Concordia students set to strike Quebec tuition hike

"Rescind any tuition increases," says Concordia Student Union member Hannah Jackson, as thousands of university students are set to strike against Quebec's decision to hike tuition for certain students at English universities. Swidda Rassy reports.

By News Staff

Thousands of Concordia University students are set to strike for three days this week against the Quebec government’s decision to hike tuition for out-of-province students at English universities.

The strike is set to take place Wednesday to Friday.

“This strike is the next step in a series of escalations of tactics in order to protest the upcoming tuition hikes for out-of-province students as well as the new penalties for international students,” said Hannah Jackson, external affairs and mobilization coordinator at the Concordia Student Union.

On Oct. 13, the CAQ government announced tuition fees for new Canadian students from outside Quebec will nearly double as of fall 2024, growing from $8,992 to $17,000.

International students will see their fees go up to a minimum of $20,000.

Jordan Carr, who’s an out-of-province Concordia University student, says he would not have come to Montreal to study if these tuition hikes were in place.

“That’s going to deter a lot of students away from Montreal and Montreal is an amazing student city and it’s going to deter a lot of students and make them go to other major cities like Vancouver and Toronto,” said Carr.

Quebec’s plans have been heavily criticized and English universities such as McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s have said this will have devastating consequences on their institutions.

The CAQ government says this is a way to promote the use of the French language and bolster francophone universities by re-investing the money to their programs.

“I think they’re horrible. I think it’s just basically measures of austerity covered as language rights,” says Ryan Assaker, another Concordia University student.

“I think if we go through with this tuition hike this will impact not only people in Montreal but outside of Montreal too,” said Assaker.

Jackson says the group has three central demands to the CAQ government.

“The first is to completely rescind any tuition increases of either out-of-province or international student tuition for September 2024. We are also demanding that they retract the current francization regulations that they are opposing on universities and to create a working group to create realistic and attainable francization goals. We are also asking that the government reconsider their current stance which is allowing students from France and Belgium to receive out-of-province tuition instead of international tuition and instead consider all of the other francophone countries, including countries in West Africa and the Caribbean, that are French speaking but are currently not given the same benefits as students from France,” said Jackson.

As of Friday, groups representing about 9,000 Concordia students opted to strike.

The action follows a one-day strike at the university in November.

Some McGill University students have also voted to strike.

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