Quebec minister open to talks with striking students
Tuition protest enters third month, semesters at risk
Quebec Education Minister Line Beauchamp says she's ready to discuss university governance with student groups protesting against planned tuition hikes.
But planned tuition increases – scheduled to take effect in September 2012 – are not on the table, Beauchamp said at a news conference in Montreal on Sunday afternoon.
University student group FEUQ asked the province to allow the creation of an independent committee to oversee university spending.
FEUQ made the request over the weekend, as Quebec student protests enter their 10th week.
Beauchamp said she will sit down with FEUQ to discuss how such a committee could be created.
But the minister reiterated that tuition increases are not negotiable.
Thousands of CEGEP and university students have been on strike since February to oppose tuition increases announced two years ago by Quebec's Liberal government.
The Charest government wants to increase the fees by $325 annually over the next five years to bring them to about $3,800 a year.
Students have held daily rallies in major cities, with gatherings escalating as protesters clashed with police in some cases.
On Friday, authorities arrested seven people after Beauchamp's Montreal office was vandalized.
Earlier in the week, a man was arrested for allegedly threatening a provincial minister.
Police wouldn't confirm which Quebec minister was targeted by the utterings.