The $1625 tuition hike announced last year by the Liberal government of Jean Charest is to be cancelled today, according to Éliane Laberge, the President of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Quebec (FECQ).
“[The Parti Québécois (PQ)] told us that they would announce it after their first ministerial meeting,” Laberge told The Daily in French.
Because the hike is not a law passed by the National Assembly, the tuition hike can be repealed by a ministerial decree.
The news came hours after Pauline Marois, the newly elected premier of Quebec, unveiled her new cabinet in Quebec City.
Marie Malavoy, an outspoken supporter of the student movement, was appointed Minister of Education, while Pierre Duchesne, a former journalist with Radio-Canada, was chosen to be the Minister of Higher Education.
“We will mainly be working with Mr. Duchesne, and we met him briefly at the National Assembly,” Laberge said. “It’s refreshing to be working with someone who’s very open toward young people.”
Like her predecessor Jean Charest, Marois will be in charge of Youth Issues. Léo Bureau-Blouin, the former president of FECQ and the youngest Member of the National Assembly (MNA), will be her parliamentary assistant.
“We’re not disappointed that Léo isn’t a minister,” Laberge said. “But we’re happy to see that he was elected to the National Assembly.”
In a statement on its website, the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Quebec (FEUQ), said that it welcomed the appointment of Duchesne as Minister of Higher Education.
“Mr. Duchesne met students during the last FEUQ congress in August, and they saw how accessibility was an important issue for him,” the statement read in French.
At a joint press conference yesterday, FEUQ and FECQ announced that they would be willing to “work to increase student accessibility as well as the quality of teaching.”
A media spokesperson for FEUQ told The Daily that more details over the planned summit on higher education – a forum designed by the PQ to address university funding and accessbility – would be announced later today at a press conference. The student associations have not yet been informed of the date and content of the summit.
The second-largest student association, the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE), was absent from the conference.
“We used to work more with CLASSE,” Laberge said. “But now, not so much.”
CLASSE could not be reached for comment by the time of press.