Bill 78 - Quebec Employers Council President offers comments

MONTREAL, May 18, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Responding to requests for interviews this morning concerning emergency bill 78, An Act to enable students to receive instruction from the postsecondary institutions they attend, the president of the Quebec Employers Council, Yves-Thomas Dorval, made the following comments:

"Bill 78 is the Government of Quebec's attempt to resolve four major issues currently confronting Quebec:

  • To end the unbearable situation concerning access to educational establishments by students who wish to attend classes, a situation of concern both to the students and staff of the establishments in question;
  • To institute a time-out to restore calm by suspending the session until August, unless a local agreement is reached between the parties concerned;
  • To reassure the students affected and their parents especially by identifying special academic alternatives that will mitigate the impact on students who wish to pursue their studies;
  • To restore social peace and order in public places where situations have grown out of hand by enhancing the effectiveness of police work.

"To do so, the Government's bill provides various means that appear to meet needs for addressing academic concerns. Regarding the scope of means deployed on issues of social peace, the Quebec Employers Council does not claim to have the expertise to offer an opinion, and prefers to leave it to parliamentarians, constitutional experts and the legal system to strike a fair balance between the basic right to freedom of speech and the equally basic right to live in secure surroundings.

"Without a doubt, given the failure to comply with court orders issued in the past few weeks, the bill will have to include measures strong enough to achieve this objective in order to serve as a deterrent. This is especially true since certain cells will persist in a strategy designed to create and sustain chaos and intimidation despite the potential good intentions of the parties involved. It is not our place to judge the merits of the legislative measures proposed in this regard.

"In closing, however, what this bill does not provide is a format or a framework for constructive dialogue to find a way out of the crisis for the good of society in general. The Government commented yesterday that it intends to keep the lines of communication open, and some student representatives said they were willing to discuss concrete solutions and make a personal commitment to having them ratified. It is now up to all of the parties involved to find some means of creating a relevant and essential dialogue to put an end to the conflict once and for all, bearing in mind that unanimous support for the solutions devised is unlikely."

In this regard, the Quebec Employers Council, which firmly believes in the good of social dialogue, has offered its collaboration as needed.

A coalition of several of the largest companies in Quebec, the Quebec Employers Council also includes the vast majority of sectorial employer associations, making it the only employer confederation in Québec.

For further information:

and interviews: 

Patrick Lemieux
Advisor - Communications
Cell. : 438 886 9804