Montreal

Parti Québécois wants to scrap tuition for CEGEP, university students

The commitment is part of the party's electoral platform announced today in Drummondville, months ahead of the official start of the campaign at the end of August.

Sovereigntist party, mired in 3rd place in polls, commits to free education as part of election platform

Jean-François Lisée rolled out his party's electoral platform on Sunday, months ahead of the Oct. 1 election. (CBC)

The Parti Québécois says it would make tuition free for CEGEP and university students if it wins a majority in the fall election. 

The commitment is part of the party's electoral platform announced today in Drummondville, months ahead of the official start of the campaign at the end of August.

The PQ says it wouldn't need to increase taxes to pay for the change, which would be introduced gradually. The goal of the policy, the platform says, is to encourage more young Quebecers to continue in higher education.

Details of the plan — or how much it would cost — were not announced. 

The sovereigntist party has in the past won votes by promising lower tuition rates.

In 2012, during the student protests, the PQ government under Pauline Marois cancelled the tuition hikes planned by Liberals and, instead, promised to tie any future increase to inflation.

The PQ also pledged to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour during its first term, by 2022.

It also outlined new rules on secularism that would ban teachers and daycare workers from displaying religious symbols and require citizens who are receiving services to do so with their faces uncovered.

The party is in third place in opinion polls, behind the Coalition Avenir Québec and the governing Liberals.

More Quebec politics:

With files from The Canadian Press

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