Tag Archives: protests

“Tens of thousands” – the battle over protest turnout numbers

A small sliver of the protest that marched down René Lévesque Blvd. on Tuesday, May 22

It’s the most important question to answer when covering a large protest, and yet it seems nobody can answer it: How many people were there?

It happened again on Tuesday as what was billed as a huge manifestation of the public against the Quebec Liberal government turned out to be exactly that. Protesters filled the streets of downtown Montreal, blocking traffic for hours. The police, which has been pretty good at reporting where protests are via its Twitter account, stopped doing it because the protesters were everywhere.

But how many protesters were there, exactly? Could someone just provide an estimate?

Once upon a time, the police did just that. Journalists would ask them for their guess of the crowd size, and report that as if it was gospel. It didn’t matter how the police came to that figure. The story would simply say that police estimated the size.

But estimating the size of a protest is like estimating the size of a guy’s penis. Even if you’re right, you’re immediately and angrily accused of lowballing it.

So Montreal police now don’t release crowd estimates. Other police forces elsewhere in the world have done the same, for similar reasons.

Seeking a source – any source – to provide something to put in headlines, many journalists have little choice but to turn to the organizers themselves, who have very obvious motives for inflating their figures. Without any police estimates, there is nothing to challenge organizers’ figures until they reach the point of insanity (like, where the number of protesters exceeds the entire population).

It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of this number. The entire point of this protest is to get as many people in the streets as possible. A protest of 50,000 is impressive, but a protest of 500,000 is much more so. Even though there’s an order of magnitude between these numbers, crowd estimates crossed that entire range. Organizers and supporters, obviously, went on the higher end. Others, perhaps with other agendas, went lower.

Bigger than before

Based on my Twitter discussions, it seems estimates on the high end were based on a mixture of gut feeling and a comparison to earlier protests. If the March 22 march had 100,000 people in it, and the April 22 Earth Day protest had 200,000 people in it, then this one must have had 400,000 people in it, because it seemed twice as big.

I wasn’t at the first two, so I can’t really compare, but this one did seem huge. It just went on forever, and when you thought it was done, another wave would come. When the head of the march reached Lafontaine Park, the tail was still at Peel St.

But estimates of those earlier protests are just as flawed. The March 22 protest organizers estimated 200,000 people, and Le Devoir used that number in its front-page headline. La Presse had police sources estimating 100,000, and said it was probably between the two (La Presse later went back and asked for a more scientific estimate, coming up with 108,000, with a large margin for error – thanks Judith). The Earth Day protest organizers had estimated 250,000 (or 350,000, depending on who you ask). Le Devoir said 250,000, but La Presse said it was 150,000, based on police sources.

Even anonymously, police sources are only as good as their methods, and anonymous sources are probably not going to get into detail about them.

For this latest protest, most of the mainstream media threw out the idea of having actual numbers and just went with the vague “tens of thousands”. Theoretically that could mean 30,000 or 300,000 (at which point you’d have to say “hundreds of thousands”), with most people visualizing it around the lower end of that scale. That infuriates supporters of the student movement, who don’t hesitate to claim the media is biased against them, and hint at some conspiracy to hide the truth, when in fact the problem is that the journalists simply don’t know what the truth is.

Montreal isn’t the only place with this problem. Here’s a post about the wildly varying estimates of the size of a Glenn Beck rally a couple of years ago.

The scientific method

Crowd estimates are very difficult to do, as OpenFile’s Justin Giovannetti pointed out after the March 22 protest. Once it gets to the tens-of-thousands mark, it can’t be counted individually. Any scientific method requires getting a sample of a certain defined area and multiplying it by the entire area. But that’s easier said than done.

For this protest, since I had the day off and I wasn’t covering it, I decided I’d try to use some scientific method to analyze its size.

As the head of the march reached René-Lévesque Blvd. and Metcalfe St., I spotted some slightly higher ground at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral. I stood there and started counting.

I decided I would use, as my sample, the block from Metcalfe to Mansfield St. Google Maps tells me this is a distance of 110 metres, which I’ll round to 100 since I’m counting from the edges, not the middle, of the intersections. I tried, through various methods, to count how many people fill this area at one time. I tried counting in my head, using an electronic counter, and taking an even smaller sample. Each of these methods gave me a figure that put the crowd a bit less than 500. That’s 500 people, covering three lanes of traffic (for the most part, the march contained itself to the north half of the street) for 100 metres. That comes out to about 500 people per 1200 square metres, or 0.4 people per square metre, or 2.4 square metres per person. This is about the estimate used for dense crowds, and the crowd was quite dense (though still fluid), so I was confident here that I was on the right track.

