Strike may stir Quebec election

A steadily worsening confrontation between the Quebec government and striking teachers may force Premier Rene Levesque to call a provincial election, reports Monitor contributor David Milne.

With 80,000 members of the teachers' union defying the harshest back-to-work legislation ever seen in Canada, Mr. Levesque hinted Wednesday that he may place the dispute before the voters of the French-Canadian province. The premier, reelected in 1981, would ordinarily have until 1986 to call an election.

The threat came from an angry Levesque after the teachers, rejecting an 11 th-hour compromise offer, continued a walkout that has shut down primary and secondary schools across the province of 6 million since late January.

The bitter dispute became explosive this week when Levesque threatened teachers with heavy fines, loss of seniority and even dismissal if they did not return to work. A decision by the financially strapped Quebec government to roll back lucrative contracts for civil service workers started the clash.

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