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May 20, 2013

Difficult year for Quebec universities

(Continued)

Quebec’s Liberal Party government announced in its 2011 budget it would increase tuition $300 a year for five successive years starting in the fall of 2012, which would make tuition still only about half that in the other provinces.

That gave opponents too much time to gather their forces, Goldbloom said. It didn’t help that the policy was to take effect at about the same time of a general election in Quebec.

The Liberal Party government was also unlucky there was beautiful weather on the day of the first protest, he noted. More than 100,000 people, mainly students, took to the streets, followed by daily protests for weeks on end.

The Party Quebecois and unions supported the student protests, with some unions even paying for buses to transport protesters. 

Some students even went on strike and blocked others from attending classes. The crisis was temporarily diffused in spring 2012 when universities where students were on strike closed, with plans to reopen later in the year. 

The Party Quebecois won the election last year and rolled back the tuition increases. While it seems that ended the crisis, Goldbloom said, the universities are still dealing with the factors that led for a push for the increase in the first place. 

He believes those who can afford it should pay for a larger percentage of their education, with government subsidies for those who can’t.

“I think it’s going to be a long time before a new Quebec government takes on this issue,” Goldbloom said.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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