The Doors Open

Charest, Beauchamp Offer Alternative to $1625 Hike

  • After 11 weeks of strike action, the Charest government has offered a new deal to students. Photo Corey Pool

Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Education Minister Line Beauchamp announced a tweaked alternative to planned tuition fee increases at a press conference on April 27.

In an attempt to calm the waters of a province stricken by 11 weeks of non-stop student action, the Premier announced a set of alterations to its intended $1625 tuition increase over five years—instead stretching the increase to $1778 over seven years.

In addition to a slower tuition increase, the government is offering an extra $39 million to bursaries and loans, as well as making loan payments proportional to income.

The government also proposed the creation of a special council to oversee the management of Quebec universities, as well as a committee that could include students to study the impact of the hikes.

In reaction to increasing student actions and now nightly demonstrations that have seen over 100 people arrested this week, Charest expressed that the government “will never agree to act, or to concede, under the threat of violence and blackmail.”

Both Charest and Beauchamp encouraged students to put an end to the now 11-week strike.

“For 50 cents a day, it strikes me that it’s no longer time to compromise their diplomas,” said Beauchamp, referring to the per-day cost of the hikes to students.

However, some students are already calling this latest attempt by the government an insult, and expressing that this negotiation will not be accepted by any group.

The Coalition Large d’ASSE (CLASSE) said on Twitter that these alternatives still do not respond adequately to the demands of students on strike.

Student groups have expressed that they need time to discuss these new measures, however several Facebook groups indicate plans for another night of protest.

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