On The Quebec Student Strikes

Introduction by

Since March 2012, students across Quebec have been on strike against tuition hikes proposed by the provincial government. This strike, now the longest running student strike in Quebec history, has spurred on province wide protests that have been met with continual police action and legislation to curtail the right to public assembly. Below, we offer several commentaries from students and scholars on these events.

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ince March 2012, students across Quebec have been on strike against tuition hikes proposed by the provincial government. This strike, now the longest running student strike in Quebec history, has spurred on province wide protests that have been met with continual police action and legislation to curtail the right to public assembly. Below, we offer several commentaries from students and scholars on these events.

essays in this forum

Follow The Money

Over the past six months, from the dining room tables of Westmount to the streets of St. Denis, in Montreal, and across the province of Quebec from Hull, to Sherbrooke, to Quebec City, the longest running student strike in the history of Quebec has been a source of intense debate and discussion. As the numbers swell on the streets (with somewhere between 200,000 to 250,000 people taking to the streets across Quebec in March), supporters and critics have emerged in unlikely quarters.

Staying Power (Le Souffle Le Plus Long)

Today I am on strike. For 54 days I have been on strike. 54 days of struggle, 54 days of beatings, of teargas, of pepper spray. I, my friends, my comrades, the students of Quebec. 54 days against the Liberals, against the boss, against the police, against duplicitous commentators.

The Return Of Darkness

As is the case for all social movements, the current mobilisation of college and university students in Québec is contextualised. It bears the signature of a local culture, with its own history. Interpreting this mobilisation without knowledge of this specificity is bound to yield distorted conclusions. So here are some core facts that I believe have to be acknowledged and which underscore the logic of current events.

Across The Language Divide

After fifty years of geographic proximity, we have learnt a strange and revolutionary lesson. Not only did we realize that we have a choice, but together we have power.

Press Play

Many have suggested that the sonic promiscuity of les casseroles has been a key component of their wild success, but there is also an element of happy coincidence with the architectural landscapes of the neighbourhoods in which they have taken hold. This is demonstrated in ample contradiction with the lack of sonic purchase in Westmount, which called for the polite and pointed home invasion of the doorbell ring as an invitation to the Maple Spring’s dance.

A Space Where Equality Reigns

On June 22, 2012, after weeks of waving our red scarves in support of the nightly march of thousands of students banging pots and pans, known as the ‘casserole’, we agreed to our daughter’s plea to participate on the first day of her summer holidays, in what had become an illegal demonstration. Thanks to a hurriedly cobbled together law that has effectively removed the right of students, or anyone else in the province, to publicly protest without the prior consent of the police, any desire to register dissent has now been rendered an illegal act by the Québec government.

Let The Students Speak

The student strike in Québec is over. While many student associations opted to return to class before the Québec elections on September 4th, the election of a minority Parti Québécois government brought a definitive resolution to the social crisis.