Sunday, September 21, 2014

Student group to boycott summit

QUEBEC—Premier Pauline Marois said it’s too bad a major Quebec student union group will boycott the province’s much-touted summit on post-secondary education because it’s depriving itself of the right to be heard.
The more hardline ASSE group said it will skip the upcoming summit because the Parti Quebecois government has refused to consider the option of free university tuition.

Instead, group spokesman Jeremie Bedard-Wien said he’s calling for a large popular and student demonstration during the summit Feb. 26.
Marois said she regrets the group’s decision and pointed out the event will discuss a variety of subjects, not just tuition fees.
She won’t rule out a tuition increase tied to inflation.
Many student groups are pushing for a freeze on tuition rates.
Marois said the quality of instruction and research also is on the agenda.
“They are depriving themselves of a place to speak,” Marois said on the way into a caucus meeting.
“It’s a shame but that is their choice and I respect it.”
Bedard-Wein said the government has reneged on promises made during last fall’s election to hold a real dialogue on the issue.
He said his group “has no other choice” than to walk away.
Huge protests erupted last spring over the former Liberal government’s planned increases, with tens of thousands of students taking to the streets.
Marois scrapped the increases after the PQ took power in September.

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