Students from McGill University gathered in downtown Montreal last November to protest planned tuition hikes.
Quebec is looking to end three months of student protests against rising tuition fees by introducing emergency legislation that would temporarily close some universities and fine the pants off of picketers blocking students and faculty from entering classrooms.
Student activist leader Leo Bureau-Blouin said: “The legislation strikes a blow to the freedom of expression.” Demonstrators have interrupted classes, marched through downtown Montreal, clashed with police, halted traffic and smashed windows.
The government has proposed hiking tuition in Quebec by $254 per year over seven years. The province currently has the lowest tuition fees in Canada. —ARK
The prime minister of Quebec, Jean Charest, said the proposed legislation would not roll back the tuition increases. Instead, it would temporarily halt the spring semester at faculties paralysed by walkouts and bring forward the summer holidays. Classes will resume earlier in August.
The legislation contains provisions for heavy fines for students and their federations. Fines range from $7,000 to $35,000 (£4,000 to £22,000) for a student leader and between $25,000 and $125,000 (£15,000 to £78,000) for preventing someone from entering an educational institution. The bill also lays out strict regulations governing student protests, including having to give eight hours’ notice for protest itineraries. A vote on the measure is expected on Friday.