In early 2012, student activists, organized through CLASSE, descended upon Cégep Valleyfield. The campus, just West of Montréal, was not known to be a hotbed of progressive activism. It was, however, the site of the first strike vote that would cascade into more than 300,000 Québec students protesting a tuition fee hike by striking from their classes.
The stakes were high and momentum was critical: If Valleyfield students voted against the strike, it would likely mean more failed votes at the cégeps that followed. The Maple Spring hinged on Valleyfield.
CLASSE spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois delivered an impassioned speech that he hoped would tip the balance towards a successful strike vote:
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Richest 1 per cent increased their share of total income from 8.1 per cent in 1980 to 13.3 in 2007
Richest 0.1 per cent doubled their share from 2 per cent to 5.3
The 100 best-paid CEOs made an average of $6.6 million, 155 times the average wage of $42,988
Tax rate for richest dropped from 43 per cent in 1981 to 29 per cent in 2010
Cost of corporate tax cuts: more than $10 billion yearly
Richest 10 per cent made 24 per cent more in 2006 than the richest in 1976