Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Labor and Austerity in Québec: Lessons from the Maple Spring

Document type Article
Author Collombat, Thomas
Journal Labor Studies Journal
Volume 39
Date 2014 06 1
ISSN 0160-449X
Pages 140-159


During the Spring of 2012, Québec experienced one of the most important social movements of its contemporary history. The Maple Spring started as a student protest against tuition fee hikes but ended up as a much broader social upheaval against austerity and the authoritarianism of the provincial government. This article investigates the role and position of the labor movement during the Maple Spring. It argues that the events of the Maple Spring demonstrate how the Québec labor movement was put under pressure by the politics of austerity and revealed its internal contradictions. More broadly, this article makes the case for a dialectical approach to understanding the labor movement that takes into consideration its internal diversity and tensions.