Ten years ago, a handful of student groups launched a strike that spread an entire spring and brought snow to the point of overthrowing a government. The Journal has collected the testimonies of many great personalities of this historical movement, the effects of which are still being felt. Today, alumni leaders say how this period of excitement has changed them.
Maple Spring is a polar face, and Gabriel Nado-Dubois believes his role as a student leader is a huge privilege, but a “big burden” to bear after ten years.
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Coming from a family of activists it was natural for GND to join the student body when he started his college studies.
At that time, the young man dreamed of going to a private school and becoming a journalist. He admitted himself in the movement to “take care of communications”, but did not immediately understand that the spokesman was responsible with this task.
At the age of 21 at the time, the spring of 2012 would completely change his life.
“To go from complete anonymity to public person status overnight, and to add polar public person status, it’s very trembling, it’s changing our friendships, it’s changing our relationships with our colleagues. As a teenager, it’s also changing our relationship with women. […] Others hate you until you spit on the street. ⁇
He admits that sometimes the situation completely overwhelms him.
“There were a lot of upgrading moments. […] I was wrong, ”he admits, without elaborating.
Considering his young age at the time, it was hard for him to be severely judged as long as he was an enthusiast.
“You’ve never been in front of a camera in your life. You’re always tired because we did not sleep, we did not even have a penny. We lived in a student apartment …”
After a decade and a few gray hairs, he realized that he could be portrayed as an “arrogant” character.
But despite the assurances he made public, the GND was skeptical on several occasions. Once every two weeks, he firmly believed that their cause was going to be thwarted. He had many opponents in the population, but was also in the broad coalition for the Student Union Solidarity (CLASSE).
The heavy legacy to bear
He assures us that he will never relinquish this role as the standard bearer of the most radical section of the student community.
Aspiring to be a Prime Minister now, this past is no less than bearable.
“I’m been thinking for a long time about how I’m going to betray this tradition. Since I was a face of a collective movement ten years ago, I can not help but evolve as a person in his office,” he insists. Solitaire, Speaker of the Parliament of Quebec in the National Assembly.
An avid politician, GND is now known for his subtle tone. A variant he accepts.
“What I am trying to do is to find a balance between being loyal to the values that lived in me at the time. […] Give me the right to become a person and to gain maturity and experience.
The immediate arrival of her first child, who is scheduled to be born almost ten years after the massive mobilization on March 22, 2012 against the tuition hike, is a significant coincidence.
“It’s a symbol that moves me deeper. A little scary. Beyond [des incertitudes de la paternité], I know I’ve in the right place at the right time. ⁇
Peace among the Liberals
Do the liberals elected under Jean-Zarost want to forget this chapter that came to power? Former Education Ministers Line Beauchamp and Michelle Courchesne, as well as then-House Leader Jean-Marc Fournier and former political staff turned down our opportunity to comment on the 2012 events. Jean Charest n did not respond to our request. For his part, Leo Bureau-Bluin, former president of the Quebec College Student Federation (FECQ), also rejected our interview program, citing reserve duty in the context of his work.
Death threats to student leaders
Photo Archives, QMI Agency
Leo Puro-Bluin and Martin Desjardins, May 2012.
Martin Desjardins suffered death threats at the height of his negotiations with the Zarist government.
“There was a police ghost car following me for a while,” he says. The person was arrested and completed. ⁇
However, the student leader was only informed of the increased protection afforded to her after the threats and events, and her team felt that she was experiencing adequate stress during this period.
Tough friends As guards From the body
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was a victim of death threats and they physically assaulted him. And the enemies sometimes came from his own association.
“I was physically changed, pulled out of business, and spit on demonstrations by some part of the movement that did not like me,” he recalled. In order to protect himself, two bitter friends often came with him and acted as bodyguards.
“Independent Convoy” And the right to protest
Gabriel Nado-Dubois insists that demonstration is a fundamental right, while the “Convoy for Freedom” still paralyzes Ottawa.
“On the front lines of the epidemic, sometimes in the literal sense, I want to prove my solidarity these days with the health workers who have killed themselves. Sometimes it comes to me to get people to say they have no resemblance to them. Workers are not important. I will always defend the difference.
Jean Charest’s joke is high
As the mobilization crumbled, Jean Zarstein’s joke mocking young protesters revived the student movement in 2012, and led to the fall of the Liberal government.
This is the observation of former student leader Martine Desjardins, ten years after thousands of young Quebecs took to the streets to protest the $ 1,625 tuition hike in the five years mandated by Quebec.
After several weeks of strikes, the cause was exhausted. Faced with the harsh course of the Liberals and the proliferation of degenerate protests, a good number of students wanted to return to school benches.
The chance of defeat strikes Martin Desjardins.
“I had reports of what was happening on campus, and we were deliberately losing our strike votes. […] I’m so scared it’s over, ”recalled the former president of the University of Quebec Students Federation (FEUQ), who gave us a phone interview with his little Charles, three months old, sleeping in his arms.
On April 20, 2012, he travels between Quebec and the metropolitan area. Demonstrations besieging the Palais des congress de Montréal city of Salon Plan Nord turned riotous. The windows were smashed.
Anxiety catches Martin Desjardins. The Prime Minister, who is then delivering a speech inside, jokes about the protesters.
“Salon Plan Nord is already so popular that people are running in from everywhere,” Jean-Zarest says in a mocking tone, causing laughter in the room. For those who knock on the door this morning, we can offer work as far north as possible. ⁇
The young woman is smoking. Students on strike welcomed the report as a sign of contempt and lit the torch.
Of course, the adoption of Act 78 restricting the right to protest a month later would put a talk back on the wheel of student mobilization.
But this special law, which aims to oust the liberals from power, will expand to all strata of society and co-ordinate the movement of the Saspans. New inspiration for students’ endeavor.
Disagreed with Marois
According to Martine Desjardins, the party was able to capture the Quebec regime in the fall of 2012 because people were fed up with a liberal regime marked by stories of youth movement and corruption.
Pauline Morois, however, must be satisfied with the minority government.
Martine Desjardins also recalled a dispute with the former prime minister after the election.
“He accused them of spending the majority because they were so stuck with us. But we firmly believe that without the student movement, there would not have been this generous change to PQ,” he said.
One is proud when one thinks of this adventure of a 40-year-old woman now.
Martin Deszardins, who was destined to become a university professor, would especially create a column in the media as a columnist. The PQ candidate was defeated in the 2014 election, after which he left politics.
He is currently the Managing Director of the Professional Federation of Journalists of Quebec.
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