Introduction

The narrative of student activism in Quebec is complex and has a rich history, and this is our attempt at passing that history on through a public forum. By beginning with the personal archival material of former McGill Principal H. Rocke Robertson, we have pieced together the story of the major student protests that took place in Quebec in the 1960s.

We examine the student side of the protest movement, including their goals and strategies. We also look at the administration through a biography of Principal Robertson and an examination of what action the administration took surrounding the movement. Student activism does not exist in a local vacuum, so we look at the global context of student activism as well.

Finally, we attempt to place the student movement of the 1960s within the larger temporal context of student activism in Quebec by comparing it to an event many of us are familiar with: the Quebec student protests in 2012. A comparison of events and results is followed by a comprehensive look at the nature and role of McGill Daily in both the 1960s and in 2012. The goal is for these comparisons to help modern audiences understand the legacy of the 1960s protests.

The student protests in Quebec in the late 1960s were a key moment in student activism that showed Canadians, Quebec residents and the students themselves how powerful student movements can be and how mobilized students can really be. We hope you enjoy our public history.

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