|Clara Lea Dallaire-Fortier|
The education system in Canada falls under provincial governments’ jurisdiction. Tuition fees in Quebec are below the Canadian average and its institutions are relatively underfunded. In other provinces, the debate on the public education system had no repercussions and the basis of the student struggle was perceived as foreign to their societal priorities. In Quebec’s debate on public education, citizens influenced by the rise of neoliberalism were at odds with the values of others who thought the increases undermined notions of collectivity.
The right-wing Liberal Party in Quebec had planned two consecutive hikes in university tuition fees, the first by 30% from 2007 to 2012. This increase was not publicly discussed: some media even claimed there was no increase (Nadeau-Dubois, 2013). The second increase of 127% was planned for the period of 2012 to 2017. This would have raised the cost to CA$3 793 (about US$ 2 880). Between 2007 and 2011, students began to plan actions for 2012. Student associations undertook extensive research on accessibility and university finances, and mobilised in universities and CEGEPs, the general and vocational colleges which teach a post-school degree unique to Quebec.