Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Quebec students reject tuition hike deal

Riot police fired a CS gas grenade during a student protest outside the convention of the Quebec Liberal Party on May 4.

Source: Press TV

Students in Canada’s eastern province of Quebec have voted against the government’s deal on tuition hikes in the provincial universities, promising to continue their three-month strike.

Some 10 student associations from across Quebec rejected the government’s proposed deal on Tuesday, a day after a dozen other organizations voted against the initial agreement to end the students’ 13-week strike.

Under the provisional agreement, university fees would increase $1,780 over seven years, or about $254 a year, bringing the total to $4,000 per year. The plan is scheduled to be effective from 2012-13 until 2016-2017 academic years.

The vote came after the student leaders and government officials agreed on a draft version of the agreement on the weekend. Although student leaders refused to support the deal, they agreed to present it to the members of associations.

Just hours before the two sides resumed talks to put an end to anti-tuition demonstrations, a large protest outside the venue of the Liberal Party’s convention turned violent. More than ten people were injured and over 100 others were arrested after the demonstrators clashed with police.

Some 180,000 people, over a third of students in Quebec, have been protesting over the government’s plans to increase the annual tuition.

The government, however, has refused to back down on the tuition hike, insisting it was part of an effort to decrease the country’s budget deficit.

Hundreds of students have refused to attend their classes until the tuition fee issue is resolved.

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