Newly-elected Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has reversed a planned tuition hike that touched off months of violent protests in Canada’s French-speaking province.
Marois, who started her job on Thursday, delivered on her electoral pledge to reinstate the USD 2,220 tuition.
“The new government is now in place,” she told reporters after the first cabinet meeting. “I intend to act rapidly to offer results to Quebecers, starting today, Day One of our mandate.”
The former premier, Jean Charest, had planned to increase tuition fees in a bid to make up for the country’s budget deficit.
Marois said she will also cancel the Liberals’ controversial anti-protest law, known as Bill 78. The draconian law, whose main objective was to restrict freedom of assembly, criminalizes students’ strike and sets rules for gatherings of more than 50 people, requiring organizers to provide an eight-hour notice of the itinerary and length of the event.
“These two decisions will allow us to return peace to our streets and to reestablish rights and liberties,” Marois was quoted as saying.
The new premier’s move drew applause from student groups.
“It’s a victory for justice and equality,” said Martine Desjardins, president of the FEUQ university student association.
“Together, we have written a chapter in the history of Quebec. Together, we have just proven that we can stand up and reach one of the student movement’s greatest victories,” he added.
Ahead of elections earlier this month, Marois had said that if her party – Parti Quebecois (PQP) – won and was able to form a new Quebec government, she would call for a referendum on the separation of Quebec from Canada.
- University of Montreal cancels classes for fear of protest (alethonews.wordpress.com)