Tag Archives | Quebec

Street Politics And The Quebec Student Movement

A short dissection of the great success recently achieved by the student protest movement in Quebec:

For over 4 months, students and their allies, took over the streets of Montreal every day, to protest a tuition hike imposed by the liberal party in Quebec.

On September 21st, the newly elected Premier of Quebec scrapped the tuition hike and repealed a controversial law that effectively banned public demonstrations.

While this is being touted as a victory by many in the student movement, one element that made this success possible is already being overshadowed. How the the movement’s militant street politics transformed the student strike from a single issue campaign to an uncompromising social insurrection.

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Quebec Students Protest Against Austerity

QuebecKaren Seidman and Kevin Dougherty write on the Montreal Gazette:

Attempts to have any kind of normalcy on the campus of the Universite de Montreal in the wake of an ongoing student strike completely unravelled on Wednesday after the administration was forced to retreat on its efforts to provide classes in striking departments for students who don’t support the boycott.

Tensions were high not just at U de M, but on many Quebec campuses, where there were clashes as students resisted hardline tactics to try to force them back to class during the tenth week of their protest over tuition increases of $1,625 over five years.

Injunctions taken by university administrations backfired as students found increasingly violent and disruptive ways to ensure campus activities could not resume, such as broken windows, vandalized art work and fire alarms going off during exams at U de M.

And, as many different groups involved in the dispute called on each other to condemn the growing use of violence and vandalism, it became clear that efforts at mediation could provoke militancy…

Read More: Montreal GazetteRead the rest

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So You Think You Can Laugh? ‘Laughology’ Inspires First-Ever Laughter Championship

LaughologyContestants and their fans will converge in Montreal on October 27, 2010 for the first ever laughter competition — Le Grand Championnat de Rire de Montreal. Comedy contests are common, however this will be the world’s first televised laughing contest. The contest was inspired by my documentary Laughology, currently distributed by The Disinformation Company, in which I demonstrate that people can laugh spontaneously by using various “active laughter” techniques.

Contestants across Quebec will compete in diabolical laughter competitions, contagious laughter face-offs, and competitive laughter duels to see who will be crowned the “Best Laugher in Quebec.” The show is a pilot for an eventual international laughter competition to demonstrate that laughter could itself be a competitive sport.

The Championnat is a based on the revolutionary concept that because laughter is contagious: laughing makes people laugh. It involves games designed to produce natural contagious laughter. The whole event is also being filmed for Rire Extreme, a documentary for CANAL D. I got the idea for my documentary Laughology after meeting Doug Collins, an American who is said to have the most contagious laugh in the world:

I believe that because of Quebec’s tradition of Joie de Vivre and Quebec may have laughers who are as good or better than Collins. This summer Laughter contests where held at major Quebec festivals, including le Festival du Grand Rire in Quebec, The Western Festival of St. Tite and le Festival de Poutine du Drummonville. The winners of those contests have been invited to the Championnat which takes place at in Montreal in a special ring.

We really found some extraordinary laughers. I’m afraid to imagine what happens when we get them all in the same room. I hope that the idea of a laughter competition is to spread the positive, healthy emotions of laughter. And I’m trying to prove that laughter could be a competitive sport.

Contestants are coming from around Quebec however, we have left one spot open for one last great laugher. Auditions will be held on Oct 27th at Salla Rossa at 5 p.m. Please email hey@laughology.info. to be put on the list.

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