Parti Quebecois: We'd scrap Charest's tuition plan within first 100 days | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Parti Quebecois: We'd scrap Charest's tuition plan within first 100 days

PQ candidate and former student leader Leo Bureau-Blouin responds to a question next to PQ leader Pauline Marois in Laval, Que. on Thursday Aug. 2, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

LAVAL, Que. - The Charest government's controversial university funding plan would be scrapped within the first 100 days of a Parti Quebecois government.

That's the promise made by the PQ on the first full day of the Quebec election campaign Thursday.

PQ Leader Pauline Marois said she would quickly eliminate tuition hikes, cancel the emergency protest law Bill 78, and call a summit on how to better fund universities if she won the Sept. 4 election.

She made those promises while accompanied by one of the leaders of the student strikes — who is now running for her as a candidate in Laval, near Montreal.

That promise in the company of Leo Bureau-Blouin came just after a rowdy night-time protest in Montreal resulted in 17 arrests and some injuries.

But Marois said it's not the students who are to blame for the climate of social unrest — she said it's the fault of Jean Charest's Liberal government.

Marois accused the premier of manipulating the student issue, and calling a summer election, to head to the polls before a corruption inquiry returns from its summer break on Sept. 17.

"I'm sorry, but Mr. Charest is profoundly respeonsible for what is going on right now," she said.

"The Liberals decided to use this conflict to mask their record. It's a cynical and premeditated attempt to manipulate public opinion."

Meanwhile, Charest made an economic promise Thursday: to reduce unemployment to 6 per cent and work to create 250,000 jobs by 2017.

The 2011 unemployment rate of 7.8 per cent was significantly lower than when Charest took office in 2003 and comparable to that in the rest of Canada and the United States — which Charest called a first in 30 years.

The Liberal leader said his employment targets would be reached partly because of mining development under his Plan Nord.

However, the premier's critics suggest his economic record isn't so clean. They note that Quebec's debt has actually increased since he took office and, while he made good on a promise to cut personal income taxes, he increased the sales tax and fees for services.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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