Building the Whirlwind

The Montreal climate protest movement moment

The Montreal climate protest movement moment

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On September 27, 2019, 500,000 people took to the streets of Montreal, making it the city’s largest protest in history.  The 2019 climate moment was one of the biggest social movements in Quebec since the Printemps Érable or Maple Spring, the 2012 student movement to oppose tuition hikes. It remains Canada’s largest climate mobilization.

First, we delve into core questions about the events themselves intended to illuminate what was learned, to contribute to developing movement-building practices in Canada. What can we learn about how these relationships were built? Which roles did each of these actors play? What went well, and what was messy? 

We acknowledge that while organizing is rooted in place, some lessons will remain place-specific. But it would be limiting to believe that organizers in other provinces and territories in Canada, and even in other parts of the world, have nothing to learn from movement-building efforts in Quebec in 2019. 

Ultimately, this is a story about relationships: relationships between grassroots organizers and staffers...