Having a good estimate for the size of a block, the next step was to count the number of blocks. From 3:27pm to 5:03pm, I stood there as the march went by. I picked some recognizable marcher (usually one with a distinctive sign) at Metcalfe St., waited until that person reached Mansfield, and then repeated the process.

To compensate for varying crowd density, I counted one and a half blocks when the march spilled into the other half of the street, and two blocks when it filled all six lanes. I also stopped counting when there was a gap.

In the hour and a half I was there, I saw the main protest pass by. I saw a second march, seemingly filled with more radical elements who wore masks and carried black flags, cross it in the other direction (doubling my workload momentarily), then after it appeared to have died, a second wave of the first march appeared and filled the streets once again. Just as it ended, a fourth march descended Mansfield St. I quickly moved a block east so I could add them to my count.

When it was all over, I counted 97 blocks, give or take a few. That’s a long protest. About 10 kilometres. To give you an idea of perspective, 10km is the entire length of St. Laurent Blvd. So this protest could have taken up three densely-packed lanes of St. Laurent from Gouin to de la Commune. That’s crazy when you think about it that way.

But if you do the math, 500 people times 97 blocks is 48,500. How could this protest be only 50,000 people if it took up so much space? I posted the estimate on Twitter and asked people if there was a flaw in my methodology.

The flaws

The biggest issue seemed to be location. There was, apparently, a march that took the original planned route going east along Sherbrooke St. toward Lafontaine Park. If that march didn’t pass my location, then it wouldn’t have been included in my count.

But that was it. Nobody questioned the 500 people per block estimate, or the 97-block length (a measure partly of its width, so not its actual length).

Let’s say that second march had the same amount of people in it, even though I’m inclined to think it was less than that. We’ll double the number to 100,000. Even that was insultingly low to some organizers and supporters, who said it must have easily been hundreds of thousands. I asked some what method they used to come up with their estimates. One responded “my eyes“. Many pointed to aerial shots.

The best aerial shots I’ve seen were from the Journal de Montréal, one of the few media to boldly make its own estimation (150,000). The photos, taken by Maxime Landry in the TVA helicopter, show the Place des Festivals filled with people, to the point where they spill over into adjacent streets.

I’ve seen this kind of crowd before. This is what it looks like during big Jazz Festival events. And because those events have controlled entrances (in some cases people counting participants with counters), we know that that kind of crowd (including spillover on nearby streets) is about 100,000.

That’s not to say that’s a definitive number. People were still arriving after the march began. Others may have joined in later. But it’s a good indication in terms of order of magnitude.

As much as people will criticize QMI for being biased against the students, I’m inclined to believe their estimate, or even consider it on the high scale. Based on my method of counting, and the fact that there was at least one large march I didn’t see (I believe), a figure of 100,000 seems about right.

Pictures are worth a hundred thousand protesters

That’s still a huge number. Even just counting those who passed by me on René-Lévesque, the protest took up more than 100,000 square metres and would fill the Olympic Stadium.

It’s large enough that it made the front page of every newspaper, and led every newscast (even The National led with two stories about it), and got noticed around the world. A hundred thousand is about 1/20th of the population of the island of Montreal. It’s about a fifth of the population of 15-to-35-year-olds on the island. It’s enough people that the government needs to take notice.

But it’s not 500,000 people. Not even close.

And the problem with pretending that it’s 500,000 people is that the next protest will have to be even larger than that. And at some point that ever-inflating number will be mathematically impossible and the numbers will lose all meaning, if they haven’t already.

UPDATE (Aug. 23): Radio-Canada has hired an outside company to measure the latest protest’s size. See more about that here.

Why I don’t believe anything I’m told about G20 protests

(Updated with more myths)

I’ve been following the fallout from this G20 summit through Twitter, YouTube and other media over the past few days. I wasn’t there myself, but I have some experience as an observer during protests, so a lot of what I saw and heard was familiar.

