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:
Quebec's 2012 student uprising highlights a long history of social activism that continues to shape politics in both Quebec and Canada. Beyond simplistic nationalist notions, grassroots movements in Quebec have long organized with an internationalist spirit rooted in decolonization and social transformation.
The Montreal lawyer who has become synonymous with the fight against police repression during last spring's student strike in Quebec is facing a whole new battle.
In early July, Denis Poitras declared personal bankruptcy. He was immediately disbarred, as per the rules of the Barreau du Québec, the province's professional organisation for lawyers.
He is now working to regain the right to practice the work that he loves. He isn't doing it alone though: on August 5, a fundraising and support campaign was launched to help him raise the money needed to get him out of bankruptcy and back to work.
As major demonstrations in Egypt call on President Mohamed Morsi to step-down, hundreds held a festive solidarity rally in downtown Montréal.
Continents away from the sustaining protests in Tahrir Square, people responding on the streets of Montréal illustrate both the global reach and political importance of Egypt's evolving popular revolution.