Live blog of the Montreal protests
Just as "big" as Chicago, I would say (strategically, too)*. Here's the Gazette's live blog.
A few interesting points:
2. This little snippet:
Rue Robin is on the French side, still in the student ghetto around UQAM, but still indicative of a lot more support than those in the streets.
3. McGill isn't participating at all, unlike U de M and UQAM. Gazoo Columnnist Freed attributes this to the linguistic divide (bien sur) but I'd attribute the difference to class as well: If McGill is like Harvard, then Concordia is like Northeastern, and participation at Concordia was substantial.
4. Oh, and where are the separatists?! Rotting in corruption, if the signs in the streets are to be believed.
5. There's also a large and long-standing anarchist presence in Montreal. So far, I'm not seeing any of the self-aggrandizing and self-defeating idiocy we saw in Oakland (definitely not meant to include the Oakland Media Collective, which is awesome). Perhaps they're more mature.
NOTE * Imagine a country of continental scale, just as big as the United States, and just as urbanized, but thinned out to only half a dozen or so big cities -- so that events in Canadian big cities assume a national proportion much more rapidly than here. Then imagine a massive and on-going student strike, at multiple universities, not in Canada's second city (Montreal) but ours (Chicago). Further imagine that the State legislature had just enacted legislation seeking to repress the demonstrations, but that the police departments on the ground didn't actually have the capacity to back up the law with force.... I'm not seeing the signs of an "all walks of life" moment, which means that the students haven't yet broadened their activities to real "safety in numbers" territory, and the authorities may be counting on the summer to do for the Canadian students what winter did for Occupy -- Montreal is very beautiful in the summer -- but it does seem huge.
One difference between Canada and the United States, culturally, is that Canadians have an expectation of good government (see under "single payer"). And the current dispensation is clearly not delivering that. Since the government in power is the Liberals, who are not Quebec Separatists, I'd have expected to the PQ, who are (even if often in "Not yet, oh Lord, not yet" mode) to be leveraging the crisis, but apparently (I'm not strong on the French media) they are not. I would guess the sense of elite unanamity, institutional rot and corruption, and general un-moored-ness, then, would be similar in Quebec to that experienced here.