The first thing you have to know about large protests – and the police action that comes with it – is that it’s all more of a public relations war than anything else. Neither side is interested in harming the other (permanently), nor do they seriously expect that the other side will listen to reason and compromise. Instead, their shared goal is to convince the court of public opinion that the opposing side is an evil, heartless monster menace and they are the innocent victims (it’s a battle the police tend to win, by the way – as a post-G20 poll shows).

And that wouldn’t be so difficult. All either side has to do to get on the public’s good side is behave. Don’t antagonize, don’t attack, don’t resist, don’t break the law.

The problem with large protests (just about anything large enough to bring out the riot squad) is that while the majority – even the vast majority – do behave during these events, a minority of both sides doesn’t. And those are the ones people focus on. The ones who let their frustrations get the better of them, the ones who think the ends justify the means, or the ones who are just straight-up assholes.

And so, in the days after the G20, both sides have been screaming out half-truths to anyone who will listen, trying their best to exaggerate the extreme actions of the other side while dismissing or rationalizing their own excesses.

Here are a few of those outrageous claims. Some might be true, others not. I don’t know, because it seems everyone who does know the truth is too clouded by their political agendas to speak it properly. But I’m willing to guess the truth lies somewhere between the two sides.

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Flash mob is the new protest

Police officers monitor a "flash mob" protest on St. Jacques St.

Police officers monitor a "flash mob" protest on St. Jacques St.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably know my opinion on so-called “flash mobs”. The term is poorly defined (mostly because the groups most associated with the term find it demeaning and refuse to describe themselves that way), but most people seem to have settled on the definition of a bunch of strangers meeting in a public place, doing something strange and then leaving.

That “something strange” is open to debate. In some cases, it’s harmless fun for fun’s sake. In others, it’s a highly-choreographed stunt. I wouldn’t really describe every seemingly spontaneous public performance as a flash mob, but as long as people are having fun I’m not going to complain.

My issue is that, because “flash mob” is popular among youth, various groups with agendas are trying to use it to their advantage. In some cases, the intentions are honorable, like fighting cancer. But it’s also been used to promote beer, or create “viral videos” to drum up interest in some convoluted advertising campaign.

Now, it seems, it’s also being abused for political activism.

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CBC funeral lacks names to mourn

I'm horrible at crowd estimates. Guess for yourself how many people turned out.

I'm horrible at crowd estimates. Guess for yourself how many people turned out.

Tuesday was the day the CBC was supposed to announce which of its employees it was going to lay off. The SCRC, which represents CBC and Radio-Canada employees in Quebec and Moncton, planned for a day of mourning at noon to draw attention to those names.

Unfortunately, the CBC made no such announcement, and the people who turned out still don’t know who’s being fired and who’s being kept on, even though the corporation has already started the process of laying people off.

UPDATE: CBC says 180 people will get the pink slip on May 27 and 28.

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Union to mourn as axe falls at CBC

Maison Radio-Canada

Maison Radio-Canada

“D-day for some..or maybe me” is how Ange-Aimée Woods describes the Facebook group she setup to spread the word about a “day or mourning” organized by her union. On Tuesday, the real brunt of those 800 job cuts hits as the corporation reveals a list of the positions deemed “redundant”, and the employees it has decided it can live without.

The union, which as you can imagine is steadfast against this move, is planning an hour-long demonstration outside Maison Radio-Canada (corner René-Lévesque and Panet, metro Beaudry) at noon, in solidarity with those getting pink slips (who don’t yet know who they are):

We are organizing a demonstration to mark this day of mourning.

We will be out on the sidewalk with our “redundant” colleagues, a callous classification of the employees who are the heart and soul of the CBC.

We will gather on René-Lévesque in front of the main entrance to the Maison de Radio-Canada at noon to show our colleagues that we stand with them and management that we don’t agree with sacrificing the next generation of employees for flashy equipment. Senior management likes to say that the CBC’s most valuable asset is its people.

Let’s counter their cynicism with our most valuable asset: our solidarity and our voices.

Brutality

Sunday was the annual march against police brutality, traditionally the most violent of the year. It’s when people who want to break things and yell “FUCK THA PO-LICE” gather to do exactly that. Then, when some of them are arrested for vandalism or throwing rocks at police officers, they yell “POLICE BRUTALITY!” because they were roughed up a bit during the arrest.

