Sunday, September 16, 2007


Down east way the Liberal government of Jean Charest has decided to apply its neo-liberal screws to the students of Quebec, bringing in planned hike of tuition fees that will equal about 30% over the course of 5 years. This is a violation of a sort of social compact between the Quebec government and the people as tuition fees have been frozen since 1994. Kelly Ebbels reports in the McGill Daily, a student newspaper at McGill University in Montreal, that tuition is set to rise by $50 per semester for the five year period. She notes that there are presently three student unions in Quebec, all of which are opposed to the rate hike but which differ on tactics. The more left wing Association pour une solidarite syndicale etudiante (ASSE) represents about 40,000 students and is calling for the abolition of tuition fees, higher quality resources and services and free daycare. The more right wing Federation etudiante universitaire du Quebec (FEUQ),representing about 120,000 students, calls simply for the maintenance of the tuition freeze. Another group consisting of independent student unions such as McGill's SMMU disaffiliated from the FEUQ last fall and holds a position somewhere between the above two groups. This group also wishes tuition fees to be eliminated. Presently the provincial government refuses to negotiate with any group other than the FEUQ. The ASSE proposes to form the sort of coalition that spearheaded the 2005 student general strike in Quebec. All three groups are presently holding educational meetings in preparation for a proposed strike sometime in late October, a position not supported by the FEUQ.
For a general overview of the situation see the article in the McGill Daily.
For the viewpoint of the more radical ASSE see the article here.

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