2013 Municipal Elections: Another opportunity to make a difference

In 2012, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to denounce a controversial policy and a government they were dissatisfied with. After 14 years of leading the Quebec Liberal Party, Jean Charest resigned.

In 2011, The Charbonneau Commission came to life, shedding light on alleged illegal awarding of municipal contracts in Montreal. Two mayors have since resigned due to allegations of corruption, and Montrealers are invited to the polls on Nov. 3 to initiate more change.

Voter turnout has reached record lows in recent years. In 2009, Gerald Tremblay was re-elected as mayor with only 39.4 per cent of Montrealers casting a ballot. However, as a result of the amount of attention that has been given to the scandals by the media,the city’s visibility has increased, so perhaps this time will be different.

Concordia Journalism professor, James Mclean, said that because candidates have used the corruption scandal as their central campaigning theme and due to increased media coverage of municipal affairs, the upcoming election voter turnout might be an anomaly.

“Usually what you get is political parties looking for a way of differentiating themselves from the other candidates, what we’re getting here is a great source of emotionality, this thick pride has been tarnished,” said Mclean.

“Having said that I’m not so sure how that’s being accepted and circulated among people who are 18 to 35.”

It’s been said that the younger generation is the most challenging to engage come election period. In the 2011 federal election, only 38.8 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 24 cast a ballot, while 45.1 per cent of the 25 to 34 age group voted. Lack of interest in politics, lack of time, lack of information, and lack of confidence have been cited time and time again as justifications for the 18 to 35 age group to abstain from voting.

Mclean also said that because the municipal government collects most of its revenue through property taxes, and that people who are 18 to 35 for the most part don’t own property, it makes it so they don’t feel directly affected by municipal politics.

This may not be the right mentality for young eligible voters. Ever wonder why rent goes up every year? That’s because property taxes go up. Montreal’s commercial-to-residential ratio reached 4.40 per cent in 2013, compared to Vancouver at 4.35 per cent and Toronto at 4.07 per cent.

Alison Houle, an Anthropology major at Concordia University, said she hasn’t taken the time to look at the different candidates’ platforms since the beginning of the campaigns in September.

“I’m not optimistic about the ‘change’ that will happen when one of these candidates is elected,” she said.

“I feel as if temptation is too strong for those in office to do the right thing for the city, as opposed to the right thing for their pockets.”

That has been one of the biggest challenges of the current mayoral candidates: to gain voter confidence back. Whether or not they’ve succeeded in regaining public trust, and whether or not they deserve it has yet to be revealed.

The vast mobilization that occurred during the student movement demonstrated the power that younger generations have to shape change in the province of Quebec. Why not do the same at the municipal level?

Having the privilege to actually have influence over the city’s future shouldn’t be taken for granted. Everyone that is eligible should go out and vote. It’s important to take the time to get informed about the people who are competing to run our city. Political candidates need to appeal to the interests of young voters, but it’s also up to the younger demographic to mobilize over the issues that matter to them.

Those who choose not to vote shouldn’t be allowed to complain about the pitiful state of Montreal roads, the language issues, the costs of their parking tickets, and rent being high. There’s no guarantee things will improve with this new mayor, but we won’t know unless we try.


Photos: Idle No More protests continue

Photo by Marie-Josée Kelly

Hundreds of Idle No More protesters weaved through the streets of Montreal for the second time last Friday afternoon to support what has become an international movement for indigenous rights.

Marching from the Palais des Congrès, the demonstration was peaceful and timed simultaneously in solidarity with similar protests in various Canadian cities.

Idle No More has gained momentum since Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence declared a hunger strike more than a month ago in an effort to demand a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper met with aboriginal leaders to discuss grievances but Spence has continued her hunger strike despite Harper’s promise to focus on the issues at hand.


A fight for better national health and food policies

In an effort to shed light on the difficulties of implementing food policy in the public’s best interest and educate students on the dangers of fast food, the School of Community and Public Affairs Student Association hosted a panel discussion for students last Thursday.

