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An Open Letter to the Mainstream English Media:

Thank you; you are a little late to the party, and you are still missing the mark a lot of the time, but in the past few days, you have published some not entirely terrible articles and op-eds about what’s happening in Quebec right now. Welcome to our movement.

Some of you have even started mentioning that when people are rounded up and arrested each night, they aren’t all criminals or rioters. Some of you have admitted that perhaps limiting our freedom of speech and assembly is going a little bit too far. Some of you are no longer publishing lies about the popular support that you seemed to think our government had. Not all of you, mind you, but some of you are waking up.

That said, here is what I have not seen you publish yet: stories about joy; about togetherness; about collaboration; about solidarity. You write about our anger, and yes, we are angry. We are angry at our government, at our police and at you. But none of you are succeeding in conveying what it feels like when you walk down the streets of Montreal right now, which is, for me at least, an overwhelming sense of joy and togetherness.

News coverage of Quebec almost always focuses on division: English vs. French; Quebec-born vs. immigrant; etc. This is the narrative that has shaped how people see us as a province, whether or not it is fair. But this is not what I feel right now when I walk down the street. At 8pm, I rush out of the house with a saucepan and a ladle, and as I walk to meet my fellow protesters, I hear people emerge from their balconies and the music starts. If you do not live here, I wish I could properly convey to you what it feels like; the above video is a start. It is magic. It starts quietly, a suggestion here and there, and it builds. Everybody on the street begins to smile. I get there, and we all—young and old, children and students and couples and retirees and workers and weird misfits and dogs and, well, neighbours—we all grin the widest grins you have ever seen while dancing around and making as much noise as possible. We are almost ecstatic with the joy of letting loose like this, of voicing our resistance to a government that seeks to silence us, and of being together like this.

I have lived in my neighbourhood for five years now, and this is the most I have ever felt a part of the community; the lasting impact that these protests will have on how people relate to each other in the city is deep and incredible. I was born and raised in Montreal, and I have always loved this city, I have always told people that it is the best city in the world, but I have truly never loved it as much as I do right now.

The first night that I went to a casseroles (pots and pans) demonstration, at the centre of the action—little children ecstatically blowing whistles, a young couple handing out extra pots and pans to passers-by, a yoga teacher who paused his class to have everyone join—I saw a bemused couple, banging away, but seemingly confused about something. When we finished, they asked me, “how did you find us?” I replied that I had checked the map that had been posted online of rendez-vous spots, and theirs was the nearest to my house. “Last night we were all alone,” they told me. They had no idea it had been advertized online. This is what our revolution looks like: someone had clearly ridden around our neighbourhood, figured out where people were protesting, and marked them for the rest of us. This is a revolution of collaboration. Of solidarity.

The next night the crowd had doubled. Tonight we will be even more.

I come home from these protests euphoric. The first night I returned, I sat down on my couch and I burst into tears, as the act of resisting, loudly, with my neighbours, so joyfully, had released so much tension that I had been carrying around with me, fearing our government, fearing arrest, fearing for the future. I felt lighter. Every night, I exchange stories with friends online and find out what happened in their neighbourhoods. These are the kinds of things we say to each other: “if I loved my city any more right now, my heart would burst.” We use the word “love” a whole lot. We feel empowered. We feel connected. We feel like we are going to win.

Why don’t you write about this? This incredible feeling? Another example I can give you is this very blog. Myself and a few friends began it as a way of disseminating information in English about what was happening here in Quebec, and within hours, literally hours, volunteers were writing me offering to help. Every day, people submit translations to me anonymously; I have no idea who they are, they just want to do something. They come from everywhere. They translate what they think is important to get out there into the world. People email me corrections, too. They email me advice. They email me encouragement. This blog runs on solidarity and utter human kindness.

This is what Quebec looks like right now. Every night is teargas and riot cops, but it is also joy, laughter, kindness, togetherness, and beautiful music. Our hearts are bursting. We are so proud of each other; of the spirit of Quebec and its people; of our ability to resist, and our ability to collaborate.

Why aren’t you writing about this? Does joy not sell as well as violence? Does collaboration not sell as well as confrontation? You can have your cynicism; our revolution is sincere.


The Administrator of Translating the printemps érable.

Photo Credit: Monica Eileen Patterson


As a perfect illustration of the incredible collaborative and generous spirit that is emblematic of this movement, within two hours of posting the above letter, I received, unsolicited, the following translation of the song that is features in the video. This is who we are.


You tell them

You tell them

That it was instinct that

Drove you up to here.

