A student sent a mise en demeure, or formal notice, to Education Minister Line Beauchamp on March 26, giving her 10 days to negotiate with students on tuition increases. If no negotiations take place after that time period, judicial procedures could be undertaken.
Jean-François Boisvenue, a PhD student in comparative literature at Université du Québec à Montréal, said he sent the notice as more of a symbolic act to draw attention to the fact that Beauchamp did not want to negotiate with students. The minister switched gears last week and said she would be open to talking to students, but said they had to accept that tuition is going up. It’s unclear if her change of heart is related to the mise en demeure.
“I really just wanted to start a debate about democracy in our society, because really, nothing can constrain Beauchamp to negotiate,” he said.
Boisvenue posted his mise en demeure on Facebook and got hundreds of supporters, which is a lot more than he expected.
“I am surprised that people really took it seriously and encouraged me to start judicial procedures against the minister,” said Boisvenue. “I didn’t want to undertake anything at first, but I decided now not to exclude any options.”
Education ministry spokesperson Esther Chouinard confirmed that they had received the formal notice last week, but said the ministry could not comment when legal procedures are involved.
Despite Beauchamp’s refusal to negotiate with students on tuition increases, Boisvenue said he’s hopeful that eventually she will have no choice but to sit down with student groups to hear what they have to say on the issue.