Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

On first day, PQ zaps tuition hike

  • Print

QUEBEC -- The tuition increase that triggered such social strife in Quebec was cancelled Thursday during the first full day in office for the Parti Québécois government.

The new government repealed the fee hike, by decree, in its first cabinet meeting less than 24 hours after taking power.

Student leaders cheered the news.

"Together we've written a chapter in the history of Quebec," said Martine Desjardins, head of the more moderate university student association.

"It's a triumph of justice and equity."

Premier Pauline Marois acted on the promise she had made during the election campaign.

Marois said tuition will go back to $2,168 -- the lowest in Canada. With the planned increases, it would have been $600 higher this year and would have kept growing each year.

Marois said she will not decrease funding for universities and will make good on a promise to hold a summit on how to fund universities within her first 100 days as premier.

The government policy entering that meeting will be to suggest indexing future fee increases to the rate of inflation. That would raise tuition by a rate of around one to three per cent most years -- compared with the 84 per cent increase over seven years planned by the previous Charest government.

But Marois' inflation-index policy is not set in stone. Some students are pushing for zero tuition, as exists in some other countries.

"That's a proposal I'm putting on the table," Marois said. "It's a debate we need to have."

Marois said she will also cancel the Charest Liberals' controversial protest legislation. Huge protests erupted across the province this spring in reaction to the fee hikes, originally planned at $325 per year over five years and later changed slightly to $254 over seven years.

The events -- dubbed by some the "Maple Spring" -- drew international news coverage.

The increases were part of the Liberals' 2011-12 budget and were cast as a way to put public finances on a more sustainable footing, while guaranteeing better-funded universities. University fees have remained frozen in Quebec for most of the last 40 years.

However, opponents of the fee hikes warned they could reduce access to higher education, and do serious social harm, while contributing relatively little to government coffers.

Marois also announced Thursday she will shut down the aging Gentilly-2 nuclear reactor in Becancour and create a $200-million fund to diversify the region's economy, cancel a $200-a-year health tax and replace the lost money with income-tax increases for top-income earners.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 21, 2012 A15

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Theresa Oswald announces bid for NDP leadership

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  070527 The 21st Annual Teddy Bears' Picnic at Assiniboine Park. The Orlan Ukrainian Dancers perform on stage.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on the Jets so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google