Friday, 21 March 2008

Growing Protests in Canada

Most predictions are that protests will increase in the coming years in Canada and North America as the demographic shift of power from the retiring baby boomers to the millennial generation causes structural tensions in all sectors of society. For example, many university faculty members are increasingly concerned about the administrative change to favour contractual labour and sessional positions as retirements increase, versus the more permanent positions of tenured jobs. Along with that dominant issue are the other pressures of increased class sizes, and more expectations for publication and committee work being linked with those contracts. On the student side of the issue are increases to tuition fees, decreasing quality of education and higher student debt.

We are most likely starting to see the beginning of these structural tensions spilling into formalized protests from examples such as the following:

1) University of Toronto non-violent student sit-in over new 20% tuition fee hikes that captured the police violently removing students from outside the President’s office on campus (today):

2) York University Sweat Shop Policy sit in that was peaceful and successful:

3) York University protest over the Iraq war in 2005 that similarly captured police violently removing students from Vari Hall on video tape, and led to two students being sent to hospital:

Perhaps surprisingly, no large student groups at Ryerson have organized around the Chris Avenir case in a similar way, but this might best be explained by the fact that Ryerson student groups are still developing at the relatively young university.

Beyond student groups, one of the main issues in North America that we may see more protests developing around concerns the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) that the Infoscape Lab has found to be growing in the Blogosphere and on YouTube:

1) A media mash up by a Vlogger concerning the SPP that has become highly watched on YouTube can be found here:

2) Compare that story to CNN’s coverage of the same SPP story:

3) The Montebello Summit Protest and the use of Miami Police Tactics:

4) NAFTA-gate with Obama and Clinton:

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