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The pro-Palestine camp “has no place” at McGill, says Minister Bonnardel

Photo: Ryan Remiorz The Canadian Press A Superior Court judge has rejected a request for an injunction filed by two McGill students to limit the space for the demonstration in support of the people of Gaza on the university campus.

Sandrine Vieira and Marie-Michèle Sioui in Ottawa and Quebec

Published and updated on May 1

  • Quebec

Whatever the Superior Court says, the pro-Palestine encampment “has no place” on the campus of McGill University, declared Wednesday the Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel . On the other hand, he and his colleague Pascale Déry refused to describe the encampment as “illegal”, as they had done the day before.

By ruling Tuesday on the legality of the installations, Ministers Déry and Bonnardel “played a bit of the judge in the place of the judge,” lamented solidarity MP Alexandre Leduc. All opposition parties have called on elected government officials to exercise caution given the judicialization of the case.

Wednesday noon, Judge Chantal Masse, of the Superior Court of Quebec , rejected a request for an injunction filed by two McGill students demanding to limit the space where the demonstration in support of the people of Gaza can be held.

To National Assembly, Ministers Déry and Bonnardel have since replaced the word “illegal” in their speeches with expressions like “not authorized”.

“Camping, for me, has no place at McGill University. For me, the safety of students is extremely important and I will trust the judgment of the [Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, SPVM] for the future,” declared Mr. Bonnardel. “This encampment has no place on the McGill University campus according to university rules,” he added.

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In Ms. Déry’s opinion, the court’s decision “changes nothing in McGill’s position.” “According to the establishment’s internal policies, [camping] is not permitted. So, the SPVM was notified. They were asked to intervene, the university asked them to intervene, so they are monitoring the situation closely,” she said before continuing on her way.

Joly has the hope of appeasement

In Ottawa, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly avoided commenting on the call to police forces on the McGill University campus. She said she was hopeful that progress in discussions for a ceasefire in Gaza would ease tensions on university campuses. “We are going to put pressure on the different parties to reach a ceasefire. I was in contact with Antony Blinken yesterday. The more we are able to stop the violence, the more we will be able to see a reduction in tensions here,” she said in a press scrum before the Liberal caucus meeting on Wednesday morning.

Activists on the McGill campus say they have no intention of leaving until the university ends all partnerships with companies with contracts with the Israeli army.

The American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said he was determined to soon secure a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas. An offer of a 40-day ceasefire, with the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for hostages kidnapped on October 7, was made to Hamas at the start of the week. Hamas has not yet given a response to this latest proposal. Since the start of the war last year, only one truce — of one week — has been established, at the end of November.

“We think it is important that we can talk to different members of society in Israel, different members also within the Palestinian territories, and that is what I will continue to do,” said Minister Joly, adding that there was “no love” between the Trudeau government and the Netanyahu government.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, of Jewish faith, commented to him called the camps at McGill “inappropriate”. “These are not peaceful protests,” he said.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116