Quebec student protest organizers tour Maritimes
Nova Scotia students pay some of the highest tuition in the country
Two representatives of CLASSE, the coalition of students' unions behind the Québec student strike, are in Halifax this week talking about the high price of education and actions Halifax students can take to bring costs down.
The rising cost of tuition has some students wondering if the actions of students in Québec could work for Nova Scotia students who pay some of the highest tuition in the country.
This year alone, tuition has risen by as much as five per cent, more than triple the inflation rate. That increase brings the average yearly tuition for Nova Scotia post-secondary students to $5,934.
Twin sisters Cloé and Alexandra Zawadzki-Turcotte were both involved in their respective students' unions at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Cégep Saint-Laurent and have since gotten involved with CLASSE.
The two spoke at an event on Monday at Dalhousie University called "Lessons from the Québec Student Strike."
The talk is part of a larger speaking tour with stops in Halifax, Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John.
"What we have to remember from last spring's student strike, is that it is still possible to confront neoliberal measures such as tuition fee hikes, you just need to be well organized, have democratic structures and stay combative," said Cloé in a press release.
"This is the message we are delivering to students in other Canadian provinces."
"Students in Nova Scotia have been incredibly inspired by the Québec student strike and we look forward to hearing how they mobilized the largest and longest student strike in Canadian history," said Nicole Cooper, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia, in a press release Monday.
"Students in Québec have a proud history of defeating proposed tuition fee increases with large-scale student protests and strikes, which is why Québec has the lowest tuition fees in the country."
Thousands of students in Québec have been on strike since February to oppose a tuition fee hike of $254 a year over seven years.
The strike has been marred by some violence, prompting the Québec provincial government to bring in controversial emergency legislation.
Bill 78 paused the school year at institutions with striking students, imposed fines for anyone who blocked access to a school and established guidelines on how long and where the protests can be held.Nearly eight months after the first students voted to strike, the newly elected Parti Québécois government has pledged to freeze tuition fees.