GND Found Guilty of Contempt of Court
Former CLASSE Spokesperson Faces Charges, Fines
Nearly three months after stepping down as co-spokesperson of the now defunct student group the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was found guilty of contempt of court on Thursday afternoon.
Nadeau-Dubois faces either a maximum penalty of a year in prison or fine of up to $50,000 for what Judge Denis Jacques ruled as inciting students to continue blocking classes and forming picket lines despite court orders.
Throughout the spring protests, several students obtained court ordered injunctions that would allow them to return to class despite the student strike.
Université Laval student Jean-François Morasse was one of them.
Morasse filed a complaint against Nadeau-Dubois for encouraging students to continue blocking classes in an interview Nadeau-Dubois had with Radio-Canada.
“If students need to form picket lines to ensure that their strike votes are respected, we think that’s a completely legitimate,” said Nadeau-Dubois in the interview.
Nadeau-Dubois contends that he was a spokesperson, and therefore only speaking on behalf of the CLASSE.
On Friday, Nadeau-Dubois announced he would appeal the court’s decision. The website appelatous.org was launched to fund the legal battle the same day. As of Sunday, the site had received $58, 000 in donations.
Parti Québécois MNA and fellow former student leader Léo Bureau-Blouin posted a statement on Facebook in response to the case of the former CLASSE spokesperson.
Although Blouin wrote that he couldn’t speak specifically about Nadeau-Dubois while he is still before the courts, he stated the fact that there is currently no legislation that defends a student’s right to strike.“The student’s right to strike only exists through historical practice,” he wrote. “This subject could be a topic of discussion at our Summit on Higher Education.”
The night of the court’s ruling, in response to a Facebook event created by the infamous Rabbit Crew, approximately 200 people met at Place Emilie-Gamelin for a casserole protest, banging pots and pans in solidarity with Nadeau-Dubois while decrying the court’s decision.
Quebec Solidaire co-leader Amir Khadir advocated for the public to take to the streets with their casseroles, his party releasing an official statement denouncing the court’s ruling.
The protest left the park around 9 p.m. and moved slowly through downtown Montreal, making marked stops at the courthouse, city hall, and the Montreal police headquarters.
Though loud and boisterous, the crowd remained mostly peaceful. Chants condemning Mayor Gerald Tremblay sprang up several times.
No arrests or injuries were reported.
—with files from Colin Harris