Here’s a slideshow of photos I took (I was late because someone – probably a protester – killed power to the tracks just before it was to begin, but Luc Lavigne has better photos from the beginning of the protest anyway).

The Collectif opposé à la brutalité policière, which organizes the protest, is outraged (OUTRAGED!) that the city and police are now demanding that they be provided with the route the protest takes so that streets can be closed ahead of time. They say they did their best to minimize violence and property destruction because they asked people not to break things when the protest started.

Of course, just as the police protect their colleagues who surpass their authority, protesters protect the masked vandals who are more interested in getting away with what they can than they are making a point. So we get wanton property destruction (which only serves to sway public opinion away from one’s cause) and mass arrests (which no doubt caught a bunch of innocent bystanders in its huge net – La Presse is trying to track them down).

What’s sad, of course, is that police abuse of power is a real issue that deserves attention. The Fredy Villanueva case is already the subject of a public inquiry (which makes me wonder what exactly the protesters want in this case) and the death of Robert Dziekanski brought police procedure and Taser use to strong public criticism.

In the end, the public sympathy for victims of police brutality is undermined by protests such as these, because they show that when properly prepared for an onslaught of rock-throwing anarchists, cops (for the most part) keep their cool and keep the peace.

Similar thoughts from Patrick Lagacé,

Montreal wants to remove your right to bundle up

Two guys at an anti-FTAA protest in 2003: Should they be arrested for covering their mouths?

Two guys at an anti-FTAA protest in 2003: Should they be arrested for covering their mouths?

In one of those stories that sound like they should be on The Onion, Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay is asking City Council to approve a rule that would make it illegal for protesters to wear masks.

Don’t get me wrong. The vast majority of protesters who wear ski masks to protect their faces do so because they know they will do something illegal and they don’t want to be identified.

But that doesn’t make this any less of a gross attack on freedom of expression.

The press release makes mention of an exception for “valid reasons”, which I would imagine includes “it’s freezing outside” and “I’m a Muslim woman” but not “I’m shy” or “I just don’t want people taking pictures of me”.

But the validity of those reasons would be up to police officers to judge (and maybe, if you have enough money, a court to overturn later). It gives them more power to harass or detain people who haven’t done anything wrong.

If I were more confident in our legal system, I would just laugh this off as something that would immediately get overturned by a court. But I’m not that confident anymore.

Arrest people who do things that are illegal, and charge them for doing those illegal things. Don’t start systematically removing people’s rights because statistics show it will help keep the peace better.

UPDATE (Jan. 28): No surprise, there was a protest to protest against the protest law.

Coalition of the unions and separatists

Spot the non-union flags at this protest

Spot the non-union flags at this protest

On Saturday, I went downtown to Protest Central (the Guy Favreau building) to check out the pro-coalition protest. I had wanted to stop by the “Rally for Canada” anti-coalition protest, but that never materialized in this city.

Coming out of the building, I noticed a lot of presence from labour unions. I did some quick number-counting. There were 150 flags with union logos on them. The number of signs, flags and banners without union logos were so few that I have pictures of them all below.

The numbers, and the speeches given during the rally, showed something worrisome: this protest wasn’t about the grass roots standing up for democracy. It was about unions and separatists wanting to push the government more toward the left.

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Disorganized organizing

As if to underscore how unstable and disorganized our government is, there are two competing protests scheduled Saturday afternoon for and against the coalition government in different parts of the city.

rallyforcanada.ca

rallyforcanada.ca

On the Rally for Canada website (which features “latests twitter posts”), the rallying point for the anti-coalition forces is listed as “Trudeau’s office”, which I assume means Justin Trudeau’s constituency office at 625 Faillon Street E.

But if you go there, you’ll probably be standing with a small crowd of gramatically-challenged Tory supporters. Everyone else is going to Complexe Guy Favreau on René-Lévesque Blvd. W., the federal building which for some reason has always been turned into Protest Central by anyone with anything to say to the federal government. That protest is the one the Liberals, the unions and the Make Parliament Work website are pointing people to. It also has over 500 people RSVPed on Facebook, which means at last five of them will show up.

Personally, I don’t think public protest is going to change anything here (is Stephen Harper going to give up power because some a few hundred Montrealers that wouldn’t have voted for him anyway told him to?). I also doubt most of the people attending these protests would have the same positions if the tables were turned and Stephen Harper was trying to use the Bloc to take power away from a minority Liberal government.

