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For more useful English-language sources on the conflict, see:
Patrice Bergeron July 13 2012
Michelle Couchesne, the minister of education, has condemned the methods of action that student associations propose for this summer where an election is foreseen.
She reproaches the student protest movement for distancing itself from the field of education rights and for getting into all sorts of other debates, which do not further a resolution of the original problem.
At a time when an election call on August 1 seems increasingly likely, the Coalition large pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE) has undertaken a tour of Quebec, to speak about democracy, the Plan Nord, shale gas, feminism and aboriginal rights.
Denis Lessard & Philippe Teisceira-Lessard July 16, 2012
Two figure heads of the Charest government have confirmed to the Liberal Party that they will not be taking part in the next election, which also confirmed the rumours that had been going around parliamentary hill.
Michelle Courchesne and the premier’s political matron, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, will not be aspiring to win the vote, affirmed reliable sources of La Presse.
The two women had publicly maintained silence about their will to represent themselves until now. Ms Gagnon-Tremblay affirmed that she would be making her decision this summer. Michelle Courchesne announced her decision to her caucus colleagues just now.
Unsigned article July 5, 2012
The Charest government is saving a big surprise for students thinking of resuming the strike in August. Wednesday he council of ministers ratified modifications to student financial aid and tuition fees for the fall.
The council of ministers ratified the Regulation modifying the regulation on student financial aid (Règlement modifiant le Règlement sur l’aide financière aux etudes). It takes up the new measures announced Minister Michelle Courchesne on the 5th and 27th of April.
La Presse canadienne June 27, 2012
by Alexandre Robillard
Québec – The Minister of Education, Michelle Courchesne, calls unacceptable the pressure tactics threatened by CEGEP (college) professors, who are currently negotiating the terms of the special resumption of classes set for mid-August.
Mrs. Courchesne stated today in a press conference that intensive negotiations are under way with the Confédération des syndicats nationaux [CSN - trade union federation].
In addition to limiting demonstrations, the special law passed by the government, Bill 78, mandates a resumption of classes August 17 to complete the winter semester that was interrupted by the student conflict.
The main stumbling block for teachers is the additional staff required to teach the college classes that were disrupted when students opposed to the tuition fee increase went on strike.
Pierre Saint-Arnaud June 12, 2012
On Tuesday, student associations have begun to elaborate their legal arguments to the opening of the hearings of the Superior Court of Quebec, which examines the first of two motions which aim is to ultimately overturn Bill 78, adopted on May 18.
This first motion, supported by 70 trade unions, social, environmental and community organisms, is a request for a stay of execution in order to suspend the application of certain provisions of the law, until courts study the issue thoroughly.
“If a year later, this law is found to be unconstitutional, there are people who will have been arrested and convicted while the law is unconstitutional. That’s the reason for the stay of execution request” explained Giuseppe Sciortino, lawyer for the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ), during a break in hearings.
By Michel Lambert, Executive Director, ALTERNATIVES June 3, 2012
At the time of writing these lines, the very predictable and unilateral rupture of negotiations by the Charest government has just been announced. The faint glimmer of hope brought on by a few days of discussions has vanished. Student negotiators had accepted the government’s financial frame. In the name of social peace, they had also considered financing university-funding increases in part by accepting a loss in personal fiscal advantages for students.
However, the government refuses any ending whereby the student associations will not submit completely. The compromise is judged insufficient and Michèle Courchesne must slam the door. Later, Jean Charest repeats that any “solution” to the crisis will need to maintain its initial problematic premise! Arrogance and contempt once more, and since day one. Clearly, the students will not give in.
by Simon Tremblay-Pepin. June 1 2012
IRIS - Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques
Original French Text: http://www.iris-recherche.qc.ca/blogue/negocier-de-bonne-foi/
It’s not obvious that parties seated at a negotiation table are there in good faith. To measure the extent of it, the capacity for agreement-facilitating concessions can be evaluated. Both the government and students question the opposing party’s open-mindedness. Let’s examine the offers submitted by each side in order to determine who has made the most concessions during the recent round of negotiations that just ended.
On the government’s side
At first glance, and as Alain Dubuc believes, it could be thought that the government has made several concessions before even beginning the negotiations. Yet upon closer inspection, some drawbacks are revealed. The government:
As it appears, the government’s actions are not really concessions, but rather positive adjustments. They are not bad measures in and of themselves, but they are far from perfect, as we’ve shown here, here, and here, and they don’t impact (or hardly) the very issue of the strike: the increase in tuition fees.
Michèle Ouimet June 2, 2012
Back to square one. As if the 110 days of strike had done nothing. The relations between the government and the students have never been so tense. Jean Charest said that his door remains open, the students maintain that they are ready to sit down again at the negotiation table, but after two heartbreaking failures, are the parties still able to talk to each other?
Though the students’ proposition was reasonable, even if it implied a two year freeze. Freeze, a taboo word for the government. It’s not a question of granting a freeze, therefore, losing face. Above all, not losing face. Always the same discourse. Unbelievable that we are still here after 110 days of strike.
Rémi Nadeau May 31, 2012
Quebec City – As she was negotiating with students, Michelle Courchesne became the target of attacks by the opposition parties, which denounce her arbitrary administration of the Fonds pour le développement du sport [Fund for the development of sports].
Visibly flustered by revelations by the Auditor General, the Parti québécois and the Coalition Avenir Québec accused Michelle Courchesne of favoritism in the approval of grants for sports infrastructures between 2007 and 2010.
Antoine Robitaille June 1, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/351444/le-bal-des-offres-et-des-contre-offres
Government’s first offer: in the words of Education Minister Michelle Courchesne: “lowering their individual contribution to the tuition hike by $35 which would have lowered it to $219 per year.” This was judged as “insulting” by the associations.
Students’ first counter-offer: In the words of Léo Bureau-Blouin, president (until yesterday) of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ): “It consisted of financing the first two years of augmentation of tuition fees via the tax credit that students have a right to. What we were proposing to the government was to maintain the financing of universities as the government wanted […], to find solutions at zero cost, which would mean that we would not be digging in the pockets of taxpayers.