Quebec Students Group to Boycott Education Summit and Protest

The most prominent student advocacy group of Quebec has announced to boycott the province’s upcoming Higher Education Summit in sight of the provincial leaders’ refusal to consider eliminating tuition fees. Representatives of the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, or ASSÉ, have threatened to abstain from attending the Summit, i.e. scheduled on Feb. 25 and 26, in case the government still does not commits to at least consider free tuition for discussion.

The Minister of Higher Education, Pierre Duchesne, previously indicated in a unambiguous manner that eliminating student fees is not a viable option, whereas later the meeting on Monday between the ASSÉ and Premier Pauline Marois did not result in an immediate agreement as well. In retaliation, the leaders of ASSÉ are now preparing a comprehensive rally of thousands of students to perform street demonstrations on Feb. 26, highlighting how worse the situation has become between the two parties over the issues of tuition fees and sudden government cuts to postsecondary funding continue to simmer.

The spokesperson of the group, Jérémie Bédard-Wien, mentioned during an interview on Thursday, that “the government has gone back on many of its engagements, notably keeping every option on the table and allowing for proper debate of these options at the summit on higher education.” Mr. Bédard-Wien mentioned that “It’s going to confirm decisions that have already been taken by this government behind closed doors. We see no other option but to quit the summit in order for ASSÉ not to legitimize it.”

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