Quebec's Controversial Bill 40,Wet’suwet’en Protests

Ahmad Moujtahed



Quebec's Controversial Bill 40 

The Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) has voiced its opposition to the tabling of Bill 40, the controversial new legislation that abolishes Quebec’s school boards and replaces them with service centers.

The CAQ government added a series of last-minute amendments to Bill 40. One of the amendments gives the new service centers the power to force municipalities to give up public land if its needed to build new schools.

According to the UMQ, the Government of Quebec’s approach is unacceptable, in the way the expropriation amendment was added discreetly to the bill without prior discussion with the municipalities. The union also worries what this amendment will mean for a city or town’s debt and how it will affect taxpayers.

Montreal mayor Valerie Plante said this is something that was thrown on mayors in the province. She also added that she does want more schools in the city but wants to work with the Quebec government to make it happen.


Wet’suwet’en Protests

Protests over the Coastal GasLink pipeline project continue to grow.

After the B.C. Supreme Court granted Coastal GasLink an expanded injunction against the Wet’suwet’en Nation members who were blocking access to the project, tensions started to escalate. Canadian police began enforcing the injunction last week, and have since made 28 arrests, according to BBC. 

Experts sounded the alarm on what they called “unlawful and unjust” arrests while Indigenous advocates said the conflict goes well beyond pipeline opposition: it’s a rights issue.

The ongoing conflict prompted several solidarity protests across Canada. In Ottawa, Indigenous youth and supporters gathered just blocks from Parliament Hill on Monday and said they’ve given the federal justice minister 24 hours to respond to their demands or they’ll consider reconciliation dead.

In Quebec, Trains on Exo's Candiac line have been cancelled for two days in a row due to  protests in Kahnawake.

During a news conference in Senegal, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the blockades and said

 “We recognize the important democratic right and we will always defend it of peaceful protests. This is an important part of our democracy in Canada. But we’re also a country of the rule of law, and we need to make sure those laws are respected. That is why I am encouraging all parties to dialogue.. to resolve this as quickly as possible.”