As part of SCPASA’s recent initiative to advocate for a better health policy, speakers shared their contributions to the fight for better food policy at the national level and their insight into the issue. Panelists included Dr. Shiv Chopra, a microbiologist and author of Corrupt to the Core: Memoirs of a Health Canada Whistleblower, Bill Jeffery, national co-ordinator of Ottawa’s Centre for Science in the Public Interest and Amanda Sheedy, co-ordinator for Food Secure Canada.

“There’s a complete lack of debate in the political discourse in Canada on the issue,” said Anthony Garoufalis-Auger, executive secretary of the SCPASA. “Major strains are on our public health-care system.”

Garoufalis-Auger stressed that the strains are a result of unhealthy and processed food, the backlash on the environment from mass, industrial farming and the growing global food crisis. About 20 per cent of deaths in countries such as Canada are linked to nutrition-related illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The CSPI vows to represent the public’s interest before regulatory and legislative bodies by advocating for the elimination of synthetic trans fats and the reduction of sodium in products.

According to Jeffery, a simple reduction in sodium to the level recommended by health experts could help avert the deaths of 14,000 to 16,000 Canadians annually related to heart attacks and strokes. The burden puts a lot of pressure on provincial governments to “fill the void” while the federal government “ignores” the problem.

FSC lobbies for a national food policy that addresses food security, climate change and poverty. Its goal is to improve the current food system as an estimated two million people in Canada are ‘food insecure’ and about 800,000 people in Canada visit a food bank every month.

“I think it’s a shame, I think it’s an embarrassment that we can’t figure out a way as a society to feed ourselves,” said Sheedy.

Five substances are incorporated illegally into the food supply such as hormones, slaughterhouse waste and antibiotics, that each contribute to disease and untimely death, according to Chopra.

“This is not a matter of nutrition, this is not a matter of shortage of food, this is a matter of corruption,” said Chopra. “Big companies are now in charge of our governments.”

“In Canada, the greatest hope is Quebec simply because history shows every new idea, every new social change has always been started here.”


Slang Rap reveals shortcomings in Montreal hip hop community

Featuring local beatmakers and prominent Montreal hip hop community figures, the second edition of Rap Slang Democracy was a healthy and at times humorous brainstorming session revolving around the challenges and issues that impact the local scene.

Hosted by Mario Fuentes, who goes by the stage name Markings, the panel included local radio-host and DJ Don Smooth, producer and journalist Scott C., legendary hip-hop promoter Ricky D, co-founder of Artbeat Montreal Sev Dee and filmmaker Aisha Cariotte Vertus, among others.

Unlike it’s predecessor, the second edition of Rap Slang Democracy focused more on the inner workings of the scene and moved away from the lyrics. Much of the discussion was centered on the different barriers local artists have to deal with, the constant evolution of the Montreal scene and the undeniable influence of the Internet on the genre.

“Music hasn’t really changed in the past 10 years, it pretty much is what it always was,” said Scott C. “What’s different is the way that we listen to it, the way we digest it and the way we make it, and that changes everything.”

Smooth explained that much of the reason hip-hop in Montreal wasn’t picked up by FM radio the way it was in Toronto was because of the obvious language barrier. He also alluded to a generational gap that’s been influential in the slow development of the genre.

“What’s unfortunate about Montreal is that the ‘powers that be’ are kind of really behind times, they’re really stagnated,” said Smooth. “They don’t realize that hip-hop music is the music of today.”

As stated on their website, Artbeat Montreal “sets itself as the cornerstone in the establishment of a superior quality and new variety of Artistic Works.”

“It was a deliberate plan to galvanize urban youth and the hip-hop community and to use a medium which we know as art,” said Dee about the project.

Artbeat Montreal is where the Piu Piu movement originated from and it’s what Vertus is reporting on in the documentary she is co-directing.

Piu Piu is a community of local beat makers that experiment with different sounds. The music that is produced transcends language barriers and is highly influenced by hip-hop; it’s an integral part of the local scene.

