Alternatives joins up with student, labour, community and environmental organizations to challenge bill 78 before the Superior Court.
An alliance of student (FECQ, FEUQ, CLASSE, ASSÉ and TaCEQ), labour (FTQ, CSN, CSQ, CSD, FQPPU, SGPUM, APTS, FIQ, SFPQ, SPGQ and SISP), community (FFQ, CIAFT, ATF and Alternatives) and environmental organizations (AQLPA, Équiterre, Greenpeace, MEUC, the David Suzuki Foundation, Nature Québec) is announcing today that it has filed two suits in Superior Court challenging the special law voted by the government of Quebec. Given the urgent nature of the situation, one is a motion for suspending the application of some provisions of the special law. This is while the motion for declaratory judgement, which aims to have the entire law declared unconstitutional, is still pending.
"This law violates such fundamental rights as freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and freedom of association. Its combination of overly vague penal provisions and overly harsh sentencing requirements also put it in violation of basic judicial safeguards. The aim of this horrible law is to shut down and crack down on the student protest movement and any other groups that wish to make public statements," student and labour spokespersons said.
Undermining the existence and livelihood of student associations
Affected associations also find it deplorable how this law actually aims to undermine the very existence and livelihood of student associations, as the monetary fines and forced subscription cuts are of such magnitude that they imperil these associations and federations' survival. These fines would also prevent them from providing services and assistance to students that need them. For their part, labour organizations are forced to take on duties that are not theirs to assume by requiring them to act as employers to those that they merely represent. Labour unions and education institutions will be forced to ensure that employees perform every single duty linked to their job description and monitor their presence on the job, which is an over-extension of their duties. The government had no qualm in forcing through a repressive, coercive and arbitrary law filled with imprecision and grey areas regarding the consequences on the working conditions in these institutions.
It is out of pure vengeance that the government aims to put down student, labour, community and environmental organizations by limiting their action and association capacities. "It is essential to respect fundamental rights and freedoms and to allow us to exercise them without restrictions. Just as it has ever since the beginning of the tuition fees conflict, the government, by voting this vague and inapplicable law, demonstrates yet again its incompetence and unwillingness to find solutions to the conflict that would respect citizens' rights."
It must be noted that the government voted Bill 78 into law, under exceptional legislative procedure, on Friday, May 18. The act, known as An Act to enable students to receive instruction from the postsecondary institutions they attend, is proof of the executive's will to govern through repression rather than negotiation.
Groups joining in the motions:
Student associations: the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ), the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ), the Coalition large de l'ASSÉ (CLASSE), the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ) and the Table de concertation étudiante du Québec (TaCEQ).
Labor unions: the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD), the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université (FQPPU), the Syndicat général des professeurs et professeures de l'Université de Montréal (SGPUM), the Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS), the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), the Syndicat de la fonction publique du Québec (SFPQ), the Syndicat des professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ) and the Secrétariat intersyndical des services publics (SISP).
Community organizations: The Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ), the Conseil d'intervention pour l'accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT), Action Travail des Femmes (ATF), Alternatives.
Environmental organizations: the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA), Équiterre, Greenpeace, the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre (MUEC), the David Suzuki Foundation and Nature Québec.