Quebec student group CLASSE ponders more boycotts
Student coalition asks politicians, parties to stay out of debate
Quebec student coalition CLASSE will hold several general assemblies starting next week to decide whether to resume boycotting college and university classes later this summer.
CLASSE, the province's most militant student organization, has asked political parties to stay out of the student debate on whether to resume widespread protests over tuition increases.
Students can make their own decision, and CLASSE will not recommend one course of action over another, said spokeswoman Camille Robert, who, along with spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, met with reporters on Friday.
"Up until now, we've also operated through direct democracy," Robert said. "We trust students for whatever unfolds."
The request comes after former college student leader and rising Parti Québécois star candidate Léo Bureau-Blouin called on students to heed a campaign truce in ongoing protests.
Student leaders on Twitter
Bureau-Blouin made his public plea Thursday, warning street strife could play into the Liberal Party's law-and-order campaign strategy.
CLASSE was widely criticized in the spring for refusing to condemn escalating violence that hijacked ongoing protests against tuition increases.
Nadeau-Dubois said public demonstrations will continue throughout the election campaign.
"We want, really, to show to Mr. Charest and all of the political parties that we are still mobilized, and that we are watching them closely, to see what they are doing during and after the election campaign."
An election won't resolve the student crisis shaking Quebec, Nadeau-Dubois said.
"We have to continue to reflect on tomorrow's Quebec, because we have big problems, and raising tuition is one of the problems."
Students back in school early under Bill 78
CÉGEP college and university students are due to return to school earlier than usual this summer to make up for lost classes skipped during last winter's tuition boycott.
Their winter semester was suspended by law after the Liberal government in May adopted emergency legislation, Bill 78, to stem the tuition hike crisis.
The bill requires students who boycotted classes to return in mid-August and make up for lost time, instead of losing a semester.
The law also restricts public protests by limiting the size and location of demonstrations organized without alerting authorities.
Bill 78 also bans students from blocking their classmates who want to attend classes.
Student groups and civil rights groups are challenging the constitutionality of the legislation in court later this summer.
With files from The Canadian Press