mail iconContact the collective

mail icon Return to top



AFÉA-UQÀM Association facultaire des étudiants en arts de l'UQÀM (Association of Students in Arts-UQAM).

AFESPED Association facultaire étudiante de science politique et droit de l'UQAM (Faculty Association of Political Science and Law Students at UQÀM).

APAQ Assemblée populaire autonome de quartier (Popular, autonomous neighbourhood assembly)

ASSÉ Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (Association for a solidary student unionism), a Québec-wide association of university and CEGEP student unions known for its use of direct democracy and its generally more radical position than the three other comparable organizations, FECQ, FEUQ, and TaCEQ.


Beauchamp, Line The Minister of Education, Sports and Leisure under Charest's Liberal government until she resigned on May 14, 2012, and was replaced by Michelle Courchesne.

Bed-in A bed-in is a common practice in striking CEGEPs, in which students occupy a large space such as a cafeteria or gym overnight in order to hold strong picket lines the next morning.

Bill 78/Law 12 (La loi spéciale, the special law) was passed as an emergency measure in May 2012 to crush the student protests and break the strike. In addition to banning protests that occured near educational institutions or without a permit and essentially decreeing a lockout of striking institutions until August, it made encouraging others to violate the law—or even failing to discourage student union members from breaking the law—punishable by crushing fines.


Casseroles, literally pots and pans, refers to a form of neighbourhood-based protest (inspired by the Latin American cacerolazos) that became the symbol of resistance to Bill 78/Law 12.

CEGEPs are post-secondary educational institutions unique to Québec. Students attending a CEGEP opt for either a 3 year technical program or a 2 year pre-university program. With the exception of a few private institutions, CEGEPs are provincially funded and students do not pay tuition.

Carré Rouge or Red Square. Often a piece of red fabric or tape worn on one's person. An ironic visual symbol that plays off the expression "carrément dans le rouge"—"squarely in the red". While the symbol was invented by Québec's anti-poverty movement circa 2004, it was quickly taken up by the student movement during the major 2005 strike against cuts to student financial aid. It remains a powerful symbol of student and anti-austerity struggles in Québec.

CASSÉE Coalition de l'ASSÉ élargie (Wider ASSÉ Coalition), the 2005 equivalent of CLASSE. A play on the word "cassé(e)" which can mean broken or broke (i.e. a person, financially speaking).

Charest, Jean. Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1993 to 1998, after which he became the leader of Liberal Party of Québec, and Québec's premier from 2003 until the elections in September 2012. As premier, he strongly defended the tuition hikes, the Plan Nord, and other fees and cuts.

CLAC The Convergence des luttes anti-capitalistes, Montreal's Anti-Capitalist Convergence, a loose convergence of activists known for organizing the annual May Day demonstration in Montreal. During the strike, they issued callouts for anti-capitalist contingents at the night marches and most large demonstrations.

CLASSE Coalition large de l'ASSÉ (Large coalition of the ASSÉ) was a body formed specifically for the 2012 strike. CLASSE included striking unions that were not members of ASSÉ but banded together for strategic reasons during the mobilization period.

Coalition opposée à la tarification et la privatization des services publiques (Coalition Against Fees and Privatization in Public Services) brought together students, trade unionists, health workers, feminists, and anti-poverty activists, using both media tactics and direct action to oppose the broader context of cuts and fees (to health services, daycares, and employment insurance) within which the tuition hike occurred.

CSPE-UQAM Comité de soutien aux parents etudiants (Student Parent Support Committee-UQAM)

CRÉPUQ Conseil des recteurs et principaux des universités du Québec, the lobbying organization made up of all the university administrations in Québec until its collapse in 2013. Strongly pro-hike.

CUTV (Concordia University Television), an independent university-community media source that provided some of the most diligent reporting on the strike, most notably streaming video from most of the demonstrations.


Estrie Contre la Hausse (Estrie Against the Hike) According to their Facebook page, Estrie contre la hausse is a group of "citizens, parents, teachers, artists, activists, politicians and workers from all walks of life." They supported the student movement in 2012. Estrie is the region east of Montreal of which Sherbrooke is the main city.


FECQ Féderation étudiante collégiale du Québec (Collegial Student Federation of Québec), the more hierarchical, less radical provincial-level student organization for CEGEP associations. Many of FECQ's member unions also joined CLASSE during the strike.

FEUQ Féderation étudiante universitaire du Québec (University Student Federation of Québec), the university-level provincial organization known for its hierarchical structure and less radical politics, marked by the decision in 2005 to negotiate with the government in the absence of ASSÉ and accept, on behalf of the entire student movement, a settlement that was far less than the demands which had been put forth.


GA (General assembly), the basic unit of ASSÉ's direct democracy model, a meeting open to all members of a union, APAQ, or other body at which motions can be introduced, debated, and voted on by an open show of hands. General assemblies are often the highest legislative body of an association; for example, strike votes must be passed by the general assembly to be binding.

