Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Some Key Events in Quebec's Battle over Tuition Hikes: Timeline of Quebec's Tuition Protests

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Some Key Events in Quebec's Battle over Tuition Hikes: Timeline of Quebec's Tuition Protests

Article excerpt

MONTREAL - A timeline of events in the tuition dispute between the Quebec government and student federations:

1990 -- Robert Bourassa's Liberal government increases tuition from $500 to $1,600 --a $280 annual hike over four years. Thousands of students hit the streets, but Bourassa remains steadfast.

1996 -- Strike involving some 100,000 students begins in October when then-Parti Quebecois education minister Pauline Marois tries to implement about a 30 per cent increase. She backtracks soon amid protests, reinstating tuition freeze until at least 2007.

2005 -- Liberal government seeks to cut $103 million from financial aid. By mid-March, more than 200,000 students are on strike and, within a few weeks, the Liberals backtrack and restore the full amount.

2007 -- Liberals announce tuition increase of $500 over five-year period.

August 2010 -- Line Beauchamp becomes education minister in cabinet shuffle.

March 2011 -- Finance Minister Raymond Bachand announces Quebec's intention to raise tuition fees, beginning in September 2012. Plan is to raise tuition by $325 a year over five years. Total increase will amount to an additional $1,625, raising Quebec tuition to $3,793 in 2017. Will remain among lowest in Canada.

August 2011 -- Students formally begin campaign against tuition hikes, trying to convince government to back down.

Nov. 10, 2011 -- Massive peaceful rally held in Montreal with promise from common front of student groups to ratchet up the pressure.

Feb. 13, 2012 -- Student action officially begins with first groups voting in favour of a walkout.

Feb. 23 -- Students pepper-sprayed after occupying Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge.

March 7 -- During an altercation with police, student Francis Grenier is badly hurt in the eye. Students allege it is from a police stun grenade, although it is never confirmed. Grenier becomes rallying point for students who begin wearing patches over their right eyes in addition to red squares marking their protests.

March 21 -- Students begin to increase pressure tactics aimed at disrupting Quebec economy. …

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