Last updated: May 18, 2012 2:43 pm
Quebec Education Minister Line Beauchamp resigns
Former Education Minister Michelle Courchesne sworn in to replace Beauchamp
MONTREAL (CUP) — Quebec’s Education Minister Line Beauchamp announced her resignation in a press conference Monday afternoon.
Beauchamp stepped down both as education minister and deputy premier in what she stated was a personal decision. Beauchamp is also stepping down from her position as a Member of the National Assembly and is reportedly leaving politics entirely.
She stated that her last conversation with student leaders on the issue of the very controversial tuition hike made her lose confidence in the possibility of reaching a compromise.
“I am resigning because I no longer believe I’m part of the solution,” she said at the press conference.
Also present at the conference was Premier Jean Charest, who saluted Beauchamp for her “patience, courage and determination.”
“I’m sad over [Beauchamp's] decision,” Charest said. “I wanted her to stay with us and work with us but as she expressed, it’s a personal decision.”
Shortly after Beauchamp's announcement, Michelle Courchesne was sworn in to replace her. Courchesne preceded Beauchamp as Minister of Education, Sport and Leisure from 2007 to 2010.
Later Monday night, for the 21st consecutive night, roughly 2000 students crowded the streets of Montreal to celebrate Beauchamp's resignation — as well as to maintain pressure on the Quebec government to scrap the impending tuition hikes.
Protesters gathered at 8:30 p.m. before marching through the downtown area. At around 10:30 p.m., a standstill occurred between students and police when demonstrators tried to gain access to the Jacques-Cartier bridge.
The protest was declared illegal about an hour later when projectiles were thrown at police. The crowd was charged by riot police several times and divided into groups. Demonstrators repeatedly told police that their actions were making it difficult for the crowd to disperse. “Let us go!” demonstrators chanted in French at police.
Most protesters were pushed into two nearby alleyways. When demonstrators regrouped several minutes later, they were again charged by riot police before dispersing. Police said two arrests were made.