The student protests roiling through the streets of Montreal are not about spoiled young people who want something for nothing. They are about a generation who know they are paying the price for their parents' folly. And the protests stretch far beyond the old streets of Ville Marie.
In Greece and Spain youth unemployment is 50%. In Canada it is 14% -- twice the national average. And Stephen Harper has just informed the young that, if and when they do find jobs, they will have to work until they're 67 -- unlike their parents who get off the bus at 65.
No wonder then that the kids in the streets of Montreal are talking about more than just student tuitions. It has gone way beyond that. Graeme Hamilton reports in The National Post:
So it was somewhat jarring halfway through the march to hear, in English, “1-2-3-4, this is f—ing class war, 5-6-7-8, organize to smash the state.” Rachèle Gagné, a 20-year-old political science student at UQAM, explained that the words she and her friends were chanting used a little poetic license. “Not literally smash the state,” she said. “But this has become more than a student fight, it is a fight against the government and the state.”
Stephen Harper was nine years old when student riots in Paris almost brought down the French government. That was the same year that violent clashes between the police and young people disrupted the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Mr. Harper demonstrated this week that his knowledge of history -- Canadian, economic or otherwise -- is jejune. If he knew anything about history, he would know that the angry young can bring governments down.