But hey, if you want to walk out in the cold carrying a sign, go nuts.

Montrealers protest California gay marriage ban Saturday

A group of Montrealers is taking part in a nationwide worldwide protest against California’s Proposition 8, which amends the state constitution to ban gay marriage and was narrowly approved by voters on Nov. 4. Organizing is happening on Facebook and LiveJournal, among other places.

Now, the left being what it is, there are discussions happening in these forums about whether or not it makes sense to stage such a protest. Logicians point out two major points against it:

  1. This is a California state proposition, has nothing to do with Canada, and Californians probably wouldn’t appreciate us telling them what to do with themselves
  2. Prop 8 already passed, the people have spoken, and you can’t undo a democratic decision just because you don’t agree with it.

The meeting is at 1 p.m. at McGill’s Roddick Gates, and then proceeds to the U.S. consulate on Ste. Alexandre.

On the picket line

Employees carry signs outside 1010 Ste. Catherine St. W.

Employees carry signs outside 1010 Ste. Catherine St. W.

As Canadians went to the polls today, editorial, advertising and reader service employees at the Gazette staged a lunch-hour information picket line, carrying signs and handing out leaflets explaining the situation to passers-by. The union, which is negotiating with management for a new contract (the previous one expired June 1), received a strong strike mandate but has so far not exercised it. Conciliation talks are scheduled for next week.

Journalists and other Gazette employees hold picket signs to attract public attention.

Journalists and other Gazette employees hold picket signs to attract public attention.

Turnout was pretty good considering there are less than 200 members affected (this includes the entire editorial department). Picket signs surrounded the building on all four sides for about an hour and a half.

Irwin Block gets interviewed by the radio

Union vice-president Irwin Block gets interviewed by a radio reporter. His T-shirt reads "The Gazette is Montreal, not Winnipeg."

Media coverage was very light, considering there’s this whole election thing is going on (have you voted yet?) and all hands on deck fanned out to swing ridings. But a radio reporter and photographer showed up, so you might see a tiny bit of coverage.

The key, though, is that this is just the beginning of the union’s public information campaign (should such a campaign become necessary).

Reporter William Marsden hands an information leaflet to a bus driver

Reporter William Marsden hands an information leaflet to a bus driver

Roberto Rocha: Communist hippie

Roberto Rocha: Communist hippie

Meanwhile, The Link covers the Gazette labour conflict and byline strike, and has an editorial which posits that in the new digital age, quality of journalism becomes key and wire copy doesn’t cut it anymore.

And La Presse also covers the Gazette today, focusing on the Canwest student scab situation. It includes a new explanation from Canwest, that the student freelancers would be needed mainly to provide material to other newspapers to compensate for the Gazette loss (Canwest has no Montreal bureau and relies on Gazette copy for news from Canada’s second-largest city). Of course, such articles would also be available to The Gazette.

UPDATE: Michel Dumais looks at the recent labour action around Canadian newspapers, and Le Devoir has an adorable photo of Phil Authier.

UPDATE (Oct. 16): Hour and Mirror both mention The Gazette’s union issues in their editions this week. Hour has a really good article by Jamie O’Meara arguing against the outsourcing of Gazette jobs (and includes one of my photos to illustrate it). Mirror makes The Gazette its insect of the week for Canwest’s attempts to recruit student scab labour.

Police brutality protests revisited

Montreal’s annual march against police brutality generates a lot of news coverage the only way that protests generate news coverage: by causing destruction.

The mainstream media will give it a photo or short video clip highlighting the worst infractions, with a short brief mentioning how many people showed up, how many were arrested and what kind of damage there was. The next day, we might see an editorial decrying violence to make a point.

The alternative media, meanwhile, will go a bit more in depth about the protesters’ motives (without questioning those motives or the reasons given for them). They’ll also go in depth about accusations of police brutality, usually without trying to get the police’s side on the matter.

The truth, meanwhile, seems to be lost in the middle as the media takes one side or the other.

When I wrote about the protest last year, I concluded that “The entire purpose of anti-police brutality protests is to prompt police brutality.”

While I still believe that to be true (having police brutality at an anti-police-brutality protest helps the protesters’ case — or at least they think it does), I should expand on it a bit. It becomes an excuse for both the police and the radical elements of the anonymous, anarchist, anti-capitalist army to descend into pointless violence just to express their frustrations.

