Suspect arrested after Quebec teacher on picket line struck by car

MONTREAL — A teacher in Sherbrooke, Que., who was picketing with her colleagues this morning was struck by a car in what police are calling a deliberate gesture.

Sherbrooke police spokesman Martin Carrier says the woman was participating in a teachers strike outside her high school around 9:30 a.m. when she was struck by a driver who allegedly drove into the picket line.

Carrier says the woman escaped with minor injuries.

The 54-year-old suspect left the scene but was later arrested at his home for assault with a weapon. 

Carrier says witnesses indicated the suspect has a connection to the school and was possibly the father of a student, but says that has yet to be confirmed.

The victim was one of tens of thousands of Quebec teachers who held an early-morning strike today that began just after midnight and lasted until 9:30 a.m. The teachers have been without a contract since March 2020.

In Montreal this morning, teachers could be seen grouped outside schools waving signs and demanding better working conditions. 

The union representing the teachers, called Centrale des syndicats du Quebec, says the timing of the strike was designed to put pressure on management without affecting students’ learning.

Quebec Superior Court on Monday refused a request by the school boards to deny teachers the right to hold the strike, paving the way for the job action to proceed.

The province’s workplace tribunal was supposed to hear the case Tuesday afternoon, but the head of one of the teachers unions said that hearing turned out to be unnecessary after discussions were held between the two parties.

Union head Josee Scalabrini told The Canadian Press that the employer wanted reassurance on some aspects of the strike, including that the teachers would be in class by 9:31 a.m.

Several school boards announced classes would move online for the day because the strike affected school buses and early-morning supervision.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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