Former Canadian F1 Champ Blast Quebec Protesters
Jacques Villeneuve, the Quebec-born car-racing champion, is upset at the student protest movement that has gone on for months and is now promising to turn up at Formula One Grand Prix events in Montreal all weekend.
In a five-minute exchange with reporters Thursday, Villeneuve urged the protesters to go back to school.
He suggested they were lazy. He called them an embarrassment to Canada, especially to Quebec. He suggested they were badly raised, by parents who never learned to say, 'No.'
And he said they risked scaring away tourists and wealthy taxpayers, who would just pick up and invest elsewhere in a more stable climate.
The student protest movement has received the enthusiastic endorsement of many Quebec celebrities and near-unanimous support from the artistic community. But the Quebec-born, Monaco-raised driver just might have become the most famous, most virulent new critic of the movement.
``It's time for people to wake up and stop loafing about. It's lasted long enough,'' Villeneuve told reporters at a cocktail benefit that kicked off the four-day Grand Prix festivities.
``We heard them. We listened. They should stop. It's costing the city a fortune. It makes no sense.''
As for their parents, Villeneuve said: ``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.''
Villeneuve, 41, won the 1997 Formula One world championship.
(The Canadian Press)