OTTAWA –“The Quebec government's refusal to negotiate in good faith is driving an overwhelmingly peaceful protest movement into a more desperate position,” says Gaétan Ménard, Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.
“The government’s announcement this morning is an insult to Quebecers intelligence and is pure demagoguery, says Menard.
“Simply maintaining the fee increase amounts to closing the door on negotiations. This government is playing politics on the backs of students. Its arrogance and refusal to negotiate with the students is just asking for trouble.”
“Education minister Line Beauchamp and premier Jean Charest must take responsibility for the deteriorating situation,” adds Menard, who has joined the student protests and done a number of media interviews to
support the students’ demands.
Ménard stresses that the union movement is there in a supportive role because the Charest government is clearly not hearing their message.
“Post-secondary education a social good that should be available to all or simply a commodity to be bought and sold,” he says.
“The Charest government should immediately rescind the first year of the
tuition hike and sit down with student leaders to negotiate a long-term
solution to university funding. Rather than offloading costs on to those
least able to pay, other funding options should be pursued.
“The students' determination and solidarity are an inspiration to the
labour movement,” concludes Ménard. “To all of those defending public
education, the CEP says congratulations and keep it up!”
MORE INFORMATION: Gaétan Ménard (819) 775-6980