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For more useful English-language sources on the conflict, see:
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.
The Canadian Press June 18, 2012
FECQ president Éliane Laberge thinks that mediation, a process that has “stood the test of time,” would allow all parties to come together and arrive at a satisfactory compromise.
Today, the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) made a third appeal to the Charest government to accept mediation. In their view, it is the only way to resolve the conflict that has persisted for several months between students and the Quebec government.
The FECQ had already made similar appeals on the 1st and the 23 of May, when private letters were sent to Premier Jean Charest and Education Minister Michelle Courchesne.
Given the failure of the last two attempts—the government did not respond to the letters—the FECQ decided to make its intentions public.
Today, Premier Jean Charest said he wanted to know on what bases the FECQ was proposing to negotiate.
Staff post June 1, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ftq.qc.ca/modules/nouvelles/nouvelle.php?id=2220&langue=fr
The heads of the FTQ, the CSN and the CSQ (Quebec’s three largest labour unions) are criticizing the government for its irresponsible, even disruptive, behaviour. “The government’s decision to break off negotiations, when all of Quebec is hoping for a solution to the crisis, is simply absurd. Any experienced negotiator would understand, based on the status of the talks revealed yesterday by the involved parties, that negotiations needn’t have broken down. With a little good will, it is still possible to come to an agreement to end the crisis and avoid renewed turmoil in mid-August,” stated the unions’ spokesperson.
François-Xavier Simard June 2, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2012/06/02/le-piege-de-charest
By provoking the striking students, Quebec Premier Jean Charest is preparing to carry out the same Machiavellian plan used by Trudeau. Older voters like me remember the parade on June 24, 1968, the eve of the first general election of Pierre Elliot Trudeau as the head of the federal troops. Despite the risk of his presence provoking Quebec nationalists, Trudeau insisted on watching the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day parade from the top of the grandstand on Sherbrooke Street: this was Truncheon Monday.
Lisa-Marie Gervais June 1, 2012
With Mélissa Guillemette et Thierry Haroun
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/351440/l-echo-des-casseroles-s-accentue
The street has taken on the habit of night time protests and the booming symphony of pots and pans as the clock strikes 8 o’clock. But it was with a renewed intensity that the students and their supporters took up their wooden spoons and came out to demonstrate last night.
Earlier, in the late afternoon [on Thursday], the calls on the Internet to gather were even more numerous as a result of the breakdown in negotiations between the student unions and the government.
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.
Marc-André Cyr May 31, 2012
Original French Text: http://voir.ca/marc-andre-cyr/2012/05/31/il-fera-chaud-cet-ete/
Negotiations are over…
Admit it: Many of us thought that the government had finally understood the extent of the crisis it finds itself in. Even the most pessimistic believed for a moment that the government was going to bend to a number of the students’ demands. Several editorials from friends of the party were going in that direction….
A number of facts demonstrate with eloquence the current weakness of the government: the “illegal” protest on May 22nd lead more than 200 000 people to defy law 78; the casserole concerts that, at the beginning, spontaneously brought together thousands of people in the streets of Montreal, spread quickly throughout the province, even elsewhere in Canada; the group of lawyers and specialists, Amnesty International and now the UN condemn this law, considered to be antidemocratic…
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.
Martin Ouellet May 31, 2012
Québec – Today the Charest government put an end to negotiations with the students, suggesting disturbances in the weeks to come. This governmental decision will have the effect of further deteriorating the social climate, the student leaders have estimated.
“We will organize your Grand Prix for you!”, hurled a CLASSE negotiator, the most radical of the student groups, unsatisfied by the offer that had earlier been submitted by the Education Minister, Michelle Courschesne.
In a press conference at the beginning of the evening, Premier Jean Charest said he was disappointed in the failure of the talks, but he warned that his government would not backtrack in front of those “who threaten Quebeckers.” “A government does not give in to threats,” he ruled.