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Social Movements

  • The birth of Medicare

    Medicare was born in Saskatchewan on July 1, 1962. It would be the first government-controlled, universal, comprehensive single-payer medical insurance plan in North America. It was a difficult birth. The North American medical establishment and the entire insurance industry were determined to stop Medicare in its tracks. They feared it would become popular and spread, and they were right.

  • My trip to jail for reading 1984 on the metro (First-Hand Account)

    Last Sunday, June 10, 2012, I attempted to take part in a protest-action: over the course of a few hours, I would take the metro back and forth from Berri to Jean-Drapeau station to peacefully protest my disagreement with the Formula 1 Grand Prix, which in my opinion promotes sexism.

  • Why the silence on Ottawa’s role in the Quebec student strike?

    The following article draws attention to an important issue that has been largely overlooked in the Quebec student strike.

    The author, Pierre Graveline, is a well-known journalist, editor and publisher, and is currently the executive director of the Fondation Lionel-Groulx. A former official with the Quebec teachers union, he is the author of a book on the history of education and teacher unionism in Quebec.

    I have translated this article from the Quebec on-line newspaper L’aut’journal.

  • What are we to make of 100 days of mayhem in Montreal?

    Coddled kids with a mistaken sense of entitlement? Yes there’s some of that. But if it were just that, the strike would have fizzled out long before now.

  • Appeal from Quebec: Solidarity and legal support needed

    We write you during a dark time for democratic, human and associative rights in Quebec with the following appeal for your help and solidarity. As you have no doubt heard, the government recently enacted legislation that amounts to the single biggest attack on the right to organize and freedom of expression in North America since the McCarthy period and the biggest attack on civil and democratic rights since the enactment of the War Measures Act in 1970. Arguably, this recent law will unduly criminalize more law-abiding citizens than even McCarthy’s hearings and the War Measures Act ever could.

  • Charest declares war on Quebec’s students

    “It’s a declaration of war on the student movement,” said Martine Desjardins, leader of the FEUQ. “They’ve just told the young people that everything they have done, everything they have created as a social movement for 14 weeks will now be criminal.”

  • Quebec government bludgeons student strikers with emergency law

    Quebec premier Jean Charest announced May 16 that he will introduce emergency legislation to end the militant student strike, now in its 14th week, that has shut down college and university campuses across the province. The students are protesting the Liberal government’s 75% increase in university tuition fees, now slated to take place over the next seven years.

  • Government ends negotiations with Quebec’s striking students

    On Wednesday, April 25, Education minister Line Beauchamp abruptly ended the negotiations with the student leaders to which she had reluctantly agreed two days earlier — before they had even got to the key issue of the $1625 fee hike. She refused, once again, to negotiate with the CLASSE, the largest student union, which represents about half of the 180,000 students now on strike in Quebec’s post-secondary colleges and universities. That effectively ended the negotiations, since the other two student unions refused to break their united front with the CLASSE and fall for the government’s blatant attempt to divide them.

  • Massive student upsurge fuels major debates in Quebec society

    A crowd estimated at 250,000 people or more wound its way through Montréal April 22 in Quebec’s largest ever Earth Day march. They raised many demands: an end to tar sands and shale gas development, opposition to the Quebec government’s Plan Nord mining expansion, support for radical measures to protect ecosystems, and other causes. And many wore the red felt square symbolizing support to the province’s students fighting the Liberal government’s 75 percent increase in post-secondary education fees over the next five years. The Earth Day march was the largest mobilization to date in a mounting wave of citizen protest throughout the province.

  • The Student Movement: Radical Priorities

    The student movement in Quebec is an incredibly important development, with implications that reach well beyond provincial borders, rekindling the political imagination to a degree not seen since the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. This is the most troubling and dynamic period in recent Quebec history, and the possibility that this energy will foster fundamental social change is very real.

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