Transforming Power

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This is Judy Rebick's blog. It is simultaneously posted on the web site http://www.transformingpower.ca

Maple Spring: Quebec students protest tuition hikes in massive numbers

| March 22, 2012
Students protest hikes

I just got back from the biggest demonstration I've ever been on, maybe the biggest in Canadian history. Some of the signs said "Printemps Erable" (maple spring, a play on words in French), and it sure felt like it. In a massive show of solidarity, Quebec students not only said "no" to fare hikes but "no" to a neo-liberal agenda that says the poor, students and workers have to pay for the crisis of capitalism.  Estimates are between 200,000 and 300,000 marchers.

"I'm not sympathetic," someone posted on my Twitter feed. "They have the lowest tuition fees in Canada." Exactly, and the reason is two-fold. First, every time the Quebec government has tried to raise tuition fees, Quebec students have gone on strike to stop the hikes. Secondly, Quebec society still believes that taxes should pay for accessible education, health care and a social security net. 

I have never seen anything like the energy of this march. It was inspiring. Students have been building to this day of action for a month or more with university after university, faculty after faculty, going out on strike. This week, there were demonstrations almost every day. A couple of days ago, they shut down two bridges into Montreal. On Sunday, there was a family march where parents could support their children.

But this was amazing! In February 2003, 150,000 Quebecois came into the streets to protest the war in Iraq. It was a major reason Jean Chretien didn't support the U.S. invasion. It is hard to see how the Charest government can ignore this level of mobilization. It was clear from the streets that most people supported them too.

It is incredible that there has been almost no coverage of this extraordinary uprising of young people in Quebec in English Canada.   If there is an Arab Spring in Canada, this is it.

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Comments

Wow shrink, you must be daft, I am agreeing with the demonstrations and ranting about how it's wonderful to have 4% of a population in the streets, my entire family is in the streets demonstrating and they are all finished with university over a decade ago... you misread my post to think I'm against the movement?????????????????????????????????????????

IMO this is the best bloody event to happen in 25 years, since my 80's generation of nincompoop students voted FOR "le dégel des frais", but I demonstrated against the "dégel" back in the 80s.


You may want to reassess your reading abilities! maybe go back to school?

@ TNT: Pick a cause of your choice and try to have people from around the province for a demonstration in Mtl and then tell me that 300 000 is not huge! This was the LARGEST demonstration in canadian history. Period. Open your eyes and your mind. And please try to improve the level of your arguments if we are to have an enlighted and constructive discussion and debate.

Absolutely wonderful to see a people so united!
Think of it, 300,000 out of a population 8 million. That's 4% of the entire population!

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