Canada
2012 was a big news year for Quebec, 2013 will be bigger

A flag of Quebec is seen as thousands of demonstrators march against student tuition fee hikes in downtown Montreal, August 22, 2012.

Credits: REUTERS

GIUSEPPE VALIANTE | QMI AGENCY

MONTREAL -- A nightly parade of indignant students; an alleged videotaped dismemberment followed by an international manhunt; a corruption inquiry that exposed dirty political actors, a string of mafia assassinations; and the rise of the separatist Parti Quebecois and the near-assassination of its leader: QMI Agency was busy with Quebec news in 2012.

However, the above-mentioned stories will not end this year. Sure, 2012 was a big year for Quebec news but the province's ongoing dramas could make 2013 even bigger.

Quebec universities learned in early December that together they will have to cut $120 million from their budgets by the end of the fiscal year. Striking students might have claimed victory when the PQ cancelled the Liberal-imposed university tuition hike, but exactly how universities will be funded is a question that is far from settled. Watch for tensions to rise in February during the summit on higher education.

Luka Magnotta, charged with murdering and dismembering a 33-year-old Montreal student, is in solitary confinement pending a March preliminary hearing. QMI Agency declared Magnotta, who pleaded not guilty to the murder, its Newsmaker of the Year. Watch for Magnotta to dominate headlines in the spring.

Quebec's public inquiry on corruption in the construction industry has already provided damning testimony regarding Montreal municipal politics, but it has barely discussed the provincial sphere. Mafia don Vito Rizzuto was stopped in the street in November and handed a subpoena to testify at the commission. It is unclear how much the embattled gangster will cooperate, however. Watch for the provincial Liberals and even the governing PQ to be mentioned by future witnesses.

Mafia experts told QMI Agency this year that not much is known about the power struggle that has engulfed Montreal's underworld. Experts generally agree, however, that the violence is not over. The latest fatal shooting occurred in late December at a north Montreal cafe located in a building owned by a known mafioso. Until last week, mafia-related shootings in 2012 did not target civilians, however, the latest victims were not known mafia associates. Watch to see if mafia violence spills into mainstream Montreal society in 2013.

The PQ's controversial budget passed in 2012, but the party's minority status will continue to make future legislative pursuits difficult. Quebecers could be back at the polls in 2013.

Also watch for Richard Henry Bain to make more headlines next year. He's the self-proclaimed "Christian soldier" charged with killing a stage technician outside the PQ's election night venue.

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