Major victory for Quebec students! Tuition fee hike & anti-protest bills withdrawn! « Education Activist Network
Students and their supporters throughout the Canadian province of Quebec are celebrating the ousting of Liberal Premier Jean Charest, the withdrawal of Bill 78 and most importantly the freeze in tuition fees. This victory comes after six months of student strike involving more than 190 000 students.
Quebec students who already paid the lowest tuition fees across North America were faced with a 75% tuition fee increase. Even if the planned increase had gone ahead, Quebec students still would have pay less than in any other Canadian province. Why? Quebec students have a strong tradition of fighting for free education since the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. And if you fight you can win!
During the six month –long strike many the demonstrations held on the 22nd of each month reached up to 500 000 protesters. However, it was the roughly180 local unions organised in CLASSE which carried the fight from day to day shutting down the Port of Montreal, ministerial meetings and nearly all classes in post-secondary education across the province.
In the face of state repression, the use of tear gas, shock grenades, the arrest of thousands of protesters, and riot police in college corridors, students didn’t buckle but instead called upon workers and the neighbourhoods to join in nightly pots and pans protests, the casseroles. Charest’s unpopular Bill 78 acted as a catalyist for the student movement to turn into a popular movement.