Student mobilization will have “no impact,” says education minister Roberge

[Original article by Laurent Lavoie in Montréal Campus, the independent student newspaper of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Translation by Jonathan Turcotte-Summers.]

In the next few days, more student associations will have their turn to take a position on the carrying out of an unlimited general strike for the remuneration of all internships, and these measures do not worry Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge.

“If some students mobilize, it will have no impact, we’re already at work and we already have a clear game plan. If they deprive themselves of being in their courses, it will result in absolutely nothing, because the government will not go any faster,” declared the Coalition Avenir Québec minister during an interview with chamblymatin.com.

He added that “in the next month, we will again engage with the student representatives, discuss with them. After that, we’ll speak with the cegep and university administrators, with the unions and the employers who accept those interns.”

At the end of January, a meeting between the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ), the Union étudiante du Québec (UEQ), and Roberge took place at the Lanaudière Regional Cégep in Terrebonne. The minister had then maintained that solutions would be presented between then and April, specifying that the status quo was definitely out of the question.

“Personally, [Roberge’s last announcement] convinced me that continuing our pressure tactics, in this case the strike, was the best option,” declared David Lacombe, activist with the Comité unitaire sur le travail étudiant (CUTE), or Student Work Unitary Committee (SWUC), at UQAM.

Last Tuesday, members of the Student Association in the Faculty of Education (ADEESE) surprised many by voting against an unlimited general strike. Among the faculty’s six departmental associations, three of them have not had their final say and will hold another vote to trigger such a strike.

As for the Political Science and Law Faculty Students’ Association (AFESPED), a referendum on an unlimited general strike will take place from February 12 to 14. In any case, three strike days are already planned for March 6 to 8.

Photo: Ludovic Théberge archives Montréal Campus