The Quebec tuition protests and the election

By Alex Veeneman on July 13, 2012

Protests on tuition fees in the Canadian province of Quebec.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr user shahk)

Students in the Canadian province of Quebec have been protesting over the past year on the issues known as tuition, in response to plans announced by the Quebec government to increase the costs of tuition. At the end of May, talks broke down after 16 weeks of strikes against the plan, which was originally an increase of $254 a year for seven years, according to a report from the CBC.

Now, there is speculation that an election in the province is to be called, and the student tuition issue is likely to become an integral part of the campaign, as officials with the organization CLASSE have been discussing election strategies, according to a report from The Globe and Mail. “We’re anticipating that he is to make an election call in August,” said Monique Muise, a reporter with the Montreal Gazette who has been covering the Quebec protests. Muise added that the main goal by the student groups will be to increase the awareness to vote once the election is called.

Muise added that the groups wanted to have a free education, a view that the government does not agree with.

CLASSE spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said according to The Globe and Mail that calling an election would be cynical. “He knows very well that his party has been elected in the past when turnout has been low,” Nadeu-Dubois said. “That’s the gamble he’s taking. Let’s hope it trips him up this time.”

Negotiations occurred over sixteen weeks and then broke down. Because of the continued political fallout over the tuition rise, it will be a part of the campaign moving forward. Come the fall, if the speculation of a call for an election becomes true, the tuition protests will be at the epicenter. The groups will be at the heart of the campaign.

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