May 01, 2012As the student protest drags on, it is becoming increasingly impossible to remain aloof. Whether you support the protesters or not, we are all being drawn into this conflict if only by virtue of the non-stop news coverage. For newcomers to Montreal this is all pretty baffling. With the lowest tuition fees on the continent, even after the hikes, world class educational institutions, a generous social safety net and a peaceful and orderly society, the ferocity of the protests leaves many of my clients scatching their heads. Truth is, I think many of us are scatching our heads a bit if only because the protest over tuition hikes has morphed into a protest about a host about other issues, including most recently, the right to protest itself. Where will this go and how will it end? Noone knows but increasingly it is looking like neither side has left itself many options. At this point, it seems as though damage control (both real, physical and reputationally) and prevention of further economic loss must be a priority for both sides. In the end though, no matter the outcome, I feel for those students who were denied their legal right to attend classes and finish their term. They have already lost time and money and will never get it back. These are the very young people Quebec needs to assure a prosperous future and they are the very ones suffering the most direct consequences of this political impasse.