Martine Desjardins, president of Quebec's university students association, says Pauline Marois' promise to cancel a tuition fee hike is a victory for the students group.
Marois, the province's premier designate, made the tuition fee promise a scant 24 hours after her election.
Desjardins said that while the issue of tuition fees has been addressed, FEUQ -— the Federation des Étudiants Universitaires du Québec — has other items of importance to pursue with the new government.
The Parti Québécois also pledged to hold a summit on post-secondary education soon after forming government. The promise said the summit would take place, or be announced, within 100 days of the PQ taking power.
Desjardins added that Jean Charest's departure as premier will modify the relationship between the FEUQ and the Liberal Party. She noted conflict between the two groups did not revolve around Charest but more so "against the ideas defended by his government."
Desjardins attributes a part of Charest's demise to the work of students and a mobilization campaign that took place in his riding.
"It's certain that we were very present in the Sherbrooke riding during the election to make sure that Charest, who was elected with a weak majority vote in 2008, was not reelected," said Desjardins.
Another more militant student association, CLASSE — the Coalition Large des Association pour une Solidarite Syndicale Étudiante — has as its central mandate a goal to keep fighting for free tuition. But Desjardins said FEUQ plans a calmer approach on pressure tactics.
Desjardins said she does not believe CLASSE's campaign for free tuition will negatively impact the FEUQ's plans. She pointed out that both groups had clearly outlined their differences during the student crisis.
The FEUQ president also said a consensus between the government and all student associations is possible.
Earlier on HuffPost:
<strong><a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/quebecvotes2012/story/2012/08/16/parti-quebecois-pauline-marois-english-interview.html" target="_hplink">SOURCE: CBC</a></strong> <strong>What is the central issue in this election for Quebecers?</strong> First of all, that it is integrity, I think. We have major problems with the actual government, with Charest's government, that he didn't decide to resolve the problem or act on this issue. They decided to have an inquiry commission only after two years and a half of demand on the part of the population. So, I think it is a major issue. The other one is to have real answer to the problems of the population of Quebec. Old people have many great problems - they don't have access to services at home. The family doesn't have access to daycare centres. There are major problems at the emergency [rooms] in hospitals. It is important to present real solutions to the population of Quebec. <em>PQ leader Pauline Marois responds to a question during a news conference Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Montreal. </em>
<strong>Would you see it as part of your role as premier to protect the minority Anglophone community?</strong> The anglophones are Quebecers, as are the French, as are the new Quebecers. For me it's a major issue. In the past, the English community knows, I respected the English community. I gave the complete leadership on the school boards when I was minister of education. [As] minister of health and services, we protect[ed] the accessibility of the English community to health [and] social services. For me, it's absolutely fundamental. We will continue in the same perspective we have in the past. We will defend minority rights. You know, I would like to ask to the other parts of Canada to respect the minority of the French Canadians. So, for me, it's absolutely necessary to do that. <em>Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois speaks to reporters during an election campaign stop in Saint-Jerome, Que., Wednesday, August 15, 2012. </em>
<strong>The proportion of Anglophones in Quebec has been decreasing in the last 15 years. The number of Allophones speaking French both at home and in public is going up. Why is the PQ proposing to limit access to English CEGEPs and apply the Bill 101 eligibility rules?</strong> You know, now there is always half of the new Quebecers who are going to the English CEGEP. After that, often they are going to work in English. So for us, that is so important. We are a real minority in North America. Two per cent of the population are French speaking. We have to protect this reality. That is why we decided to implement the [Bill] 101 in the CEGEPs. We will help the anglophone [CEGEPs] to continue to have the possibility to receive some Francophones to learn English if they want, but only for English [courses]. We will work with the anglophone CEGEPs and I think we will be able to have a solution to apply to make this change. We will not do this change on one year. We will do this change on a mid-term period. <em>PQ leader Pauline Marois responds to questions during a news conference in an old sawmill in Trois-Rivieres, Que., Tuesday, August 14, 2012. </em>
<strong>If you win on Sept. 4, will you see yourself as having a mandate to call a referendum in your first term in office?</strong> No. But if I want to do a referendum, I will have the possibility to hold one.... So if it is possible for us to convince the majority of the population to vote yes for a referendum, it will be possible for a referendum.... We could do it, but also it could be possible to not hold one. <em>Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois speaks to reporters during an election campaign stop in Saint-Jerome, Que., Wednesday, August 15, 2012. </em>
<strong>Your proposal for a secular charter has a lot of people talking. How can a modern, diverse, free and open society like ours say to the citizenry you cannot wear outwardly religious symbols if you are working in the public system?</strong> I think it is important for the government to be neutral. There are many people from different religions. That is respect for all these religions to say to these people when you will work for the government, you will be neutral. It's for the respect of many different religions, so the state [does] not to have one religion.... The [crucifix in the National Assembly] is a part of our history and we don't have to renounce our history. It is why I accept the crucifix in our National Assembly. <em>Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois speaks to reporters at a news conference during a campaign stop in Montreal, Sunday, August 12, 2012. </em>