15,000 Quebec students to hold 1 day strike

Quebec student union group, ASSÉ, is planning to boycott the province's education summit later this month to protest the government's refusal to consider free tuition.

ASSÉ to boycott higher education summit

Jérémie Bédard-Wien, spokesperson for student union group ASSÉ, says he is disappointed with the government's refusal to consider free tuition. (CBC)

Groups representing some 15,000 students have voted in favour of a one-day strike as the umbrella student association ASSÉ says it will boycott the upcoming summit on post-secondary education.

Earlier this month, Quebec's higher education minister, Pierre Duchesne, said free tuition is not an option for the Quebec government, which is instead considering indexing education fees to the cost of living.

That move has sparked outcry from members of student groups, who say the Parti Québécois is going back on its campaign promises.

"We have been promised a summit on higher education that would propel a real debate … that debate is not going to be held," said Jérémie Bédard-Wien, the spokesperson for ASSÉ, an umbrella group representing several student associations.

"We have no other choice but to leave the summit on higher education," Bédard-Wien said, adding that more pressure tactics could follow.

The student group is planning a march in Montreal on Feb. 26, the second day of the summit.

The number of student associations taking part in the demonstration is expected to grow over the next two weeks as more of ASSÉ's member groups vote.

Today Premier Pauline Marois responded to ASSÉ's boycott.

"They are missing out on an opportunity where they could have explained their point of view." she said.

"It's too bad, but it's their choice and I respect it."

But Bédard-Wien said it seems the PQ has already made up its mind.

He said indexing tuition fees is only supported by government experts.

The post-secondary education summit is scheduled to take place on Feb. 25 and 26.