Student Movement Opposition Exposed
The Mouvement des étudiants socialement responsables du Québec (Quebec Movement of Socially Responsible Students; MESRQ), an organization that supports the tuition hike and opposes the general strike, is facing heat from media and student groups over revelations that some of its spokespersons and leading members are tied to the governing Liberal Party of Quebec.
On its Facebook group and website, the MESRQ has represented itself as a movement of independent students in favor of the Liberal government’s planned $1625 increase in tuition. But photos circulated Wednesday on social media reveal two of the group’s spokespersons, Marc-Antoine Morin and Jean-François Trudelle, are in fact members of the Quebec Liberal Party and hold leading positions in its Montreal youth wing. La Presse reports that a third head of the MESRQ, Arielle Grenier, was also recently active with the Quebec Liberals. In the past week, the MESRQ leaders have appeared in a number of televised interviews in which they made no mention of their Liberal Party ties.
The controversy deepened on Thursday, when another photo was made public showing Education Minister Line Beauchamp meeting with MESRQ spokesman Morin. The day before, Beauchamp claimed she had never met with members of the MESRQ. In addition, the Journal de Montréal reports MESRQ representatives attended a private meeting several weeks ago with Finance Minister Raymond Bachand, to discuss the tuition hike.
While the individuals implicated have denied any impropriety, student representatives across Quebec say the revelations seriously jeopardize the MESRQ’s credibility. “I find it deplorable that a student group claiming neutrality is in fact run by Quebec Liberal Party activists,” said Léo Bureau-Blouin, President of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec. In a press release, the Fédération des associations étudiantes du campus de l’Université de Montréal (FAÉCUM) called on Minister Beauchamp to condemn the “dishonest practice[s]” of the MESRQ.