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Michel Corbeil August 7 2012
Photo caption: Jean Charest maintains that someone enrolled in classes can only undertake a boycott as an individual. He made a point of repeating that 15 students who decide not to go to classes cannot block the passage of 5 who have decided to return.
Richmond — Jean Charest grants no legitimacy to student strike votes.
The Liberal party leader has said that he doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of student associations that are soon to hold votes about whether to defy the law forcing them back to classes in CEGEPs and universities where classes have been disrupted.
Speaking at a stop on his tour, in Richmond, in the riding of Saint-François, Charest let it be known that a small minority is imposing its will on others. He said that, in the social science department of the Université de Montréal, less than 9% of members voted against restarting classes.
The Liberal insisted on the following nuance: The government is not the employer of those who are taking classes, therefore, the students cannot undertake a strike, he repeated.
Charest maintains that someone enrolled in classes can only undertake a boycott as an individual. He made a point of repeating that 15 students who decide not to go to classes cannot block the passage of 5 who have decided to return.
The Liberal party leader spoke of a deep conviction to distinguish between a person’s right to strike, and boycotting. He did not call into question the fact that union members are joined together by a decision to strike, even if there are dissidents.
He took advantage of the situation to attack his adversary, PQ leader Pauline Marois, over this issue. He stated, for the umpteenth time, that she and her followers had chosen “the street.”
Over the next few hours, we will learn the results of consultations undertaken by associations of college and university students, including students of the University of Sherbrooke, in the riding of Jean Charest.
Charest refused to give any insight into methods his government could use, in the middle of an election campaign, to ensure that Bill 78 would be respected. The law establishes a schedule by which courses will be finished by spring, at the same time as it severely curtails the rights of students to protest.
Charest held to the line that defiance of the law is more than just a hypothetical possibility. In support of that argument, he revealed that government officials met this morning with teachers unions and with the management of 14 affected colleges.
He argued that his government negotiated with student representatives. He also maintained that his government sweetened the offer extended to students over the course of the student protests which have dragged on for months. He was referring to his offer to stretch the increase in tuition fees out over seven years instead of five ($254 per year), and to improve the system of leans and scholarships.
He also blamed student associations for continuing to ask for a tuition freeze. Student associations, he said — again, repeating the same lines he has been saying for weeks — have only answered with “intransigence.”
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.