NEWS

Still no clear guidelines for student strike process

04/10/2015 12:18 EDT | Updated 06/11/2015 05:59 EDT
Questions over irregularities in how students vote to boycott classes have renewed calls for a clearer voting process.

UQAM rector Robert Proulx has called on the provincial government to set clear guidelines for strike votes given the violence at the school this week.

Students at CÉGEP du Vieux Montréal are voting for a fourth time this week on continuing their strike after three earlier votes with varying results.

Many student votes, including the ones at CÉGEP du Vieux Montréal, are done by a show of hands.

There are worries that students are intimidated into voting for a strike by the open vote.

Former Parti Québécois cabinet minister Serge Ménard made recommendations on how students should vote in his 2014 report on the student strikes of 2012.

Among the recommendations, the government should recognize students' right to strike following a secret ballot, by clarifying the law of certification and financing for student associations.

"(If) the right of strike is recognized in a law, there should be these conditions attached to it," Ménard told CBC Daybreak.

"An open and free discussion where all students are called to come and is followed by a secret vote that must be available to all students."
Ménard says clarifying the laws would work in the students' favour.

"I'm sure the majority of students would want that their strike is clearly democratic so that the objectives of their strike are well understood by the public."

Education Minister François Blais said he would not address the issues of the right to education or the right to strike, but he repeated the government does not "recognize the right of certain people, even as part of a democratic process, to prevent other people from going to class."

Ménard believes the Liberal government has not acted on his recommendations because of partisan, political reasons.

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