“I’m not a die-hard fan of Rap music; the lyrics don’t always mean much to me,” said Vertus.

“I prefer instrumentals, the beat will speak to me. These guys are saying something so why not explain it.”

The 20 year-old documentary filmmaker shared with the audience her passion for music and how it drove her to document the movement in PIU PIU.

Panelists explained what inspired each one of them to do their work and stay involved in the hip-hop scene during these times of change prompted by the Internet. But the major concern that was addressed was accessibility and abundance factors vs. quality of work.

“Too much choice isn’t a good thing,” said the legendary Ricky D. “What we need now is a little bit more structure, if it’s too wide open then the guys or girls that are supposed to get their shot end up not getting their shot because people’s attention is very limited,” he said. “They listen for a second and they’re out in a minute.”

Yassin Alsalman, who also goes by The Narcicyst, moderated last February’s discussion and was also on this edition’s panel. Alsalman put forth the idea that accessibility and visibility isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a new challenge that artists face.

“The game is harder now, because everyone is on the field,” said Yassin. “Everybody can be on the field, there are no spectators anymore. It’s all about learning the new, and rolling with the punches.”


Tuition hike may not be gone for good

Photo by Madelayne Hajek.

Concordia University refunded all students upon receiving official directives from the provincial government concerning the tuition fee rollback while McGill University’s international and out-of-province students are still waiting on adjustments to their accounts.

The letter sent out to Quebec universities earlier this month confirmed the cancellation of the proposed tuition fees increase. The document also cites that the Parti Québécois is considering raising tuition fees for out-of-province and international students. McGill chose not to reimburse its foreign students in anticipation of an increase.

“We all got the same instructions,” said Chris Mota, Concordia University spokesperson. “We responded in one fashion and McGill chose a different route.”

This was also confirmed by Chief Financial Officer Patrick Kelley, who told The Concordian that the administration at McGill did not interpret the official directives from the the provincial government differently than Concordia but decided differently.

Simon-Pierre Lauzon, VP external of the Concordia Student Union, said he didn’t agree with the direction that McGill chose to take.

“McGill is kind of going in another direction and not doing what I think they’re supposed to be doing right now,” said Lauzon. “I find it very unfortunate that McGill students find themselves in this situation, it’s very unfair and I hope that it gets resolved quickly.”

Joël Bouchard, the press attaché for Pierre Duchesne, the minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, confirmed that no decision has yet been made about increasing tuition fees and that the proposition is being studied.

“If we are then told at a later date that we have to increase tuition for out of province and international students, we will do so,” said Mota.

McGill University spokesperson Carole Graveline explained that the university has not refunded the increase initially tabled by the Charest Liberals because of a potential increase for out-of-province and international students on the way. Although there’s no indication of precisely when the increase will be announced, if there will be one, and just how much it will amount to, it remains “very likely” according to Graveline.

VP external Robin Reid-Fraser of the Students’ Society of McGill University said the process and wait has been disheartening.

“People are frustrated and confused,” said Reid-Fraser. “The contact we have with the administration is that they’re waiting on the government to put out their budget and really finalize what the plan is with the international and out-of-province fees.”

The Parti Québécois minority government will present a budget on Nov. 20.

“I presume there will be something in the budget but there’s no knowing,” said Graveline. “We’re not waiting on the budget, all we’re doing is taking a different path.”


The honest, Internet hip-hop effect

The year 2012 has been somewhat of a renaissance for rap music. A variety of game changers have been streaming out of Los Angeles recently, notably Odd Future and Kendrick Lamar, who are active participants in this revival of the genre. They have established their own styles and are some of the first to have gained significant attention strictly through the Internet.

It’s been a busy year; Lamar just released his major label debut,

Kendrick Lamar’s good “kid m.a.a.d city”

on Oct. 23, Odd Future dropped The OF Tape Vol.2, Frank Ocean released his own side project, Channel ORANGE and even old timer Nas came out with Life is Good. The industry continues to change which makes it an exciting time to explore new territory.

