Protesters crossed the line

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Enough. Quebec’s university students have made their point loud and clear: they don’t want tuition to go up. Some of them think they shouldn’t be paying tuition, period.

We get it. And we understand the vital role dissent and protest play in a democratic nation. It would be nice if we could make ourselves heard by ballot box alone, but sometimes our elected officials need their feet held to the fire a little more. So we tolerate inconvenience, even if we don’t agree with the cause. A small price to pay for a vibrant, free culture.

But intimidation, vandalism and physical confrontation are not part of that democratic tradition. They’re the instruments of revolutionaries, albeit in this case coddled revolutionaries playing at rebellion – while harboring fantasies of socialist utopia, perhaps.

It would be laughable if it weren’t so obnoxious. These privileged young people – future professionals living in one of the world’s richest countries, with nearly the lowest tuition rates on the continent – don’t even have the courage of their convictions. While revolutionaries in countries with failed and corrupt institutions engage in life-and-death conflicts with armies and spies, this petty cadre of upstarts bullies students and faculty at Universite du Quebec a Montreal.

Protesters don’t get to disrupt university lectures, intimidate Canadian citizens or destroy private property.

The reason a socialist “paradise” has never been created in a modern first world nation is because, guess what, we’ve got it pretty good. Yes, there are failures, and life can be terrible for those who slip through the cracks. But capitalism has gotten the broad strokes right.

And having to pay for a university education is reasonable.

Taxpayers already bear the lion’s share of the bill for every post-secondary student in the country. And Quebec’s students have enjoyed the lowest tuition in the country – by far! – for ages. Even with proposed increases, their rate will be low.

So have parades and beat drums. But if the line is crossed, understand this: would-be revolutionaries should be treated as combatants bent on subverting democracy. The legal hammer should drop on those who would get by force what they can’t get through dialogue. 

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