Major student group to skip Quebec's education summit, calls for large protest

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL - A major Quebec student union group says it will boycott the province's much-touted summit on post-secondary education.

The ASSE group says it will skip the upcoming summit because the Parti Quebecois government has refused to consider the option of free university tuition.

Instead, group spokesman Jeremie Bedard-Wien says he's calling for a large popular and student demonstration during the summit on Feb. 26.

Premier Pauline Marois says she wants to reduce the student debt load — but won't rule out a tuition increase tied to inflation.

Many student groups are pushing for a freeze on tuition rates.

Huge protests erupted last spring over the former Liberal government's planned increases, with tens of thousands of students taking to the streets.

Marois scrapped the increases after the PQ took power in September.

ASSE was part of the most radical student group during the social unrest of last year's so-called Maple Spring.

The federation's website says it represents 70,000 college and university students.

Quebec's two-day summit on post-secondary education is scheduled for Feb. 25 and 26.