“Music labels are falling by the wayside, they’re losing money fast,” said Marc Peters, who teaches the course Hip-Hop: Past, Present, Future here at Concordia. Peters attributes the changes within the industry to the failure of major labels to take the Internet seriously, early on.

“[Music labels] have been floundering trying to keep up with technology but people are already ahead of the game,” he said.

Peters likens collective groups like Odd Future to the L.A. based punk rock and ska groups of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

“They’re very similar,” he said. “Some people would denounce them because of their posturing, they’re bowing to the lowest common denominator. They really lay it on thick, they’re really offensive and that’s also part and parcel of the punk rock culture. So those guys might actually be founding something which is going to flourish not just into a phenomena but into a style,” he continued.

“If you look at the origins of hip-hop in the Bronx and if you compare it to what we see as hip-hop contemporarily, which is like a quagmire of stereotypical images that are usually not challenged in their own field of representation within corporate popular media, that’s where things are changing.” said Peters.

Along the same lines pop-music critic Sasha Frere-Jones recently wrote about Lamar in the New Yorker: “He’s the rapper of the moment who, perhaps, will not simply reenact cliches of rap’s past but change them, take them apart and turn them into something else.”

Montreal rapper Ceas Rock is in the midst of completing his latest project, Zero Gravity, which he says has been influenced by recent developments in the rap and hip-hop scene.

“It’s 90 per cent done, and a lot of it is influenced by this so-called change,” he said. “It’s not even to say I’ve changed my approach, but there has been a shift.” When asked what he thought about the Lamar phenomena, Ceas Rock said: “He’s created his own style; he’s good, he’s honest.”

Montreal-based rapper Markings admits that Lamar’s latest release was one that he’d been looking forward to. “Lamar’s album was the last hip hop related project that really got me excited about the music, the one before that was Action Bronson, and that was almost a year ago,” said Markings.

He is also bit skeptical, though, about what he calls “the rap-savior complex.”

“Lamar is not going to save rap music, Lamar is not the heralding of a new age. He’s one dude that made it on his own terms,” said Markings.

Markings put out his debut album, Odd Man Out, late last year and since has been keeping busy with several different projects. He is working alongside Professor Marc Peters and is the mastermind behind the second edition of Slang Rap Democracy, a hybrid panel discussion surrounding the Montreal hip-hop scene that is set to take place Nov. 23 at Concordia.

“I would argue that, despite the fact that my output is rap music, monotonous, rhythmic speech over instrumental beds, I don’t limit myself at that,” said Markings. “I don’t think that any self-respecting artist should limit themselves to the genre that they create.”

Check out the event page for “Slang Rap Democracy II: Decyphering The Cypher” on Facebook.


Higher education summit on the horizon

Image via Flickr

The Parti Québécois announced a plan detailing the higher education summit that is set to take place early in the new year, last Thursday.

The four major themes on the agenda are the quality of post-secondary education, accessibility and participation, governance and financing of universities and the contribution of research to Quebec society.

“We’ve been waiting for this opportunity, it’s been a long time coming,” said Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec. “To have this situation where we can discuss and more importantly debate our visions of the entirety of the university network and long term projects is compelling.”

Desjardins said she is satisfied with the government’s consideration of the propositions brought forth by the FEUQ in terms of the summit’s structure and themes to be discussed.

“Now, all we have left to do is prepare,” she said. “We need to find people that will back up our demands and make sure that all that we advance is coherent and credible.”

Concordia Student Union’s VP external, Simon-Pierre Lauzon, has been working closely with various levels of student governance to create awareness about the upcoming conference. He emphasizes that now it is time to inform the student body and focus on the issues that they want to see prioritized at the summit.

“One of the themes that the government wants to talk about is university financing and governance,” said Lauzon. “How inclusive that category is, is up to debate at this point, how deep they want to dig into systematic changes is something that I’d be curious to know.”

Lauzon says that it is an important topic at Concordia, considering the hefty severance packages that have been handed out to senior administrators in the past.

