Friday, September 16th, there was a rally for MUNACA outside McGill. The portion of McGill College avenue closest to the university campus was closed off and totally filled with MUNACA members, AMURE members (another McGill union which officially supports MUNACA’s efforts in this negotiation,) students, and other faculty and staff who support the MUNACA strike. The rally was huge and, apparently, wildly successful.
The rally was centered around a podium on the West side of McGill College avenue, where various speakers voiced their support for the rally, including Outremont MP Thomas Mulcair – a McGill graduate. I’m not sure who was actually running the rally, but he played the accordion well and often, leading the crowd in quite a few protest songs (when it rained the other day, I believe the same guy was mouth-trumpeting “Singing in the Rain” over the loud speaker impressively well. It was epic.) I took a few pictures of the rally, which I’ll post below.
This week, apparently, was McGill’s Aboriginal Celebration week. The only aboriginal themed event that I saw happened on Friday, and was poorly advertised, if it was advertised at all. Aboriginal people always seem to get the short end of the stick, which is another infuriating issue all together, but I think it’s unfortunate that MUNACA’s rally upstaged the festivities for the Aboriginal Celebration
week day. The only good thing about the unfortunate coincidence of the two events was that the apparent size of the MUNACA rally benefited from juxtaposition with the small celebration.
Since this is my third post on the subject of the strike, I feel I need to explain why I’ve been spending so much time on this issue. First, the Internet is a powerful tool. As I said in my last post, I can’t afford to not cross the picket line. However, I do have a blog that a few people read, so it seems that the best way for me to support the strike is to use my blog to get the word out. After all, that’s the most important part of non-violent protests: showing the world that you’re not being treated properly. Second, I think it’s important to tell McGill University and MUNACA how this is affecting the student population. We students have a fairly unique perspective on the strike, since we sort of straddle the world of the strike and the world on the inside, and I’d like to share that perspective with the world. I’ll get back to doing some more normal posts eventually, but I think it’s important to talk about this issue now.
Update: Thanks to a response to this post, I realized that I may not have made my position on the strike entirely clear. I suppose that’s because I haven’t been able to find much detail on the actual issues being debated, and as a result, I’m not quite sure where I stand on all the issues. However, I do support MUNACA and their strike. From what I’ve read of the main issues, I feel McGill is being unreasonable, and I think MUNACA was completely justified in calling a strike. My intention for this post was to provide a somewhat neutral description of the rally. For further details on how I feel about the strike, please read my most recent post about the strike, and my first post about the strike.
Regarding the Aboriginal Celebration, after thinking about the juxtaposition I mentioned, I think what makes it so fascinating to me is that the two groups were both being neglected by the McGill Administration: The Aboriginal Celebration Week only really lasted a few hours, and McGill won’t agree to a reasonable wage scale for MUNACA. I think it’s unfortunate that a possible opportunity to promote Aboriginal rights may have been lost, but I believe it was just an unfortunate scheduling coincidence. I’m glad that the rally got the turnout it did.