All Posts Tagged With: "Jean Charest"
From the turmoil of Quebec to the rise of the West
It was a record year for Maclean’s On Campus with more readers than ever, but perhaps that’s unsurprising considering how much there was to talk about. Based on clicks and comments, here are the top five campus news stories of 2012.
1. Quebec student groups helped toss a government and won a tuition freeze.
In March, Quebec student groups declared war on a planned tuition hike of roughly $2,000 over five years. By April, students at 11 of Quebec’s 18 universities and 14 of its 48 CEGEPs had declared “strikes” and were skipping classes. There were nightly marches in Montreal that made life miserable for many who lived and worked downtown. Students who dared go to classes, even after judges orders allowing them to return, were stopped by masked protesters. The nightly marches started turning violent and threatened the tourism industry. Something had to be done.
Tuition freeze likely
The Parti Quebecois government appears to be challenging the notion that the province’s universities are under-funded, a tactic that could hold significant implications it prepares to hold a highly anticipated summit on education.
The government has promised to host a symposium in February aimed at finding a long-term solution to the challenge of university funding, an event that stems from a key PQ election pledge to cancel previously planned tuition hikes.
But it is now sending signals that universities might not actually require a financial boost.
Members of the government including Premier Pauline Marois have in recent weeks been repeatedly challenging the premise that the province’s universities are under-financed. On Thursday, the government even leaked a report to the media challenging that oft-repeated notion.
Quebec Liberal premier lost own seat in last night’s election
Jean Charest has decided to put an end to a stormy 28-year political career, including the last nine as Quebec premier.
Charest, a staunch federalist who served as federal Progressive Conservative leader before becoming Quebec Liberal leader in 1998, spent a good part of his announcement Wednesday praising Canada.
”We are all blessed to have been born in this country,” Charest told reporters at the national assembly.
But the longtime premier also hailed Quebecers, who elected him premier in 2003, 2007 and 2008.
”We are a people of dreamers but also builders,” he said.
Charest’s resignation will take effect in a few days when the Parti Quebecois officially takes power after its minority victory on Tuesday.
Chuck Norris, Quebec election and Stanley Cup rioters
1. Chuck Norris, known for on-screen martial arts and a certain intractable meme, has a message for Americans. If you love your family and freedom as much as he and his wife Gena do, don’t vote for Obama. America is headed toward “socialism or something much worse,” says Chuck. Gina predicts “a thousand years of darkness.”
2. A Quebec election, which was at least partly called to settle the nightly student protests against tuition, is happening today. Polls put Liberal Premier Jean Charest in third place, but this is Quebec so anything could happen. Charest does look especially desperate. He warned over the weekend that a Parti Quebecois government could jeopardize the chances of NHL hockey returning to Quebec City. Read full coverage here.
19 under investigation after disruptions by demonstrators
Quebec’s controversial back-to-school law was wielded for the first time ever by Montreal police after showdowns involving masked protesters disrupted the reopening of universities Monday.
Authorities opened investigations into 19 people at Universite de Montreal for allegedly violating provisions of Bill 78, a police spokesman said.
The announcement came on the first day of university as crowds of demonstrators entered classrooms, noisily banging on pots, pulling fire alarms and blowing on air horns while ordering students to leave.
At Universite du Quebec a Montreal, in particular, the crowds worked their way from one room to another, emptying classes in any faculty that had voted to keep striking. That led to confrontations with security, staff and those students who wanted to study.
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.
Women banned, Niki Minaj, “oversharing” and Jack Layton
1. Iran has banned women, who make up 60 per cent of its university students, from 77 subjects including accounting, engineering and pure chemistry. At the University of Tehran, forestry and mathematics are off limits too. Last year, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad considered segregating men and women entirely on campuses. Could this new ban be punishment for all the women who protested his apparent election fraud in 2009?
