Opposition education critic to get his feet wet in Concordia politics

The official opposition critic for the Quebec Liberals told members of the CSU executive in a meeting last Wednesday that the party supports keeping tuition frozen, and that he will do what he can to soften the university’s stance on the moratorium on events related to the Middle East conflict.

Currently on a tour of Quebec schools, Jacques Chagnon took a break to meet with the CSU executive to discuss the fate of post-secondary education in Quebec, as well as the situation at Concordia.

The action plan presented to the CSU in the Nov. 13 meeting touched only briefly on the future of post-secondary education in Quebec, but made it crystal clear that the Liberal Party supports the tuition freeze.

“We have agreed to freeze the tuition fees for the next term, [by that] I mean for the next four years,” Chagnon said.

During the meeting, CSU President, Sabine Friesinger and VP Academic and Advocacy Ralph Lee presented their views on the moratorium to Chagnon. They explained how the decision made by the Board of Governors (BoG) to uphold the moratorium on Middle East issues violates the rights of Concordia students under the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“The Board of Governors is acting in contradiction to the students that they supposedly represent,” said Lee. “The university is made to look foolish in the internal and external press and we have a situation where the people who are running the place are not acting in the best interest of the students.”

Lise Theriault, the Official Opposition critic for employment and Deputy of Anjou, sat alongside Chagnon as they listened intently to the argument presented.

Chagnon agreed to appeal to Rector Frederick Lowy and Vice-Rector Institutional Relations Marcel Danis, as well as some of his acquaintances on the BoG.

“I will not exactly act as a mediator, but if I can do something and if I can help, I will be very glad to do so,” he said.

Friesinger said she is optimistic that Chagnon will take action and appeal to the BoG, because he believes students should be heard even if one does not agree with everything they have to say.

“I’m feeling that maybe he will do something about the situation here at Concordia, where students don’t have the right to say or organize around what they feel they want to organize,” Friesinger said.


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