By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Friday May 18, 2012
Charest suspends classes in response to strikes
The Charest government, abandoning any hope of negotiating a settlement with striking students, announced it is suspending classes in colleges and universities where students are still on strike.
The move will mean that students in affected institutions will not lose their session, but will be able to complete it starting in August, with the next school year beginning in October, Premier Jean Charest said.
He added that it was time to take “a pause” to reduce tensions and allow for a more appropriate learning climate.
“We need to bring down the pressure where strikes are still on. We need to bring back social peace,” Mr. Charest said.
The move affects 14 of the 48 colleges where student strikes have closed down schools, as well as certain faculties and departments in 11 of the 18 universities affected by the strike.
But Mr. Charest made it clear he was not backing away from the planned tuition fee hike for this fall and promised a tougher approach to ensure classes can resume in August, with stronger police intervention to guarantee access.
“No student will be forced to attend class. But for others, they have the right to attend classes in a secure environment,” he said.
“We cannot accept that access be blocked … we will not bow to violence and intimidation – our laws need to be obeyed.” (Source: Globe & Mail)