You tell them

You tell them

That your senses were screaming

Deeply driven

By a strange force

Let it be your base camp.

Let it be your base camp.

You tell them

You tell them

That it was intuition that

Drove you up to here

A carelessness

So necessary every now and then

Let it be your base camp.

Let it be your base camp.

*Translated by Ian Truman, submitted by Mary Lee Maynard.

I fought Nazism,
I fought facism,
I hated Duplessis,
I didn’t make it to 94 years of age for this.
NO to bill 78!


Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.

*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.

anonymous said:

Puis-je savoir pourquoi es-tu contre le plq?

- Pour les mesures autoritaires qu’ils imposent par des lois qui passent comme des décrets
- Pour le mépris foncièrement anti-démocratique de la dissidence
- Pour ces 100 raisons-là.
- Pour l’assimilation culturelle et linguistique des québécois qu’ils ont le cullot de vanter.
-Parce qu’ils érigent le bilinguisme en langue officielle
- Parce qu’ils rampent devant l’establishment canadien
- Parce qu’il nous considèrent comme les exécutants asservies et dociles du colonialisme canadien; de la main d’oeuvre bon marché.
- Pour leur fédéralisme enculatif

Le concept? RÉVEILLER!

Tant sur le plan politique, social, démocratique que bien d’autres encore, la population québécoise se désintéresse peu à peu de la politique pour laisser place au cynisme, dûment entretenu par certain-ne-s de nos policiten-ne-s, chroniqueur-euses et commissions. Le peuple du Québec doit se lever afin d’exposer les vraies enjeux qui le touche. Car comme le dit un certain dicton, le seul vrai danger qui nous menace, c’est la passivité.

Toi, tu veux réveiller quoi? Joins-toi au mouvement!


We are still here. We are still fighting. We have not forgotten.

Let us be clear: it is a surprise to no one that the streets of Montréal, and the various cities and villages of Québec, have become quieter over these hot summer months. There have been various condescending explanations for this: some believe that the current protest movement is a bandwagon that has fallen out of vogue. Others treat us as a collection of spoiled babies who are easily distracted. Contrary to the bad faith and intellectually lazy cries that we should “just get a job” as an alternative to participating in our democracy, those of us who have been protesting for five months now are also people with jobs, families, and personal obligations. At the beginning of the summer, Jean Charest tried to place us in opposition to what “the people of Québec” wanted, as though we were on the outside looking in. But we are also the people of Québec, and we refuse such an attempt to divide us; over the past few weeks, we have been dancing at summer festivals, we have been taking weekends to go swim in beautiful and clear lakes, we have been drinking beer on terrasses, we have been working hard at our day jobs, and we have been doing this all while remaining profoundly committed to the social movement that has awoken our neighbourhoods, our cities, and our province. Enjoying the summer and committing to personal obligations does not mean abandoning the cause.

It is hard work, sustaining a social movement that engages not just students, but all members of québécois society. It is even harder doing so in light of a government that pours tens of thousands of our tax dollars (when supposedly there is no more money for education) into advertisements meant to marginalize us, and that uses us as a foil in their heavy-handed and paternalistic election campaign. It is also hard when our corporate media outlets, whose objectives are to generate profits for their owners, rather than to be accountable to the people for whom they are meant to provide a service vital to democracy, decide that our moment is over and that we are no longer exciting or “new” enough to sell newspapers or ad space. And finally, it is hard because even we get tired. It has been a long five months, and we are ordinary human beings. Even the most dedicated demonstrator needs to take a break every once in a while, maybe because of previously scheduled holiday plans, family obligations, or maybe just because they have spent five months working 8 or more hours in the day and then taking to the streets every night, which is an exhausting combination both physically and psychologically.

For all of these reasons and for many more, we would like to counter the myth that the movement is over, or that it has died down, or that it is losing momentum. It is a mistake to assess this movement in purely quantifiable terms. We are more than the number on the street on any given night and our tenacity cannot be measured by the size and visibility of our donned red squares.

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Ce sacré sénat!

S’il y a une institution qui est fort contestée depuis aussi longtemps qu’elle existe, c’est bien le sénat canadien.

En effet, d’autant plus ces dernières décennies et années, d’autant plus avec les datismes et touniolures  dont usent les politiciens pour décrire leur position face à cet organe ; tout le monde commente, mais peu s’attardent réellement à l’institution en soit et à son rôle, s’il en est un, si ce n’est que légitimement d’ailleurs, critiquer l’abscons et même spécieux procédé de sélection de ses membre, leur « durée de mandat » et leur salaire qui en fait rêver plusieurs.

