Student General Strike in Quebec: 150,000 could be on strike as early as this afternoon
Concordia University’s 40,000 students could join the province of Quebec’s general student strike already in progress, with a general assembly and vote of the undergraduate Concordia Student Union scheduled for this afternoon (March 6). The vote, which is expected to pass, will speak for the entire student body. Many specific student departments, such as Political Science, Fine Arts, Philosophy and the Simone de Beauvoir Women’s Studies Institute have already voted to start striking individually.
The provincial government plans to increase tuition by $1,625 in total, over the next five years, raising current fees from $2,200 to $3,800 for in-province students, and much more for out-of-province and international students. While Quebec has the lowest tuition rate of any province in Canada, the province also has the highest taxes by far, as well as a somewhat low minimum wage in comparison with that of other expensive provinces like British Columbia and Ontario. Students argue that education is not a commodity, and shifting the financial burden for education to individual user fees would force students out of classes and dramatically increase inequality in an already fractured society.
If Concordia joins the student strike this week, that will bring nearly 150,000 students in Quebec on general strike against the government’s proposed fee hikes.
(photos courtesy The Link and CBC)