All Posts Tagged With: "François Legault"
What students are talking about today (January 30th)
1. Almost a year after the start of anti-tuition marches that shut down many Quebec university programs and later toppled the Jean Charest government, the new Parti Quebecois government says zero tuition is not currently feasible, surely disappointing many of the activists who got the PQ elected. Meanwhile, François Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, is trying to make the anti-tuition supporters heads explode by proposing a two-tier system of tuition in which the provinces “top four” universities—Montreal, McGill, Laval and Sherbrooke—would set their own tuition fees, while the remaining 14 would become much more affordable teaching-focused universities. The idea of two-tier education with research and teaching universities isn’t new and it isn’t very popular in Canada, but there’s a reason it never goes away—it could potentially work. Read more on Legault’s plan here.
Suit says not enough done to allow access to classes
A class-action lawsuit is being organized by young Quebecers frustrated because they say they were hurt by the province’s student strikes.
The motion to sue 25 universities and junior colleges, as well as the Quebec government, was announced Thursday by students and their lawyers.
The plaintiffs say not enough was done to let them have access to their classrooms and complete their courses.
One says she will get her nursing diploma six months late, which will cost her financially.
School restarts during final days of election campaign
Peter Rakobowchuk, The Canadian Press
As the Quebec election campaign enters its final week, the focus could switch back to the student protests that dominated headlines earlier this year.
The student issue has gotten such little attention so far that it was even ignored in the only televised debate featuring all four leaders.
It could be catapulted back to the foreground on Monday. That’s the day classes are resuming at many Quebec universities and there’s talk that students will again try to block classes.
Students should work harder, like Asians: Francois Legault
From The Canadian Press
It’s a unique campaign message: A man who aspires to be premier of Quebec has compared the province’s young people, unfavourably, to Asian kids.
Francois Legault says he doesn’t regret suggesting this week that young Quebecers are more interested in living “the good life” and could learn a thing or two from their harder-working Asian counterparts.
In fact, Legault dug in his heels Tuesday.
“I’m sticking to it,” he told reporters. “Right now in Quebec, we don’t value education and effort as much as we should.”
The leader of the new Coalition party first waded into the subject during a chat with an 85-year-old man during a campaign stop a day earlier. The man had lamented the work ethic of today’s youth, and Legault eagerly responded.
Legault said it was the opposite in Asia where, he said, parents want their kids to become engineers and actually need to stop them from studying at night because they nearly work themselves sick. He said if people in Asia keep working so hard while young Quebecers just want “the good life,” our society is in trouble.
Nothing to gain
University students in Quebec continued their fight against annual $325 tuition increases on Nov. 10, protesting in large numbers by skipping classes. Classes were even cancelled at Dawson College and students marched in the streets of Montreal.
It was well organized and peaceful. To get a sense of that, consider that marshals in fluorescent vests helped defuse the tense moments between protesters and police outside Charest’s Montreal office where things might have become violent. Although the sight of riot police on campus is always disturbing, there was only a small cadre of roughly 100 students outside the McGill Administration building when police moved in.
But as big and peaceful as the demonstration was, will it change anything?
Although the 2005 student strike ended with the government giving in to some student demands, Thursday’s much shorter “strike” takes place in a much less friendly political climate and a much more uncertain economy. Even as students were marching in Montreal, education minister Line Beauchamp stood up in the National Assembly to reiterate that students must pay “their fair share.”
It’s easy for her to have such bravado. Premier Jean Charest faces no threats on the left who might gain from angry student voters. The Parti Québécois, the only other party to have formed government in this province since the 1970s, is tearing itself apart.
At the moment, Charest’s biggest political threat comes from the right. François Legault, a former PQ cabinet minister, and his centre-right Coalition pour l’avenir du Québec (CAQ) are leading in recent polls. The Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ), a right-wing party with four seats in the National Assembly, is entering into formal negotiations with the CAQ concerning a potential merger.
Legault is on the record saying that students in programs which lead to higher paying jobs should pay more tuition. Considering that kind of thinking, it’s safe to bet that students wouldn’t find a CAQ government any more supportive of their demands.