.
The Premier and the legislature in Quebec City tabled a new law, Bill 78. The debate lasted all night Thursday night and into Friday evening. And because of the Liberal Majority, the bill passed and became law.
- The school year has been shut down, in opt for a return in August to give protesters time to relax and regroup and calm down.
- There is a ban on numbers of protesters that can gather to protest (sounds like Professor Umbridge is running things in Quebec City).
- Student groups larger than 50 people are banned ( A very Snape move)
- Here in Montreal, masks have been outlawed for all protestors.
- Steep fines will be imposed on students who protest($1,000 to $5,000 for individuals), and even steeper fines upwards of $125,000 for student unions who support such protests or protestors.
- This is all set to allow student access to class and to keep protestors from blocking or picketing campuses and classrooms.
This is all supposed to STOP the nightly protest marches. Well, that did not go over very well here in Montreal tonight as Tens of Thousands of students marched in the streets once again tonight, tossing bottles, rocks and Molotov cocktails at police which deemed the protest illegal.
A group of protestors marched from our end of town through the core to the east end of the city with at least twenty cop cars following them from behind.
With the summer festival season upon us the first big week up first is the Grand Prix of Montreal. This multi- million dollar event will bring much needed tourism and money to the city come the beginning of June, and all we need is some nasty marchers to disrupt the party from within.
These nightly marches are steeped in more than just protests against tuition being raised over the next five years and I don’t begin to know all the facets of all of what is going on. But all this violence needs to be stopped.
Montrealer’s want their city back. Over the last 14 weeks, one never knows where one can go safely because of nightly marches from one end of the city to another. And because of the violent aspect of these demonstrations, the downtown core has been hit very hard and it is time for us to take back our streets once and for all.
All this blocking of schools, stoppage of traffic, blocking of tunnels, bridges and the metro system, we have all had enough. If these kids keep it up, they are going to pay in huge ways after tonight. It has been said by some on television that these kids are not fully thinking through their actions, because once you get arrested and it goes on your record, the rest of your life is fucked.
They say that this has been the darkest day in Quebec in recent memory, when the government passed draconian laws to stop the protestors and bring order to the city. Student groups and as well, groups in the National Assembly are up in arms and students vow to break the law until they end the new law legally or the government concedes to the wishes and negotiations of student groups.
It does not bode well for Montreal. But it remains to be seen just how much force will be meted out for protestors come the weekend. 14 weeks of protests have not abated in any way and today’s law passage has only fired up the base into furious responses. Students are mad as hell, and they aren’t going to take what the Premier has set down for them.
So it will be a battle of wills here – may the best man win.
This also does not bode well for the Premier with a looming election coming not far off into the future. Charest may have dealt his death blow to the province of Quebec in Bill 78 to cull the protests at their heart, but he may loose big when the next election is called. Students vote and tonight they made their voices clear, they will remember tonight come the next election.
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Nothing else exciting is going on here. I hit St. Matthias last night and it was an ok meeting, but I zoned out halfway through the speaker. Another old timer, gone slipping story. They are coming a dime a dozen lately.
I got all my grades for the semester and I aced all my finals. I also aced my final paper on Colony Collapse Syndrome for Geography and it got a great review. So the grades are in, I am finished for the term. No more writing papers or going to class… YAY !!!
It is the weekend. We’ll see what happens and if we partake in weekend events in the city. Say a prayer for us, we sure need it right now.
Goodnight from Montreal.
McGill Metro Station – Green Line – Montreal
The Mayor is pissed, the Premier is pissed and Montrealer’s are getting pissed as well. Who’s to blame for this action today? Nobody is sure. But these kids are adamant and just hitting their stride. This could go on for months. I’ve seen marches like this before, and once a movement gets galvanized, there is little that they can do about it unless the authorities get drastic and the government moves its ass and changes their tune …
The summer festivals will begin soon and the city doesn’t want this taint on our city, nor do we residents. Somethings got to give, and give soon, or else Montreal is at the mercy of the angry student movement.
Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay is urging people to “take back their city” after a series of smoke bombs paralyzed the public metro system, sending the island’s transit service into chaos at the peak of rush hour.
“No cause, legitimate or not, can justify any criminal action that jeopardizes public security,” a livid-looking Tremblay told reporters at a news conference.
Although the attacks haven’t been directly linked to ongoing student protests, Tremblay also urged students and politicians to get back to the negotiating table to settle their tuition dispute, and restore civil order.