GGI Grève générale illimitée (Unlimited General Strike), originally a name for the strike tactic more generally, #GGI became the hashtag denoting the 2012 student strike specifically.

Green (square) Chosen in opposition to the red square, the green square (and by extension the colour green) came to symbolize support for the hikes.


Habs The Montreal Canadiens hockey team; also short for Habitants, the name that was in use between the 17th and 20th centuries for the French settlers in the region that is now Québec.                                                                  

Hydro-Québec The national electricity utility in Québec; for some, a symbol of the welfare state and Québec nationalism, but also a symbol of the colonialism and resource exploitation of the Plan Nord, in which Hydro-Québec's dams, often built on land claimed by Indigenous peoples, figure prominently. The Hydro-Québec headquarters were the target of several economic disruptions due to its status as a state-run corporation.


IRIS Institute de Recherche sur l'Information Socio-Economique (Institute for Socio-economic Research), a left-leaning think tank, produced policy analysis reports that provided many of the arguments against the hike.


Kettling A police tactic of surrounding a large group of protesters to detain and/or arrest them all and/or issue them all fines.


Manifestation (manif, for short), alternately translated as protest or demonstration. Variations include manif-action, a demonstration leading to an unannounced blockade or disruption of a strategic location, and maNUfestation, a naked (or semi-naked) demonstration. Why not?

Mères en colère et solidaires (Angry Mothers in Solidarity), one of many groups of non-student allies that popped up to support the student movement. Based primarily in Montreal.

Métro, Montreal's underground subway system, site of La Ligne Rouge, a daily performance art piece in which silent red-clad commuters boarded each car of the subway between Montreal's two major francophone universities during the morning rush hour; of political profiling of red square-wearers, especially during the F1 Grand Prix; and of several smoke device detonations, the last of which resulted in criminal and anti-terrorism charges against three people.

MDE Movement pour le Droit à l'Éducation (Movement for the Right to Education), a former provincial-level student association with relatively radical politics; in other words, a predecessor of ASSÉ.

Mob Squad The name most commonly used for student mobilization committees on English-language campuses in Montreal during the strike (Concordia and McGill universities as well as Vanier College). Mob Squads typically benefitted from less support (material and political) from local student associations than mobilization committees in other, French-language campuses.


Nude demonstrations see Manufestation.


Parents contre la hausse (Parents Against the Hike) Like Mères en colère et solidaires, an autonomous group of supporters that was visible in many marches and creative actions against the hike.

PLQ Parti libéral du Québec (Liberal Party of Québec), the party in power at the beginning of the 2012 strike under Premier Jean Charest, which originally proposed the tuition hike.

Printemps Érable (Maple Spring), a pun on the printemps arabe, Arab Spring, this term became popular to suggest that the movement encompassed more than just a student strike.

PQ Parti Québecois, the nationalist party that came to power in the provincial elections of September 2012, riding on professed support for the students' demands which was fleeting once the elections were over.


QPIRG/GRIP (Québec Public Interest Research Group) PIRGs are student fee-funded incubators and resources for campus/community social justice-oriented groups and projects, including anti-racist and economic justice work.

Quiet Revolution, known in French as la révolution tranquille, the 1960s were marked by the rise of nationalist politics in Québec, which led to the creation of a welfare state that took over education and healthcare from the Catholic Church and nationalized electricity production (see Hydro-Québec). The turn of the 1970s saw the creation of the UQ system and Opération McGill, a 10,000 person union-driven march against McGill University's linguistic and economic elitism, which was ultimately unsuccessful.


Referendum Although there have been many in Québec's history, this most commonly refers to the 1980 and 1995 referenda for some form of Québec nationhood.

RNE Rassemblement national étudiant (National Student Gathering), Held in the summer of 2011, the RNE brought together all student unions in Québec to strategize for 2011-2012. It set important terms for competing branches of the student movement to work together.


Salon du Plan Nord (Plan Nord Salon), a job fair and networking event for the Liberal government's northern development plan of corporate natural resource extraction, which faced opposition from environmentalists and Indigenous activists (and still does, in its revised form under the PQ government). The Salon was the site of massive student and anti-colonial demonstrations that forced its closure.

SAQ Société des alcools du Québec (Québec Liquor Control Board), As a state-run corporation, the SAQ depot was targeted for economic disruptions that would impact the government directly.

SPVM Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (City of Montreal Police Department).

SQ Sureté du Québec (Québec Provincial Police) serves as the principal police force in Québec's regions, and was brought in to Montreal to serve as backup once the balance of power between student protesters and the SPVM tipped too far in the protesters' favour.


UQÀM University du Québec à Montréal (University of Québec at Montreal) is a part of the UQ system, which was designed to make education more accessible for first-generation and francophone students, and a historical bulwark of student organizing.

UQO Université du Québec en Outaouais is the branch of Québec's public university system in Gatineau and Hull, across the river from Ottawa, Canada's capital.