Quebec party proposes middle ground on tuition

Battle lines are drawn


Photo by Tim & Selena Middleton/Flickr

Ahead of an anticipated election call in Quebec, one of the smaller political parties has proposed a middle ground solution to the tuition crisis.

The Liberal government’s plan to raise tuition by $1,778 over the next seven years led to a student uprising so strong it prompted an emergency law.

François Legault, leader of the centre-right Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), proposed a tuition increase of $200 annually over five years. The CAQ’s increase would be $1,000 total. Legault also said new funding would be conditional on universities better managing their funds.

The compromise position may appeal to some, but it was panned by all three student groups that organized class boycotts and nightly marches from February to July. From the Montreal Gazette:

No one seemed surprised when the most militant of the student groups, the Coalition large de l’association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE), quickly tweeted its displeasure with Legault’s proposal — but the more moderate Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) and Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) rejected the CAQ proposal as well.

If nothing else, Legault’s stab at resolving the protracted dispute seemed to show that the conflict will likely be one of the dominant issues in the anticipated election campaign. And it showed how the campaign may unfold, with the Liberals and the Coalition Avenir Québec supporting some kind of tuition hike and the Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire on the opposing side, with QS calling outright for free education.

Premier Jean Charest’s Liberals face a fight, especially from the left-leaning Parti Québécois (PQ) under Pauline Marois, who supported the movement against tuition increases. Quebec’s legislature comprises 64 Liberals, 47 PQ, nine CAQ, one QS, one Option Nationale and two independents.


Quebec party proposes middle ground on tuition

  1. I am from vancouver and i supports the students of Quebec in their fight against the Liberal Gov.of Quebec concerning tuition fees.We are not living in a third world country so there is no reason that university students should have to pay to go to university.
    What it comes down to is that education is not a priority for the gov.and it never was.It is time for a change.This is not the 19th century it is the 21th.Students as well as the working class always had to fight for their rights.All progressive people and unions in canada should support these heroic students in Quebec.

  2. I am a grandmother from Victoria and I support the Quebec students in their fight against tuition fees. It is always the students from lower income families like mine used to be (single parent since my children were 6 and 10) and middle income families who have children with huge student loans – rich kids have mommy and daddy who can pay.

    Higher income families can afford to help their children and those young people can participate and in turn earn higher incomes. Not true for children of low income families and for many middle income families. They incur huge student debt that eat up their higher incomes earned by their hard work for their education. This creates barriers. It can make it very difficult for them to own homes and start families and it really slows what they contribute to the economy because they are limited by their debt.

    Let’s not forget that these are our tax dollars. The rich dodge their tax bill and under Harper’s government, corporate taxes have gone from 16.8% to 10.3% annually. The corporations are not paying their fair share. Our young people are carrying the tax burden for the rich and the corporations in their increased student debt to name but one example. There are many more. Every Canadian citizen should have equity of access to the skills needed to participate in our economy and it is a lie to say our young people do. Huge student debt is not equity of access.

    Our country needs an educated work force as we move forward in the knowledge economy. Our tax dollars should be supporting the cost of educating the workers our economy needs. There should be equity of access to those skills. This is Canada.
    (Even if the official government of Canada website identifies our government as Stephen Harper’s government. Does that mean we are living in Harperland? How do I move to Canada?)

Sign in to comment.