Negotiations between student leaders and the provincial government have come to a halt as the talks concerning the tuition crisis broke down in Quebec City on Thursday.
According to a statement from Education Minister Michelle Courchesne, the negotiations have reached an “impasse” and there is no going forward.
The government offered a new deal to student leaders during negotiations which would reduce the tuition increase to $219 a year over seven years for a total increase of $1,533. They also offered a second option of a small increase in the first year, followed by $254 a year over the next six years, which amounts to almost the same $1,625 total increase which was originally offered.
The representatives of the four major student organizations present at the meeting rejected both of the provincial government’s offers.
“For the student leaders it was a moratorium or nothing,” Courchesne said at a press conference held Thursday.
Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, expressed her disappointment with the failed negotiations publicly.
“Students have continued to make offers,” said Desjardins. “The government had already moved on to other things.”
At the press conference, Premier Jean Charest stood by Minister Courchesne’s decision, reiterating the provincial government’s previous offers to student leaders.
The Premier went on to say that the government would not bend to forms of intimidation or “threats” referring to the recent concerns that protesters would disturb Montreal’s Grand Prix next week as a pressure tactic. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesperson for the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, said that any comments made in relation to his organization were made in jest.
The latest attempts to solve the ongoing tuition crisis and civil unrest in the province have resulted in a dead end, but Charest emphasized that the discussion could be reopened in the future.
“We have made very important efforts but we’ve reached an impasse,” he said, “but the door is always open.”