April 3, 2012

Free education: Quebec solidaire`s response to the crisis created by the Charest Liberals and the brave struggle of the students

Massive demos have characterized the student struggles
Statement by Québec solidare, a left-wing political party in Québec. Translation by Rebel Youth

QS today unveiled its proposal to resolve the crisis caused by the Liberal government's refusal to establish a dialogue with the student movement.

"The proposal we are presenting today has shown that the rapid and dramatic increase in tuition fees is a political and ideological decision. It is possible to improve university funding without increasing the contribution of young families and middle class -- and do that while freezing tuition. We want to demonstrate that universal access to college is achievable if the government decides to pick up disposable income by requiring the financial institutions to pay their fair share. Currently, the Charest government is essentially offering a carrot to the students [to accept their plan] by increasing their student debt, "says Francoise David, spokesman for QS.

Rapid elimination of school fees

QS makes firm commitments. Government support [must] immediately cancel the $500 increases implimented since 2007 as well as the increase of $ 1,625 over the next five years. Our response to the crisis will see university tuition fees be reduced to zero by 2017-2018. "Against an increase of $ 325 per year, we propose a decrease of $ 325 accompanied by measures to improve the quality of training," says Amir Khadir, MNA for Mercier.

To finance the realization of universal access to university, QS wants to increase the contribution of financial institutions which seen their profits rise [despite] the global financial crisis, when their profits totaled $ 25.5 billion in Canada just in 2011.

"We would introduce a capital gains tax for financial companies to help meet the objectives of university funding that the Liberal government has set for itself. A base rate at 0.3% would generate the $ 228 million that [the Charest Liberal's] want to pick from the pockets of students and their parents. Free education would in turn reached with a base rate to 0.8% applied gradually, "says Khadir.

Recall that the capital tax has been progressively reduced by the Liberal government until its complete abolition. QS proposes to reintroduce this tax, but only for financial firms. QS also proposes maintaining the temporary tax measures affecting financial firms announced by the Minister Bachand to extend beyond 2014.

"The Liberal Party and the CAQ want to impose a steep increase, which decreases the accessibility of education, regardless of improvements to the system of loans and scholarship. The ambivalence of the Parti Quebecois on rising tuition, plays into the hands of the government. It reinforces the perception that there is no alternative to higher fees, since the official opposition is against that proposed by the Liberals, without rejecting an increase to come later. While the PQ advocated for free education under Andre Boisclair, today he offers nothing better that a public forum if they take power. [This is] a nice way to avoid responsibility," adds the candidate of QS in Gouin.

QS invites the Liberal government to recognize the legitimacy of democratically positions defined by the various components of the student movement. "If the Liberal government has come to an agreement negotiated with the union movement in the public sector, it should be able to sit with the students. But to get there, it will cease to despise the representatives of student associations. , "Says Khadir.

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