Resisting Bill 78 in 15 Points
By Daniel Weinstock
Faced with the recent darkness descending upon Québec, I thought it my duty to try to sum up as simply as possible the reasons that make me think that we must resist Bill 78.
1. Individual rights are a fundamental institutional defence protecting citizens from abuses of State power.
2. Even democratically elected representatives can abuse their powers.
3. In a democracy, the rights of association, expression, and protest are utterly fundamental.
4. It must be recognized that all citizens have these rights, especially those who, in a mode that respects democratic and liberal norms, hold points of view that are dissident and unpopular.
5. The fundamental character of these rights requires that they not be circumscribed or limited, except with great parsimony.
6. The present situation in Québec does not call for the sort of draconian limitations that have been imposed by the Liberal government in the form of its odious and shameful Bill 78. By its refusal to democratically engage with the student movement, the government has contributed to the degradation of the social climate. The disturbances that have made themselves felt in this climate, caused in part by the government, can be handled by existing legal institutions, including the criminal code.
7. Whether you agree with them or not on the question of the tuition fee hike, the students’ questions are legitimate and deserve a respectful response.