Longest-ever Quebec student strike continues, despite injunctions and government offers


Quebec’s student strike, the longest ever in the province’s story, has now entered a crucial week without any resolution in view. The strike has dragged for eight weeks now, gathering almost half of the university and college population in the province against a $1,625 tuition hike ($325 a year for five years) proposed by the provincial government, which said Monday there are no talks scheduled to discuss the impasse. The Université de Montréal sent an email last week to its student body, telling them to return to class by Tuesday or face a lost semester, which can only be extended to June 15.

But the students have planned even more protests this week. On Monday, more than 1,000 gathered in downtown Montreal, in a movement the Quebec Federation of College Students (FECQ) and other student organizations are now calling the “Quebec Spring,” alluding to the sweeping revolutions that shook the Arab world last year. According to the Montreal Gazette, the students are also planning to launch a 12-hour protest on Wednesday against the tuition stalemate, and CTV reported a long march is planned for Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the provincial Liberal government, which is pushing the tuition increase.

The protests continue in Quebec, where tuition fees are the lowest in Canada (even with the proposed increase), in spite of court injunctions mandating picket lines to be dismantled and a recent offer from the government to implement changes to student loans, pegging them to the income of students and parents.

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Longest-ever Quebec student strike continues, despite injunctions and government offers

  1. I just did an interesting (to me) calculation:

    When I started university, way back in 1987, my tuition was $1600/yr.  This was in Nova Scotia, which had among the highest tuition costs in the country at the time (Ontario holds that honour now).  If I increase that rate at a compound 3%/year percentage to 2011, my tuition in 2011 dollars was $3252/year.

    The average tuition rates for students in Canada in 2011 is actually $5,366 (source:Statscan).  On average, university students today are paying proportionally 165% the tuition that I paid 24 years ago.  I’m certainly not going to tell them to shut up and take it, considering the distinct advantage that people my age had.  And I suspect “the editors” had the same advantage, if they are my age or older.

    • Quebec students CURRENTLY pay about 1600/yr for university…..

      • I know.  The reason for the unrest in Quebec is the sudden massive increases that Charest wants to push through.  With the ROC, the increased burden on the younger generation has been much more gradual process, which is why they’re not up in arms over that burden.

      • It’s more like 2100$, since it increased 100$/yr since 2007.
        Quebec has the lowest tuition fee average because it has much less private universities and college. Most universities and colleges are public.

        Plus, they’re increasing it based upon the average money spent by Canadian universities. There have been no real investigation about the real cost of the system.

        And I mean, when we see rectors raising their salaries by 100K$ in one year, I guess people just can’t stand paying more for those people.

  2. Go ahead and strike.  Soon you’ll lose your ability to pass your current courses.
    Quebec society mollycoddled and supported by the ROC.  Without help, Quebec would look like Greece.

    • Quebec is the only province who nationalized it’s power supply… That’s a whole lot of money waiting in infrastructures, not sure the Greeks had such things.

  3.  35% of post-secondary students isn’t exactly almost half. It’s more like a third of the student population. Also, in some institutions, like Universite de Montreal, only students who show up at the meetings are allowed to vote (unlike other institutions like McGill where ALL students get a chance to vote online). So, to lump all the students of the institutions as being against the tuition hike simply because the student voice consists of those who show up to General Assemblies is inaccurate.