As Formula One racing expands around the globe, we've come to expect certain potential disruptions. Demonstrators in Bahrain scuttled last year's grand prix there, and nearly did the same again this year. Violent crime in Brazil has caused some issues at that country's F1 race as well. And over in the rally raid column, threats from al-Qaeda forced the Dakar Rally to move from North Africa to South America. But in Canada? Peaceful, non-threatening Canada?

That's the issue that racers and fans alike could be facing next week as Montreal gears up for the Canadian Grand Prix. You see, F1 racing isn't the only thing taking to the streets of Montreal this summer, as student protests have plagued the city's downtown core in particular. The protests are over proposed tuition hikes for universities in the province of Quebec, sending Montreal's notoriously militant student activists into the streets banging pots and pans, refusing to go back to class and clashing with local police.

The issue has pitted the students against the provincial government and wreaked havoc on businesses in the city's downtown area, but could threaten one of its biggest tourism draws as activists have issued calls to disrupt the grand prix next week. The threat leaves premier Jean Charest, leader of the provincial government that has traditionally enjoyed strong backing from business leaders, in a difficult bargaining position: either give in to the protestors or wait and see what they do when the tourists pour into town for the grand prix.


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  • 41 Comments
      donjonh11
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, the amount of near sighted ignorance is mind boggling! Doesnt anybody know that the current protests have nothing to do with tuition hikes anymore. I live in Ontario and seem to understand this better than most people that post on here. It's about the government implementing reactionary measures aimed at stifling protest and silence the people. This backfired on them because now its not just the students protesting, it's everyone! And if those that say they pay more for tuition already, well too bad for you! Maybe you should have stood up when tuition became too expensive. Quebec is already way more taxed than any other province (and/or state in the US). There comes s time to say enough. I'm proud that finally a people had the guts to stand up to the governments (municipal AND provincial). But please before writing inane comments about the French, maybe you should inform yourselves a bit better. More expensive education does not mean smarter people clearly.....
        Rob J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @donjonh11
        This. In 2002 the tuition freeze in BC was lifted and the price of going to school skyrocketed. I wish there was more resistance at the time so that when I was in school, I didn't have to deal with the doubling of tuition in a period of 3 years. Keeping up with inflation is fine, but universities in Canada are public institutions and should be primarily funded by public funds.
      themanwithsauce
      • 2 Years Ago
      I get why Bahrain was protested, their government used it to actively say that "everything is fine!" and was an outright slap in the face. It was being used as a political maneuver instead of just being about the race. But I don't think the canadian government is going on about how "Our formula one race will show the world that all canadians are united as one and we are all happy and loving it here in canada!" so I don't think a protest will happen. If it does, well screw them this is much more of a global event than a canadian event. I hate to agree with dictator ecclestone but he is right in that these races shouldn't be about politics or disputes. It's a bunch of sponsored cars driving very fast for our entertainment.
      k_m94
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a Canadian student about to go to a (definitely NON Quebec) university, I can honestly say that these students can go f*** themselves. My friend is going to go to Mcgill university in Montreal, and found out that all students coming from Quebec going to a Quebec university themselves pay exactly HALF the tuition that the rest of Canada pays for the same course. HALF. He is going to pay $6 grand a year for tuition for life sciences, they pay $3k. Yet these crazy French idiots have the audacity to riot like their life depends on it in order to have further discounted costs. Maybe we should have let Quebec separatists have their way and break off from the rest of Canada, because they are only really a source of embarrassment for the rest of us Canadians. And the Canadian Grand Prix should be held in downtown Toronto, like one of the Indy car races were held. That way, I can have the chance to see a grand prix live, on my doorstep:). Just ignore the fact that last year (or 2010?), Torontonians were going apeshit crazy with the G20 protesters and subsequent police brutality. Maybe a nice, well located, major city like Ottawa, or Vancouver (ignoring the hockey riot thing). Canucks can be crazy.
        jvshenderson
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        $6K per year sounds pretty good to me. I'm currently borrowing $50K per year to attend an American university...
          Bobby_Sards
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jvshenderson
          exactly. I went to McMaster university and paid ~$8500/year (i feel awful for american students) i just spent $600(hotel) + $1500 (pair of tickets), these students better not **** this up. Are they stupid? Between increased police, and defense programs these students are costing the city more than they're bargaining for **** you quebec, the world hates you, and you're a disgrace to our Country
          k_m94
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jvshenderson
          $6k tuition, plus res, books, etc is probably closer to $15k. And engineering is $9-11k, meaning I might be at $22k per year starting September. More, but nothing compared to what you have to shell out.
        Pat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        As a Québec resident I can honestly say that you're not welcomed!
        mcheddadi
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        I'm from Quebec and I find it amazing that you consider us the be an embarrassment for the rest of the country. you don't realize that Canada cannot afford to lose us. if it did, it would have done so a long time ago. you are nothing more than a jealous hater. enjoy your expensive tuition fees! Too bad no one outside of Quebec had balls to stand up for you guys and keep the costs low.
          k_m94
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mcheddadi
          Oh, I dont personally have a problem, but the history books dont lie (usually). Generally you Quebeqois give Canada a bad name, the number of times you hear the stories of someone coming to Canada (Quebec) from Europe, and come back thinking the entire country's full of French ********. Now I dont know you personally, but you seem like a whiny bitch based off of this post, so thanks for fulfilling the stereotype. If Canada was Hogwarts, Quebec would be Slytherin. Doesnt play nice with the others, always trying to cause ****, and thinks they are superior for some unfounded reason. Au Revoir to you!
