In 1972, Matthew Coon Come, a young Cree student, happened upon a newspaper article that proclaimed Quebec’s ‘hydroelectric project of the century’. Looking at a map attached to the article, Matthew realized that his community’s lands in northern Quebec were to be submerged by the proposed dam. It was in this way that the Cree learned of the upcoming assault to their land that had been commissioned by the Quebecois government. The Cree are an aboriginal people that reside in northern Quebec, around the mouth of James Bay.
Following World War I, Canada was suffering massive unemployment and inflation. A wave of unsuccessful strikes across Canada, the 1917 overthrow of the Tsarist regime in Russia, and the growth of revolutionary industrial unionism created an atmosphere of labor unrest in a country that had almost no labor regulations.
In March 1919, diverse labor leaders met in Calgary in Western Canada to discuss the creation of an industrial union to be called the One Big Union to work for higher wages, improved working conditions, official union recognition and collective bargaining.
Beginning in 1983, students and student allies at the University of Toronto began creating the organizational structures needed to pressure the University to divest from South Africa. Students created an Anti-Apartheid Network, or AAN, drawing membership from the Student Christian Movement, the Communist Club, the African and Caribbean Students’ Association, and the New Democratic Party Club. The group had large support among the student body from very early on, but gained no traction with the University administration.
In the winter of 2004, the Charest Government of Quebec cut $103 million in grants for low-income students at Quebec universities and CEGEP (junior colleges). The Quebec people disliked the Charest government to begin with, and in early December, students threatened to go on strike.
On the western coast of Vancouver Island, fir, cedar and spruce trees fill the rainforest of Clayoquot Sound, one of the last, large, untouched forests in British Columbia (B.C.). In April of 1993, Michael Harcourt, the province's premier, announced that logging companies, mainly MacMillan Bloedel, had the permission to clear-cut, a logging process of cutting down trees, sixty two percent of Clayoquot land. Harcourt argued that his decision exemplified how industry and environment could work together.
In September of 1995, international negotiations began on a draft agreement called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). The document was being negotiated by members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The stated goals of the agreement were to establish a set of multilateral rules for foreign investment that would govern the process in a more structured, systematic way. Up until the draft, foreign investment agreements were established on a country-by-country bilateral basis.
At its height, the Quebec General Strike in the spring of 1972 was the largest strike in North America’s history. The strike, which involved over 250,000 public and private service workers, was a very important moment in Quebecers’ self-determination and struggle for rights. Planning of the strike had been in motion since 1970, when Quebec’s three main union federations held joint meetings to discuss ways in which they could work together to address common struggles. At the time, many of Quebec’s working class felt disenchanted with and ignored by the government.
Across much of the world during the mid-1980s, students on university campuses led boycott, divestment, and other solidarity campaigns targeting the apartheid government of South Africa. This solidarity movement played a fundamental role in the ultimate dismantling of the apartheid state, spawning institutional and governmental pressure beyond just educational institutions. This student-catalyzed movement emerged around 1985, and by 1990, with the release of Nelson Mandela, most of the groups' campaigns were successful.
The direct action campaign against nuclear testing in Amchitka Island began with an organization called the Society for Pollution and Environmental Control (SPEC), which grew from a group of ecologists, journalists, and activists in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. When the United States announced an underground test of a 1-megaton nuclear bomb on Amchitka Island, Alaska, SPEC began their protests.