D’abord, sachons que le bicaméralisme de type britannique a toujours de mise dans ses colonies et proposée comme chambre haute, à ‘instar de la pairie française, une chambre formée par la noblesse.

Bien qu’il y eu bien une noblesse canadienne (voir mon dossier là-dessus), les visés étaient tout autres au Canada. En fait, la classe dirigeante anglophone, mais surtout les anglo-québécois, souhaitaient s’assurer une chambre qui serait résolument anglaise et où ils pourraient s’assurer des sièges et un pouvoir. Parce que du pouvoir, le sénat, il en a contrairement à ce que beaucoup pensent!

Le Sénat a en gros, les mêmes pouvoirs que la chambre des communes, à l’exception de celui d’amener (bien qu’ils les votent) des projets de lois de levées de taxes et d’impôts. Le Sénat, tout comme la Chambre des communes, peut proposer et adopter tout projet de loi, en plus d’avoir le privilège de voter une seconde fois les projets de loi des communes, sans quoi, ces derniers seront illégaux et ne pourront être soumis à la sanction royale (le gouverneur général) et ne pourront entrer en vigueur. L’inverse est aussi vrai.

En Outre, les sénateurs canadiens perçoivent une rémunération annuelle de base de 132 300,00 $, ne sont pas élus (nommés par le gouvernement) et restent en poste jusqu’à l’âge de 75 ans (avant, c’était à vie) et c’est sans compter la représentation non-proportionnelle (seul le Québec est proportionnellement représenté), autrement, le nombre de sénateur par habitant varie d’un pour 26 745 habitants au Nunavut, à un pour 651 290 habitants en Colombie-Britannique.

À ses origines, le Sénat était réservé aux très bien nantis et composé essentiellement d’anglophones avec quelques sbires francophones de service, rappelons ici qu’il était nécessaire de disposer de 4000 $, ce qui est toujours le cas aujourd’hui, sauf qu’à l’époque (1867) , quelqu’un possédant 4000 $ était l’équivalent contemporain d’un millionnaire.

Maintenant, la question qui tue, devrait-on réformer ou supprimer le sénat ?

Personnellement, non seulement en regard de l’histoire de cette institution souventes fois anglophile à outrance et ayant parfois été le repère d’une élite faisant montre d’une vicieuse francophobie, pour rester poli, mais aussi, parce qu’aux premiers abords, dans une démocratie moderne, ce n’est pas le genre d’institution qui a sa place, j’aurais logiquement tendance à opiner en ce sens.

Ce serait toutefois ignorer l’évolution du sénat depuis les années 1960. En effet, ce dernier s’est réellement redéfini, à mon sens, en une assemblée hétérogène, composée de gens issus de milieux différents (artistes, sportifs, scientifiques, politiciens, entrepreneurs, etc.), habituellement chefs de file dans leur domaine respectif et ayant à leur actif des expériences, des passions et des intérêts aussi différents que captivants, en plus de pouvoir assurer une certaine représentation à des minorités charnières dans l’histoire du pays telles que les francophones hors-Québec et les Autochtones. Donc un genre d’assemblée d’experts en leur domaine et qui permet de jeter un regard différent sur les affaires canadiennes et d’amener aussi des sujets qui ne le seraient pas aux Communes. Une caractéristique de moins en moins vraie avec Stephen Harper qui ne fait que nommer des gens que les citoyens tiennent trop en horreur pour élire, ou encore, des gens peu politisés qui ont une certaine crédibilité dans un sujet particulier en plus d’une certaine sympathie aux yeux du peuple et qui ne seront nommés que dans le but de défendre une politique impopulaire du gouvernement.

D’ailleurs, parenthèse, c’est ironique de constater que si jadis ce furent les anglophones les surreprésentés, ce sont aujourd’hui les francophones qui sont surreprésentés, avec à peu près 15 % de francophones hors-Québec (ils forment à peu près 5 % de la population), une proportion qui était plus forte il y a quelques temps et qui n’a cesse de diminuer proportionnellement à la durée de mandat des conservateurs à Ottawa.

Réformer le Sénat éliminerait définitivement ce caractère unique au sénat, dont même les sociétés anciennes telles que la civilisation grecque approuvaient. Réformer le Sénat ferait dans certains contextes renforcer de façon abusive le pouvoir du gouvernement central, alors que dans d’autres, il ne ferait, comme aux États-Unis que nous faire stagner et nous empêcher d’avancer.

