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Quebec students take on Liberal politicians

03/26/2012 08:33 EDT | Updated 05/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Quebec students are promising a whole new round of "disruptive" actions in an all-out effort to force the province to cancel planned tuition hikes.

"There's not just going to be more protests," said student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. "There will be more protests, more disruptive protests, and those protests are going to have more and more people in them."

Rather than massive demonstrations like the one on March 22 — or blocking bridges — the strategy now is to stage smaller protests targetting specific Liberal politicians who won the 2008 election by a slim margin.

Students plan to hit 'where it hurts'

University and CÉGEP student associations say they have their eyes on 10 MNAS — including cabinet ministers Monique Gagnon-Tremblay and Robert Dutil — who were narrowly elected in the last provincial vote.

Students plan to take their campaign door to door, talk to swing voters in certain ridings and hit politicians "where it hurts", explained Léo Bureau-Blouin, president of the Fédération etudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ).

They also plan to canvass Liberal donors by telephone, Bureau-Blouin said.

Transport Minister Pierre Moreau, who was elected in Chateauguay by 495 votes, is also among the targeted MNAS.

Finance minister is unmoved

But the Charest government is refusing to blink.

"Students have to pay their fair share, to ensure the quality of Quebec's universities," said Finance Minister Raymond Bachand.

One political analyst said the longer the student strike drags on, the more impatient protesters will become — and the greater the likelihood of more clashes with police.

"In my view, Mr. Charest has to move first," said le Soleil columnist Pierre-Paul Noreau. "The politics of 'wait-and-see' is not good for him."

"At this point, there is the possibility of fragmentation on the students' side. There's also the possibility the government will lose points in public opinion. So one side or the other has to move, and maturity is on the government's side."

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