Students Pissed, Doing Something About It

On an unseasonably warm day in late March, a quarter of a million postsecondary students and their supporters gathered in the streets of Montreal to protest against the Liberal government’s plan to raise tuition fees by 75% over five years. As the crowd marched in seemingly endless waves from Place du Canada, dotted with the carrés rouges, or red squares, that have become the symbol of the Quebec student movement, it was plainly obvious that this demonstration was the largest in Quebec’s, and perhaps Canadian, history.

The March 22nd Manifestation nationale was not the culmination but the midpoint of a 10-week-long student uprising that has seen, at its height, over 300,000 college and university students join an unlimited and superbly coordinated general strike. As of today, almost 180,000 students remain on picket lines in departments and faculties that have been shuttered since February, not only in university-dense Montreal but also in smaller communities throughout Quebec.

Marc Bousquet writes about the impressive student protests in Quebec for The Chronicle of Higher Education. There really are a lot of people in the streets. It is impressive and inspiring. He also explores why they aren’t getting more media attention (the answer is that they speak French, and we don’t, which … what a dumb reason, but that’s the reason).

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6 Comments / Post A Comment

nerd alert (#436)

(shhhh I hate being this person – I’m always this person – Quebec is in Canada, not France….. so you could say Quebecois students are pissed, as they are not French per se.)

thenotestaken (#542)

@nerd alert Yesss I just came down here to say this. Even just changing it to ‘French Canadian’ would be correct.

I’m in Montreal currently, and I agree it’s crazy that the strike isn’t more covered in outside media. However, I also think a main reason for this is that Quebec tuition is the lowest in Canada and almost inconceivably low compared to US tuition. So when anyone outside of QC (and some people within!) hears the actual numbers involved, they write off the protests as being entitled/bratty. This isn’t the case at all, and I hope those who entertain that as their first thought will end up digging a little deeper.

i know quebec is in canada idk what i was doing with that hed. doh.

nerd alert (#436)

@Logan Sachon we all do silly things. I recently misspelled my name on a cover letter for a job, so. That exists in the world.

luckypenny (#541)

Some of us are Anglos too! Love from Quebec.

Megano! (#124)

@luckypenny I was just about to say — lots of Anglos in Montreal too!

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