|Anarchopanda meets the Socialist Squirrel!|
This isn't about whether or not you think the Charest government is acting in a corrupt, rigid and oppressive manner nor is it about whether or not you think the protesters are enfants-rois that seek to bankrupt the province for its egoistical self-interests.
This is - to quote Stephen Harper of all people - about a "clear mandate".
At most, the Quebec Liberal Party has one year left in power before the next provincial election. However, it has released in its 2011 budget tuition increases of $1,625 increase over 5 years at a rate of $325 per year. There have been tweaks and changes to the deal but the specifics aren't all that important for this exercise.
It is evident with the amount of media coverage, fiery and divided public opinion and passion surrounding this issue that it will inevitably be a central focus of the next provincial election here in Quebec. The PQ is asking for a freeze on tuition increases (at least while they're still in Opposition), the CAQ is calling for the Liberals to stand firm, Québec Solidaire is genuinely asking for a tuition freeze while Option Nationale is asking for free access to education at the college and university level.
The point is that the Liberals can't really follow-through on its promise of tuition increases if it is voted out of power within a year from now. The only thing is has the power to do is increase the tuition by $325 in 2012 and then hope to be reelected. It is more likely that the party forming the next government will decide whether or not to repeal the hikes that will be rolled out over the years.
So why not settle for the $325 and declare an election for the Fall, make tuition hikes central to your political campaign? Then you'll get an honest-to-God "clear mandate" to go ahead with tuition hikes.
Another thing this would do would be to engage young people in the political process. Instead of protesting against the Quebec Liberals, they would have to align themselves behind one of the many options available to them in the political field.
Budget decisions aren't made at a protest march.
So to sum up:
1. Limit the tuition increase to $325 for 2012.
2. Election is called for Fall of 2012
3. Liberals declare their intentions of following-through with tuition hikes.
Democracy decides the winner.
Personally, I'd like to see Anarchopanda win a seat at the Assemblée Nationale within Québec Solidaire.