“Concordia has a very interesting reputation at large for some of the decisions it’s made in terms of the administration, including what they did last year in reducing student involvement on the Board of Governors to one representative with voting rights,” said Lauzon.

According to Lauzon, a concern Concordia representatives will bring to the summit concerns the tuition fees of international students since they pay the highest rates. He feels that international students should also be subjected to a freeze so they aren’t taken advantage of by post-secondary institutions or the provincial government.

“I believe we should advocate for a tuition freeze for them as well because they do pay a lot of fees to the university and we don’t want to use these international students as piggy banks for the university or for the government at this point.”

Lauzon said students can expect consultation on these subjects in the form of general assemblies and surveys in the weeks leading up to the summit that is set to take place in mid-February.

The Political Science Student Association held a special general assembly Tuesday to discuss what they want to bring to the education summit but it did not meet quorum so it became an information session instead. The PSSA will hold another general assembly in the upcoming months.

Robin Reid-Fraser, VP external affairs of the Student Society of McGill University, confirmed with The Concordian that SSMU will begin hosting formal consultation sessions with its student membership concerning a wide variety of topics such as financial aid and student debt, anglophone students in Quebec and research, as of Nov. 19.

“I think that it seems to be a pretty good effort by the government and I’m glad that they are starting to talk about some of the issues that I think sort of got neglected by the Liberal government during the student strike,” said Reid-Fraser. “Hopefully, it will bring out students in a different kind of way than the tuition hike issue did.”


Ministry of education to issue formal directives

Quebec universities can expect to receive official directives from the provincial government regarding the reversal of the tuition fee increase, applied to student accounts at the beginning of the fall term, by the end of the week.

Concordia University has been awaiting formal instructions since Premier Pauline Marois announced last month that her government cancelled the tuition hike. The increase amounts to $254 per student for the academic year, assuming a student is attending university full-time.

Following Marois’ decision, the university stated that the tuition structure in place at the start of the term, which included the increase mandated by the outgoing Liberal government, would remained unchanged until further notice.

Joël Bouchard, spokesperson for Pierre Duchesne, the minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, confirmed with The Concordian last Thursday that an official letter, detailing the formal procedures to follow, would be sent out in a matter of days.

“We will confirm in writing the amount that will be charged and refunded and the document should arrive shortly,” said Bouchard.

Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota confirmed that as soon as the university receives formal instructions, students will be informed immediately.

“The minute we have the official notification, the tuition hike will be reversed,” she said. “As soon as we get those instructions, all of our students will receive an email. Everybody will be alerted to the fact that their accounts have been changed and what options will be open to them.”

Mota re-affirmed that students will be able to request a refund if there is a credit balance on their accounts and will also have the choice of crediting the amount to account for the following term.

McGill University spokesperson Julie Fortier confirmed that McGill is also waiting on formal directives in order to know what amount will be refunded and that students will also have similar options available to them.

Schubert Laforest, president of the Concordia Student Union, said that he hopes that because the university has had time to accommodate the tuition freeze, the transition will go smoothly.

“It would pain me to see students penalized because of an inability to cope with the situation appropriately,” said Laforest.


Protesters demand resignation of police officer

Photo by Marie-Josée Kelly

A call for the dismissal of Constable Stéfanie Trudeau and a condemnation of police brutality was the message of protesters that took to the streets of the downtown core Friday night.

Trudeau, better known by her badge number 728, was temporarily suspended from the police force last week following the release of a video showing her use foul language and excessive aggression against a civilian during an arrest, Tuesday, Oct. 2.

“That incident was thankfully recorded but we don’t know how often this happens,” said protester and second-year nursing student at Dawson College, Geoffrey Graham.

Graham believes that Trudeau overstepped boundaries and her behaviour was unacceptable.

Photo by Marie-Josée Kelly
“I tend to be optimistic and hope that it does not happen very often but I just want it to be as widely known as possible that this is not what we believe our police should be doing, they should be protecting us,” he said.