2. An Oklahoma high school valedictorian was denied her diploma because she said the word “hell” during her commencement speech and then refused to apologize. Kaitlin Nootbaar quoted a commencement speech from the Twilight series film Eclipse. “I quoted, ‘They ask us now what we want be and we say who the hell knows,’” she told The Toronto Star. She meant to say “heck.”
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.
Votes piling up to end strikes
Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press
The number of students on strike in Quebec dwindled considerably Monday as people at several colleges voted to end a civil-disobedience campaign that had earned international attention and been nicknamed the Maple Spring.
Following three more votes Monday to end the strike and one vote in favour of continuing student protests, the tally now stands at six to two among junior colleges, called CEGEPs in Quebec, in favour of returning to class.
The protests are not quite over. Some university faculties will remain on strike after votes in favour of continuing demonstrations. Some CEGEPs and university students have yet to vote.
Some students aren’t planning to go back to classes
Students in Quebec face a big decision right now. CEGEPs and universities are legally required to reopen before the end of August to finish off the terms that were put on hold when students boycotted classes to protest tuition hikes this spring. If they continue to skip, they’ll lose their semesters.
Almost all shuttered CEGEPs will reopen by Aug. 17. Universities will also reopen later in the month. The Université du Québec à Montréal, most widely affected by the boycotts, reopens Aug. 27.
Conveniently for Premier Jean Charest, there’s an election scheduled for Sept. 4., just a couple weeks after when—in his own words—the public must choose between classes and “the street.”
Battle lines are drawn
Ahead of an anticipated election call in Quebec, one of the smaller political parties has proposed a middle ground solution to the tuition crisis.
The Liberal government’s plan to raise tuition by $1,778 over the next seven years led to a student uprising so strong it prompted an emergency law.
François Legault, leader of the centre-right Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), proposed a tuition increase of $200 annually over five years. The CAQ’s increase would be $1,000 total. Legault also said new funding would be conditional on universities better managing their funds.
Police allege threat to blow up a mine
An Canadian professor who teaches at Boston College in Massachusetts is facing charges after allegedly threatening to bomb a mine during a trip to northern Quebec on July 3, reports The Boston Globe. Dominic Papineau, 35, also faces charges of possessing a hunting rifle without permits and possessing marijuana. Papineau told The Globe that he opposes private mine development, but that the comments about blowing up the mine were a joke. He was arrested along with five students on their way to the McGill University Subarctic Research Station. Rene Verret, a Quebec spokesperson, said that Papineau was there to protest Jean Charest’s Plan Nord.
Léo Bureau-Blouin will campaign for Parti Quebecois
Léo Bureau-Blouin, the former president of the moderate student group, Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ), will run as a Parti Quebecois (PQ) candidate in the riding of Laval-des-Rapides, reports LaPresse. The Parti Quebecois, led by Pauline Marois, supported the Red Square Movement, in which many students skipped classes and marched in the streets to protest a tuition increase of $1,778 over seven years. Bureau-Blouin will face Liberal Minister of Finance Alain Paquet in the Laval riding. The far-left party Quebec Solidaire of Amir Khadir was also very supportive of the student movement. Political pundits suggest an election may soon be called and that it would be a toss-up between Jean Charest’s embattled Liberals and the PQ under Marois.
Election speculation continues
With provincial elections looming, students in Quebec are back on the streets and making their voices heard. For the first time in weeks, thousands marched through downtown Montreal on Sunday to protest the provincial government’s proposed tuition hikes, the Gazette reports. Students have been protesting publicly for over five months, but the numbers had dwindled while students went home for the summer break.
While tuition hikes are the primary cause of the protests, students are also concerned about the government’s stance on environmental and economic policies, according to the CBC. In light of widespread speculation Quebec premier Jean Charest may call an election on August 1 for a vote in early September, student groups are trying to mobilize their followers to oust the Liberal Party.
“Our role will be to get out the vote. We think that if a larger number of young people go to the polls, we’ll have a government that’s more representative of Quebec society,” FECQ leader Éliane Laberge told the CBC.