En conclusion, bien que je sache maints avantages au Sénat, ces derniers sont désormais remis en cause par le mandat conservateur. Le réformer, serait empirer la situation. Je crois donc que bien qu’il soit encore souhaitable de le maintenir, pour le moment du moins, dans un avenir où le sénat sera de nouveau un temple des politicailleries partisanes, mieux vaudrait l’abolir carrément.

interview — Anarchopanda on street politics in Montréal & international solidarity

Listen to an interview with Montréal based political activist Anarchopanda. This is a wide ranging interview that begins by exploring the coming battle against violent austerity measures that are now being implemented by the Parti libéral du Québec. Looking at contemporary political struggles in Québec, Anarchopanda speaks also about the struggle to overturn the P6 bylaw that bans free demonstrations in the city and the enduring echo of the 2012 Québec student uprising. Specifically Anarchopanda explores the importance of the grassroots, student movement demand for la gratuité scolaire.

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C’est juste un mauvais rêve…on va se réveiller.
Fuck off qu’on va rester assis sur nos fesses à regarder tout ça arriver. Fuck off, je resterai pas avec ce goût amer, ce goût de vomi de vivre avec un gouvernement aussi crade. J’me suis pas battu pour ça, j’ai pas été flash, flash bombé, grèver ou même passer mes soirées, mes journées à manifester pour revoir tout ça recommencer. Je me suis battu, battu à m’en scrapper la santé et je vois tout ça arriver. J’ai mal, j’ai mal en esti.

La jeunesse aura ta peau. J’y crois.

"We remain unmoved by telling ourselves that later on, we're going to charge" (Journal de Montréal)

A police officer of the rapid deployment force reveals his state of mind 

Daniel Renaud  Journal de Montréal   May 25, 2012

Original French Text:

[Trans. note: We absolutely do not condone what is said in this interview, but rather we share it so that people can see the rationalizations being made by the police in the context of Bill 78, police violence, and mass arrests.]

Montreal’s police force has been subjected to a frenzied rate of interventions over the past three months. 

Night after night, officers of Montreal police force’s anti-riot squad might be considered “robots” by protesters, yet they are humans who also have their own fears, their own feelings, and their own opinions on the student conflict that has lasted for three months now. The Journal sat down with one of them and has summarized the interview in this Q&A. 

How can you remain staunchly unmoved in front of protesters who insult you and hurl objects at you? 

"We are trained for that. We hold back by telling ourselves that our boss will soon give us the order to charge. It’s our candy. What pisses us off the most is when we’re hit by objects and our officers don’t give us the order to charge."

Do you hesitate to use your truncheon and are you afraid of hurting someone? 

"No, we have no hesitation. However, we are trained to know how to hit and not hurt someone. We aim for the stomach, the front of the thighs and the arms, for example". "When a protest is declared illegal, people have no more business there. They can raise their arms in the air and give us peace and love signs as much as they want, they’re gonna be arrested anyways". "The guys call it National Geographic because when we charge, the kids run like gazelles! The kids find us athletic despite the 65 pounds we’re carrying on our backs."

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Tantôt, je marchais vers le métro quand deux femmes avec des dépliants de QS m’ont interpellé.Gentillement je dis que j’ai déjà voté avant-hier par anticipation et elle me répondent que je pourrais découvrir leur plateforme.

Et à ce moment je me retourne et je leur dit que j’ai voté pour eux avec un tumb up et awesome comme elles étaient, elles m’ont lancé un merci à l’unisson accompagné de jolis pouces en l’air.

J’aime Qs.

Denouncing law 78 (CA-OM-SC section locale 1983) [STM bus drivers' union]

Original text:

This morning your executive decided, unanimously, to strongly denounce Law 78, adopted by the government last week. This law is unprecedented in that it is now necessary to have the police’s authorization for any gathering of more than 50 people. Such a requirement is undermining citizens’ fundamental right to express themselves and to demonstrate in public.

Ultimately, this law could harm the actions taken by the trade union movement. It could become very difficult, for example, to demonstrate in the future against the PPP. Remember the events in 2005 when nearly 1,000 members from 1983 participated? Today, these demonstrations of our dissatisfaction would be illegal …

You have all heard about peaceful protests where police acted savagely against citizens. And even against customers at a bar’s terrace that had nothing to do with these events. These individuals could be your friends, your children or yourself!

Have you ever wondered how officers were transported to the sites of their aggressive interventions?? Unfortunately, we must regret that they used STM buses… Your Executive ask you to no longer transport police and consider other options.

We invite you to visit the following links so you can measure the extent of police actions. [see link for videos]

Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.

*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.