Trudeau also gained notoriety during the student conflict when a video posted online showed her pepper-spraying individuals who appeared to be non-threatening during a protest. She is suspended pending the results of an internal investigation into the allegations made against her.

Michael Arruda, a Montreal Police mediator followed Friday’s demonstration and was on hand to resolve any conflict that might arise.

“I know a lot of the people present here tonight,” said Arruda. “I’ve walked with them this summer [in the protests] and I say we’re going to have to give the system a chance, see what they have to say. I haven’t lost faith in the system yet and I think justice will be done.”

The march ended around 11 p.m. with no arrests reported.



Anglophone universities prepare for education summit

Students of anglophone universities hope to voice their concerns at the upcoming education summit put forth by the provincial government to investigate university governance and management of post-secondary funds.

As part of her mandate, newly elected Premier Pauline Marois of the Parti Québécois abolished the proposed tuition fee increase of $1,778 over the next seven years set by the previous Charest government, and promised a conference to address the concerns of post-secondary students.

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations of Concordia University set precedent in late September by approving a motion that mandated all member associations to consult students on the future of university education in preparation for the summit.

ASFA VP academic-Loyola, Eric Moses, told The Concordian that ASFA is in the process of forming a sub-committee that will examine all details surrounding the consultation of MAs.

“We [ASFA] are excited and in high gear with plans to facilitate our member associations’ process,” said Moses.
Following the consultation of its member associations, ASFA intends on bringing the concerns of their students to the table before the provincial government.

The structure of the summit and the date on which it will be held have yet to be confirmed by the PQ government but the Concordia Student Union’s VP external Simon-Pierre Lauzon explained that the CSU, along with the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, is lobbying for an open process whereas any student group who desires to, can show up and argue their position.

“This [education summit] is important because we have a government that has shown interest in the satisfaction of the Quebec student body; it would be a disservice to students given our responsibility as representatives to skip that opportunity to provoke more positive change for our student body,” said Lauzon.

Lauzon explained that if he represents Concordia at the summit, he will argue on behalf of undergraduate students from both inside and outside of the province.

“What makes Concordia special is that it is very multicultural, there are a lot of international and out-of-province students,” said Lauzon. “My goal is to push for their interests because I feel if we don’t do that sort of lobbying then it will not be done.”

The Fine Arts Student Alliance of Concordia attempted to have a special general meeting to discuss students’ concerns Thursday but was unable to reach quorum. FASA councillor Erika Couto said that a second special general meeting will likely take place in November.

“We’re looking towards a general assembly, in which we’ll discuss specifically concerns we’re worried about as fine arts students,” said Couto. “A lot of students are concerned because Marois said she’d be cancelling the hike for this year but there are no guarantees about anything going forward.”

Couto sees the proposed summit as a positive development considering the events that took place in the last year surrounding the Charest government’s proposed increase of tuition fees. According to Couto, a consultation between the government and students is a step in the right direction.

“It is good step into educational reform in Quebec. Who better to know what students need and what it’s like to be a student than students.”

According to VP external affairs of the Student Society of McGill University Robin Reid-Fraser, SSMU is hoping to work with the Post-Graduate Student Society on a possible collaborative effort across campuses to gather students’ perspectives on university governance, tuition and the role of universities in society amongst other issues.


A different kind of orientation for ConU students

The Quebec Public Interest Research Group at Concordia launched DISorientation 2012 this week and through a series of different events, organizers aim to reach out and inform new and returning students.

It is QPIRG’s mandate to raise awareness about social justice issues, and the concentrated effort of DISorientation 2012 is to expose students and the community to a different side of campus life by organizing free workshops, tours, a panel discussion and a block party.

“It’s a period of time when students, as well as community members are looking to get involved, for a nurturing environment where they can be curious, where they can learn more,” said Jaggi Singh, QPIRG’s working groups and programming co-ordinator. “It’s important because there’s more to being part of this campus life than what goes on in the classroom.”

A “Radical Walking Tour of Concordia” is set for Wednesday to highlight past social conflicts at Concordia, such as the 1969 Sir George Williams Computer Centre riot, a student occupation fuelled by allegations of academic racism, or the student unrest that ensued following the scheduled visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2002.

