Beyond the Headlines

Nova Scotia support for striking Quebec students

Posted: May 23, 2012 12:33 PM ET Last Updated: May 23, 2012 12:33 PM ET

Spoiled brats or social activists? The students protesting tuition hikes in Quebec have been called both.
To many watching from outside the province the intensity of the student strike is difficult to comprehend. Skyrocketing tuition rates have been a fact of life for most Canadian students, with Nova Scotia leading the pack, while their Quebec counterparts have enjoyed the lowest rates in the country.
Inside Quebec, they've been labelled by some as lawless thugs, clashing with police amid accusations they have used intimidation tactics to keep other students from returning to class.
But they have their supporters as well. Trade unions, university professors, artists and celebrities have all endorsed the movement. Just last weekend, the Montreal-based band Arcade Fire showed their support by wearing the students red patch while performing with Mick Jagger on Saturday Night Live.
You can add the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council to that list. The council has already passed a resolution of support. It has brought in those red squares to distribute to its members. Now, if president Kyle Buott gets his way, the 25,000 union members of the council will soon be sending financial support as well.
Buott says a resolution to send money to the students in Quebec will be on the agenda of their next meeting, and he will be voting to write them a cheque.
Buott believes the students are in the right.

"They are standing up for accessible post-secondary education for everyone", says Boutt.
"Education is a right", says Buott, "they should be giving them opportunities to get an education, not taking them away".
Hard to disagree with that sentiment, but you have to wonder what the rank and file will say if their leaders decide to send some of their hard earned money to support the striking students in Quebec, while they struggle to come up with the tuition, at twice the cost, for their sons and daughters here at home.
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About the Author

Brian DuBreuil is a veteran journalist with CBC News. He has won two Gemini awards for his work, and neither involved dancing or singing on a reality show.

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