09 August 2012

A Resignation

Today, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, one of the spokespeople for the student group La CLASSE, resigned from his position. I thought I would mark this occasion by expressing some of my admiration for his integrity.

He is a bright and articulate young man who has stood up to power and not flinched. In the face of derision and vilification by those to whom we have entrusted political power, he has not descended to those levels, but insisted on the arguments he and others in the student movement had developed. This has betrayed a level of maturity we can only hope that our politicians will return to...or develop.

He has steadfastly respected and insisted on the limits of the role accorded to him by his movement. When politicians and members of the media have attempted to characterize him as the "leader" of his group, he has reminded them that he is a spokesperson, that he does not make decisions for the group, that the group has structures for decision-making that he respects. An individual with a less clear sense of the democratic values of his organization might have tried to arrogate those powers and that status to himself or herself. Not he and not his co-spokespeople. Not even when pushed by those who seemed to fail to understand the structure. A respect for the democratic principles of his group's collectivity that seems to have slipped from the view of our politicians in their practices.

We have been witness this year to the most important mobilization of our youth in generations, this in a context where we have decried the apathy of the young for a long time. I have been proud to see them in their idealism, with all their energy and creativity, as they set out to change a government decision with which they (and I) continue to disagree. They have been mobilized for months in the face of rejection and derision from our political authorities and they have not backed down.

So now one face of this movement steps away from his role as one of the spokespeople of his group, not to disappear, but to continue as a part of the movement and maybe to focus on his own goals. I have every confidence that he will do everything he needs to do to pursue his goals. I just want now to express my gratitude for the example that he and his colleagues have set for the rest of us.

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