Monday, 23 April 2012

A Couple of Hundred Thousand Out in Montreal on a Miserable Day: the Quebec Spring?

Having spent more time than I care to say marching in demonstrations that most frequently brought together only small groups, I've been very impressed by the crowds that have been turning out in Quebec lately.

There's a student strike on against tuition hikes, with smallish demonstrations nearly every day, but just a month ago some 200,000 or so got together in a show of support that hadn't been seen since the demos against the war in Iraq. Since the weather that day was gorgeous, some commentators downplayed the numbers: just people wanting to get out on the first warm day of spring.

But yesterday an even bigger crowd showed up for the Earth Day demo, and the weather was simply foul. It had rained hard in the morning, and the afternoon was cold and damp, but that didn't stop people. I wasn't there because of other engagements: it warmed the cockles of my heart that my presence wasn't needed to make the point!

All this is not unconnected, it seems to me, to the greap leap voters in Quebec took not quite a year ago in electing so many New Democrat MPs. People want change, and are willling to vote with their feet.

How they will vote in a provincial election remains to be seen. There's a new right wing party that may attract some protest votes, but anybody who's thinking should see that the only party with a platform in line with the expressed opinion of so many people is the left wing Québec Solidaire.

Photo: Le Devoir

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