“We will talk about the different contributions that have been made to ensure an accessible campus, to ensure a campus that is engaged and politicized – about a lot of Concordia’s history that is often hidden,” explained Singh.

Following the walking tour, QPIRG along with different student associations will host “The Quebec Student General Strike … WTF?!” a discussion where students will be able to learn more about the recent student strike and to discuss the future of the movement.

Singh said that there is a need for space to talk about the student strike and future mobilization, in a way that is accessible to individuals that didn’t experience it.

Thursday’s “Red Square Block Party” will host a variety of groups, and the People’s Potato will serve food. Singh explained that the event is a celebration, a gathering and a reclamation of space all at once.

“Concordia’s at the heart of gentrification in downtown Montreal and either the administration is going to accelerate the gentrification and turn what could be accessible gathering spaces into spaces where you have to spend money,” he said. “Or we can try to assert that these spaces should be where people, regardless of their background, people with modest means and income, can gather and hang out.”

For more DISorientation events, check out


Stomping out the hike?

Photo by Madelayne Hajek.

Concordia University announced that it will not be modifying the current tuition fee arrangement, which includes the increase tabled by the outgoing Liberal government, until it receives directives from the new Government of Quebec.

In a press conference following the Parti Québécois’ minority government victory, Premier-designate Pauline Marois announced her government will abolish tuition hikes by decree and annul Law 12.

Universities province-wide are waiting on official instructions from the newly formed government on what kind of adjustments will be made. Marois will officially become Premier Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Concordia University spokesperson Chris Mota explained that the setting of fees is not within the university’s discretion nor is the timing. The government decides it and universities must comply. In accordance with the increase set by the outgoing Liberal government, Concordia charged a surplus of $254 per student for the academic year.

“Once the new fees were mandated, the increases went into effect,” said Mota.

Université de Montréal spokesperson, Mathieu Filion, confirmed that tuition fees for the 2012-13 academic year were decided before the elections, and that like Concordia, U de M is waiting on the government’s instructions. McGill University spokesperson Julie Fortier also confirmed with The Concordian that McGill took a similar stance.

It is not clear yet on how university students will be compensated across the province, whether it be by a credit system applicable to the following term or by full refund.

“The university certainly budgeted with the increase in mind,” said Mota. “However, we were prepared to adjust the budget in the event that the increase was reversed,” she explained. “All Quebec universities have been quite vocal about the need for increased funding. Where that funding comes from is up to the government to decide.”

Along with educational institutions, many student groups also voiced their concern over the fact that the increase was implemented before the election campaign began. Concordia Student Union President Schubert Laforest told The Concordian that he hopes Concordia administration has a backup plan to deal with this turn of events.

“I hope the university has a bulletproof plan to deal with this roll back in a sustainable way for when it does happen,” said Laforest, “as opposed to [having] the situation crash and burn because it wasn’t planned for.”

Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec President Martine Desjardins expressed that it’s a troubling situation with the repeal of the tuition fee increase.

“I think the majority of students were surprised to see the tuition increase on their bills while we were in the middle of an election campaign,” said Desjardins. “To see that they were so eager to have students pay will only cause [universities] more administrative headaches to in turn refund students.”

VP external affairs of the Student Society of McGill University, Robin Reid-Fraser explained that there was a lack of communication between the institution and students regarding the tuition increase.

“McGill was very much planning that the increase was going to happen and fit it into their budget. It is not clear that McGill was really considering a plan B despite everything that was happening with the strike,” said Reid-Fraser.

According to Desjardins, representatives of the FEUQ plan to meet with the Minister of Education in the days following his or her appointment. She estimates it will take up to a week before they will be able to transmit any new and clear information about the current situation. Desjardins said she believes that the PQ will not back down on its decision to cancel the tuition fee increase.

“It wasn’t just a promise; it’s a commitment,” said Desjardins. “A government that pledges so forcefully simply can not backtrack.”

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