With the Formula One Grand Prix in Montreal scheduled for the weekend, student protests that have been going on in the area for months threaten to disrupt the event — something Quebec-born racing champion Jacques Villeneuve isn’t taking lightly.
Protests over university tuition hikes have gathered popular support from Quebec celebrities and the art community, but Villeneuve feels differently, suggesting that the students are an embarrassment to the province and country overall.
While specific threats to the Grand Prix haven’t been made by the protesters, they will undoubtedly use the event to gain more attention. At a cocktail party yesterday, Villeneuve explained his perspective on the students, who are protesting a raise in college tuition.
“I think these people grew up without ever hearing their parents ever tell them, ‘No.’ So that’s what you see in the streets now. People spending their time complaining. It’s becoming a little bit ridiculous. They spoke, we heard, and now it’s time to go back to school,” he said.
“It’s time for people to wake up and stop loafing about. It’s lasted long enough,” he said. “We heard them. We listened. They should stop. It’s costing the city a fortune. It makes no sense.”
Students stood outside the cocktail party Villeneuve attended while making those statements — a $1000-per-plate charity event that donated proceeds to a local children’s hospital.