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Quebec Students Strike, Occupy, Blockade

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Issue: 27 Section: Canadian News Geography: Quebec Montreal Topics: social movements, education

March 28, 2005

Quebec Students Strike, Occupy, Blockade

strike_web.jpg
Striking students march in Montréal. Photo: Dru Oja Jay
Over 230,000 students are now on strike in Québec, in opposition to $103 million in cuts to bursary programs by Jean Charest's Liberal government. Other demands made by the students include an end to tuition hikes for international students and an end to "the privatization of universities and CEGEPs."

According to the CBC, Liberal Education Minister Jean-Marc Fournier offered to reinstate $40 million of the cut bursary programs, but the students have argued that giving up the bursaries this year is compromise enough.

Students have staged strategic blockades of highways and port facilities and have occupied various buildings in Montréal. Dozens of students have been arrested in confrontations with police. Thousands marched on the National Assembly in Québec City, repeating their demands. Hundreds of students recently occupied the offices of the province's largest business lobby group, the
Conseil du patronat du Québec.

Some student organizations are organizing a march in solidarity with those affected by the Liberal government's cuts of $150 million to social assistance and the welfare reform of Bill 57.

While there are varying levels of enthusiasm and radicalism among students, all those currently on strike voted on whether to join. It reportedly is the largest student strike in Québec since 1974.

With Charest's government low in the polls already, the striking students are convinced they can win. "If the government has the means to lower taxes by $750M, we have a hard time understanding that it does not have the means to reinvest $62M in grants," said Québec Federation of College Students President Pier-André Bouchard.

» Canadian Federation of Students - Québec

» CBC: Quebec students march on National Assembly

» FEUQ-FECQ: The Government Can Correct its Mistake: Just $1.56 per Taxpayer Will Guarantee Grants to the Poorest Students

» WSWS: Quebec: Student strikes exemplify mounting social discontent

» CPCML: "Jean Charest, 230,000 Students Are Saying NO!"

» Polyscopique: En Grève: "interesting articles and posts about the current student strike in Québec"

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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