A semi-anonymous person interviewed by The Link said it much the same way (emphasis mine):

“I think in the same way that some of the protesters feel it’s a day they can let out their frustration, I think a lot of the cops feel that way too. And they like it that way,” said Paquette, who’s been homeless in Montreal for over 10 years. Few participants were willing to give their names to the press for fear of recrimination.

You’d think they’d find some more healthy and less expensive way to do so. Maybe a game of paintball or something?

I don’t mean to make light of the situation (though compared to things that happen around the world, with people dying and stuff, it’s kind of hard not to laugh at these people by comparison). But both sides use excessive force with no useful purpose, and nobody seems to care.

The protesters come from various backgrounds. Some are homeless people tired of being banned from every park and pushed out like some fruitcake nobody wants to eat. Some are legitimate victims (or friends of victims) of police brutality who want to speak out. Some are student activists who will support any leftist cause even if they don’t fully understand it. Some are radical anti-capitalists wearing ski masks who think that trashing a few McDonald’s signs will somehow bring about a new world order.

And, yes, some are undercover cops. (I don’t want to minimize how boneheaded an idea that was, and how negatively it affected the reputation of the SQ and all other police forces dealing with protesters, and though we can never be entirely certain, I’ll assume that most of the radical protesters aren’t undercover cops.)

The actions of some protesters are bent out of a (perhaps understandable) frustration. But that frustration isn’t a license to damage property or throw rocks at police. You can’t simply take advantage of the mob in order to shield yourself from consequences.

And that peaceful mob consciously shields the lawbreakers out of some twisted sense of solidarity. In Montebello, those who took rocks got singled out by the crowd, who made it clear that they would not be protected. That earned the legitimate protesters brownie points. It made regular people sympathize with them, and made the police (and their agents provocateurs) turn into the bad guys.

If that happened here, public opinion about these protests would change considerably.

The police, meanwhile, could use these protests as a opportunities to be the bigger person. But they don’t. They respond to transparently ineffective attacks on their massive body armor by literally chasing down protesters like a herd of wild bulls. They use force indiscriminately, against protesters, passers-by and journalists who get in the way. They make arrests by rounding people up like cattle, hitting them with a fine and then releasing them a few blocks away. They make people agree not to participate in protests in order to escape prosecution.

I want to re-emphasize that last sentence in case anyone missed it: Those who are arrested, whether they did anything wrong or not, are told to sign agreements saying they won’t participate in public protests. It’s legal, because people have the choice of going through a long court battle and facing jail time, but only Jaggi Singh is going to go through that on principle.

All this to say that those who take a side in this are either clueless, delusional or lying.

Other coverage of the protest:

Elsewhere in the blogosphere:

My protest is better than your protest

Tomorrow afternoon, the day before the St. Patrick’s parade, it will probably be best to avoid downtown streets, because you’ll find yourself in the middle of a protest you might not agree with.

At 12:30pm, protesters gather at Ste. Catherine and McGill College to protest against the Saskatchewan seal hunt, which is starting up again for another season. Killing seals is apparently evil for some reason.

At the same time, a protest against the war in Afghanistan gathers at the corner of Peel and René-Lévesque. I guess that means they either haven’t read the Manley report (PDF) or they agree that it was obviously a huge government conspiracy to force the mission to be extended and funnel defence spending to … uhh… the corporations… yeah.

So whom do you value more? Seals or Afghanis?

Screaming matches are not interviews

A memo to Jean-Luc Mongrain:

Acting like Bill O’Reilly doesn’t make you a better interviewer. When you invite a leader of the student protest movement on your show and yell at him like a madman, it doesn’t make people agree with your position more. In fact, people already agree with your position that protesters provoke police and that the tuition hikes are modest and don’t necessitate this kind of response.

So why are you yelling like a baby who thinks nobody is listening to him? You invited the guy on your show to speak his mind. At least let him speak.


Mongrain Clenche Porte Parole Etudiant 50 Dollar
Uploaded by mediawatchqc

UPDATE (Nov. 19): Mongrain’s contract expires next spring, and he doesn’t seem worried about his future.

UPDATE (Nov. 20): via Patrick Lagacé comes this example of classic Mongrain: