The Law 78 of 2012 (le Loi 78 de 2012, also known as Lois Quebecois 2012 chapitre 12 or LQ 2012 c 12) is a Quebec “emergency” law that was passed on May 18, 2012 in the National Assembly of Quebec to stop the 100-plus-day-long student demonstrations throughout Quebec. The law restricts freedom of assembly, protest, or picketing on or near university grounds, and anywhere in Quebec without prior police approval. The law also places restrictions upon education employees right to strike. Bill 78 was drafted by members of the Quebec Liberal Party, introduced by Education MinisterMichelle Courchesne, and passed with the support of the Coalition Avenir Québec party in response to ongoing student protests over proposed tuition increases.
Our comrades in Montreal writes:
On May 18, the Liberal government in Quebec instituted legislation that amounts to the single biggest attack on the right to organize and freedom of expression in North America since the McCarthy period and the biggest attack on civil and democratic rights since the enactment of the War Measures Act in 1970.
While the National Assembly was in an all-night session to pass Law 78, Fierté Montreal Pride was hosting a $100/plate gala dinner, which honoured two Liberal cabinet ministers for their contributions to defending the rights of LGBTA people.
The Fierte is the “official” corporate Pride event of Montreal.
– We believe that civil liberties and democratic rights are indivisible from a vision of LGBT rights.
– We believe that mass arrests and increased police powers put our communities at unacceptable levels of risk that should not be tolerated let alone celebrated.
– We believe that student associations and unions have everywhere been amongst the first and most steadfast friends of the LGBT movement and that we must stand by them in this unprecedented attack on their right to organize and associate.
– We believe that Law 78 would have outlawed the first pride celebrations. It would have criminalized Stonewall. It would have pre-emptively arrested the Sex Garage protests. It is an affront to our history.
– We believe that at this time when Quebecers are coming together as communities to say NO to this law, our community should be at the forefront.
We therefore call on Fierté Montreal Pride, in a spirit of solidarity, to:
1. Publicly revoke the awards given to Ministers Fournier and Weil. Members of the National Assembly who supported this draconian legislation have no place of honour in our community.
2. Support the legal challenge to Law 78. At a time when over 2500 people have been arrested, we call on you to use your significant fundraising capabilities and the money raised from the awards gala towards the legal challenge of the law and its collateral damages.
3. Name les carrés rouges to lead the pride parade. The theme of this year’s parade is ‘Our Flag, Our Pride,’ so let’s put red at the head of the rainbow. As the movement that has been at the forefront of this battle for dignity, it deserves this honour.
See also article “When Pride turns to vanity” in Forget The Box.
- Quebec: Statement of solidarity from Chilean academics and students (crofsblogs.typepad.com)
- Quebec’s largest student group vows defiance of emergency law – Globe and Mail (theglobeandmail.com)
- Quebec student protests: legal challenge to Bill 78 delayed to Friday (canada.com)