Kinsman: Are the Quebec riots a manifestation of the global Occupy movement?

By: /
June 4, 2012
Jeremy Kinsman
Former ambassador to the European Union and high commissioner to Britain

The Quebec riots might be more meaningful if they were a manifestation of a larger and more significant cause. While there’s no doubt a fairly high amount of shared DNA, the two movements are conceptually quite different, Michael Moore’s support notwithstanding. The OWS movement is big picture, aimed at the state of privilege of the “1%” over the “99%. It succeeded in inspiring millions but has been deemed ineffective because it avoided specific goals and shunned leadership. The Quebec students are about narrow self-entitlement. Militant leaders press for the very specific goal of preventing trivial hikes in personal tuition costs that are ludicrously low. If this movement more broadly contested a post-secondary public education system in Quebec that is sub-standard in world terms, they would make more sense, but they would have to acknowledge that under-financing is a big part of the problem. Simply claiming that education should be free because Quebec is “different,” is to show off how parochial a bubble they inhabit.