Unrest of Maple Spring ‘behind us’: Marois

Unclear how many will participate in today’s protest

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is declaring that unrest in her province related to student protests is over, one year and one week after it began.

Marois says the debate over tuition-fee hikes that saw protests sweep Quebec is “now behind us.”

Speaking at an education summit in Montreal, the newly elected premier conceded that her small tuition hikes won’t please everyone — neither the more militant protesters, nor the more cash-hungry university administrators.

But she is expressing hope that she’s managed to bring some social peace to the province.

The first student strikes began in mid-February of last year, and they grew into a social movement that saw nightly street marches and made headlines around the world.

At issue was the $1,625 tuition increase over five years planned by the previous Liberal government. The new PQ government has announced, at a just-concluded education summit, that it will increase tuition by only one-fifth that amount — or roughly $350 over five years.

The government’s solution is far from having pleased everyone.

Some university administrators are upset that their schools risk years of under-funding. Also, a number of students call the three-per-cent annual increases unacceptable.

More protests are planned in the province, starting today. It’s not yet clear how many student groups, and protesters, will participate in them.




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