Monday, September 3, 2012

Québec's election winners..Students

Everyone is chiming in with their predictions for tomorrow's vote here in la belle...err province.  At least its still a province for now.

Overwhelmingly the expectation is that Pauline Marois and the PQ will  form either a strong minority or a thin majority.  I concur and predict somewhere between 60 and 65 seats for the Pequistes.  But the Parti Québecois isn't the big winner here, not even close.

Its the students, like it or lump it.

Efforts by the Charest government to increase tuition fees resulted in massive student protests, and in some cases violence.  After repeated attempts at negotiation with a hodgepodge of student unions the Liberal leader finally drew a line in the sand.  Despite reducing the amount of the hike and stretching it out over a longer period of time to mitigate the impact, many students remained defiant.

And they have won.

Pauline Marois has promised she will rescind the increases, going so far as suggesting students not pay their tuition bills until after the election.  And this is at least one promise I expect her and her party to keep.  If not the result would likely be more chaos.

By caving to the street Mme Marois has put both herself and her government at the mercy of mob rule in my opinion.  If her government is forced into some tough decisions that don't sit well with any number of groups, the recipe is now clear, just do what Québec's students did.  Take to the street, block traffic, intimidate and bingo...the PQ government will give in to what you want.

The student strikes and tuition increases were not a major issue in this campaign.  But it says here that going forward this issue and the PQ's handling of it during the campaign and afterwards will demonstrate to Quebecers the kind of government they've elected.

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