Hikes reduce applications but aren’t unfair to the poor
There’s an endless debate in Canada about whether higher tuition causes fewer students to attend university. Those who fight tuition increases argue that high prices keep poorer students out.
New evidence from England suggests otherwise.
But before that, consider the hypothetical argument. Tina, a high school senior from a low-income family will apply to engineering if it’s going to cost her $2,000 per year, but won’t if it costs her $10,000. Her friend Paul, whose parents are wealthy, can afford to attend either way. So if tuition rises, Paul attends, graduates and gets a high-paying job. Tina goes to work at Zellers instead. The cycle of poverty continues.
It’s a good argument. It was also the ammunition used by those (mosty left-wingers) who fought tuition increases in Quebec by shutting down classes and marching in the streets.
The streets are quiet but plenty is happening
The nightly demonstrations against the Quebec government that crippled Montreal in the spring have dwindled to nearly nothing this summer. But that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Here are three important updates from the past few days:
1. Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUC), says that protesting students are now focused on defeating the Liberal government in the next election. (She also says the “strike” will resume when classes start up at 14 junior colleges (CEGEPs) and some universities on Aug. 17.) Pundits expect Premier Jean Charest to call a September election. At least the students and the government can agree on one thing—it will take an election to settle the dispute. See The Gazette.
John Geddes on Montréal
I admit I’ve always felt ambivalent about mass youth protest. I came along just after the Sixties generation, you see, and so my undergrad years fell in the early 1980s. My demographic coterie had heard about enough from our older siblings, high school teachers, and younger professors about changing the world by taking to the streets. It was getting a bit stale and sentimental. Pierre had rediscovered the virtues of a decent haircut. Phony Beatlemania had, we were given to believe, bitten the dust.
By the time the next round of serious street demos rolled around with the anti-globalization movement that hit the news big time with 1999’s “Battle of Seattle,” we were way past donning gas masks. Last year’s Occupy encampments forced some of us to alter our preferred dog-walking routes. I touch on all this to candidly frame the way I’ve watched, from afar, the Montréal protests: I can’t see my younger self in the images. So if my perspective seems detached to those, say, a decade older or younger than my 50 years, I think that could be partly a matter of my lack of nostalgia.
Much of Canada remains unmoved by Quebec
Quebeckers of all kinds have marched in the streets over the past week beating on casseroles. Some are making noise over the emergency Law, #78, which they say unduly restricts rights. Others are showing their anger over a planned tuition hike of $254 per year—the very thing that prompted paralyzing nightly protests in Montreal and Premier Jean Charest’s desperate response.
Just as Quebec student leaders and government negotiators sat down on Wednesday in Quebec City to continue talks to end the student “strike,” the rest of Canada was asked to show support for the pot-bangers by drumming on their own cookware at Casseroles Night in Canada events.
But turnout was modest, suggesting that (so far) the Rest of Canada is staying out of the fight.
An in-depth look at the nightly protests in Montreal
For the last month, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Montreal in what might be described as a schizophrenic display of righteous, pacifist outrage and opportunistic violence. Beginning at about 8 p.m. every night since late April, they gather at Place Émilie-Gamelin, a squared-off chunk of grass and outsized public chessboards formerly best known as downtown Montreal’s go-to spot for public drunkenness and illicit drugs. From there, the crowd marches off in a direction chosen by whoever happens to be in front. Purposefully, no one knows where the protest march is going.
Forget tuition. It’s all about Law 78 now.
For the past five days, it has begun each night at around eight p.m. Thousands of people across the City of Montreal step out of their homes, into the street, and start banging on pots and pans.
On Friday night in Saint-Henri, southwest of downtown, I watched a small crowd gather at the local metro station. The protest seemed to have no organizers—most had just followed the sound.
It was the same story on Sunday in the Plateau. People on balconies and staircases banged on pots and pans. At one intersection, a couple families marched around in a little circle.