OTTAWA, May 18, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of University
Teachers is strongly condemning Quebec's Bill 78, the law tabled in
Quebec to end the 14-week student strike, for violating fundamental
freedoms of association, assembly, and expression.
"This special law is a terrible act of mass repression," said James L.
Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University
Teachers. "The Quebec government has opted to exert the heavy hand of
the law as a weapon to suppress dissent."
Bill 78 makes it illegal to engage in peaceful assembly, a fundamental
freedom guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The law limits assemblies of 10 or more people, allows the government to
defund student associations, imposes hefty fines on student
demonstrators, and forces employees back to work. The law especially
targets leaders of student associations who could be individually fined
up to $35,000 for continuing to demonstrate contrary to the law. For
participating in a second demonstration, the fine doubles. For a
student association supporting a demonstration, the initial fine is up
to $125,000 and doubles to $250,000 for a second offense.
The bill changes the law for class actions so that student and other
supportive associations can be more easily sued. It also reverses the
burden of proof so that student associations, faculty associations and
unions are liable for any damage caused by a third party in a
demonstration unless they can prove that the damage was unrelated to
As well, the bill criminalizes anyone expressing support for
demonstrations that are contrary to the bill - subjecting any
individual Canadian to fines of up to $5,000, organizational
representatives to fines of $35,000 and their organizations to fines of
Already, the bill has received strong criticism from the Quebec Bar
Association, student groups, labour organizations, and civil liberties
"Now, more than ever, the rest of Canada needs to be pinning on a red
felt square showing their support for the students of Quebec and for
civil liberties," said Turk. "Bill 78 needs to be defeated in the name
of democracy or the rest of Canada should be joining the students on
The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice of
more than 68,000 academic and general staff in more than 120
universities and colleges.
SOURCE Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)
For further information:
James Turk, executive director, (o) 613-726-5176 (c) 613-277-0488