          Marc Swankhuizen
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mcheddadi
          I don't understand how my comment was in any way selfish. I believe that any Quebecois who indulges in and supports their special treatment are the selfish ones. You embarrass the French Canadians in the rest of the country
          mcheddadi
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mcheddadi
          @Marc Swankhuizen inferiority complex much? we're not going to lower our standards because you want too. its for the good of all our childrens. It doesn't even really affect me since I have enough money to study overseas, But I can understand the bigger picture here, and I totally support the cause of these students. must suck to be all alone thinking only about your little self
          Marc Swankhuizen
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mcheddadi
          Oh i believe it's you that can't afford to lose us. You whiners pay less for post secondary than the rest of our country to begin with and you flip your lid about a few hundred bucks in fees? Why don't you suck it the eff up and BE CANADIAN like the rest of us instead of always having to be separate and slightly more equal. If Quebec had seceded from Canada fifteen years ago you guys would be a third world country by now
          k_m94
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mcheddadi
          And the only reasons Canada doesnt want to separate Quebec is likely because you reel in a good amount of taxes (2nd most populous province) and we dont want a giant gaping hole in our country, or need a passport to drive to New Brunswick for vacation.
      mxrz
      • 2 Years Ago
      These Quebeckers are an embarrassment to Canada and to the Anglophone community in Quebec, because none of the English students from English universities are involved, they simply know better. Their tuition, even with the hikes, is the lowest in Canada, and losing a semester or two, for a few hundred dollars is just retarded. No one going for an Engineering degree for example would take part in this, because their semester is worth a lot, and the sooner they have their degree, the sooner they can generate sizable income in a profession that pays well... I don't expect all these French-Canadians studying "fine arts" and "history" to understand that. They have no reason to go back to classes at such fine institutions (sarcasm) as UQAM, since they know their future outlook amounts to very little in terms of career and income.
        Rob J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mxrz
        You're right. Education should only be for those with the means to pay for it and the drive to do nothing but create income for themselves.
      michaelmcgrath
      • 2 Years Ago
      The race will go on. People dying for their freedom is one this. Self-entitled brats smashing glass is another. C'mon, when the global lens is on us, turn that sh#t down. Hockey games, embarrassingly low tuitions... it's just more fodder for the non-Canadian sitting beside me on the plane. "Oh, you're from Canada (eh)? Soo..."
      Justin B.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Costs are rising for everything. Deal with it.
      J-F
      • 2 Years Ago
      Encore des anglais qui comprènent rien de ce qui se passe au Québec, et qui font absolument rien pour essayer de comprendre.
        CML
        • 2 Years Ago
        @J-F
        This is not an English/French thing. It is young people looking for a reason to protest. The increases are $325 a year on the cheapest tuition in NA. Put as much energy into finding a job as protesting and that $325 goes away quickly.
        Pat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @J-F
        Wait to stick it to them JF! Your comment makes us all proud! (I hope that you read the sarcasm)!
        michaelmcgrath
        • 2 Years Ago
        @J-F
        Here's a look at the tuition costs in Quebec compared to the rest of the provinces. http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/18/how-quebecs-tuition-price-tags-match-up-to-the-rest-of-canada-graphic/ Can you help me understand what I'm missing? Vous pouvez me reprondre en francais.
          Pat
          • 2 Years Ago
          @michaelmcgrath
          Comparing QC tuition to other provinces is like comparing apples to oranges. The hike goes against principles set foward during the Quiet Revolution. The protest is more than just about the dollar amount!
      Nicholas Selman
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was just in Montreal visiting (as a US tourist) this past weekend. The rallies are peaceful and organized, and nothing to worry about. The only potential disruption comes from the fact that students take to the streets in the evenings to march, and so a moving 1-city block area is blocked off by police to protect the protesters from harm. What poses far more of a threat, though, is the fact that random city blocks (that the taxi drivers don't even know about, from one experience we had) are blocked off for construction projects.
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would love it if this article actually provided a source for this threat. As far as I can tell its a case of; 1) There is a protest going on 2) There is a large event coming 3) This MUST mean they are going to collide and all hell will break lose This looks like a half-assed article on a slow news day trying to create something from nothing. And the ignorance in these comments is pretty much par for the course.
      Fernando
      • 2 Years Ago
      Man I am going to the race with 2 of my friends for that whole weekend, and we are staying at McGill too. I hope this doesn't interfere with my plans, I really just want to relax have fun and watch some F1 racing. I really don't want to encounter any trouble or deal with stupid people while there. This will be my third time going too and every single time it's been a blast. Montreal is a great city with wonderful people that treat it's tourists with respect.
      banan
      • 2 Years Ago
      just came back from montreal on monday and had a chance to drive through the track. all preparations are going as planned from what i saw. signs are being installed, fencing fixed and grand stand power washed. as fur as i know, ill be watching canadian grand prix june 10 with a coffee in my hand as usual.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they are willing to send a severed foot to a political headquarters, I guess they are capable of all kinds of things. I can assure you that a more stern government crack down certainly won't make the situation better. What's with the angry Canadians lately, did anybody read the foreign office statement about Syria? 5 days to get the entire Syrian diplomatic corps out of the country? I applaud the Canadians, it was the right decision, but seems quick and sharp from our usually polite neighbors to the north.
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