Enough is Enough

The student protests have been going on for eleven or twelve weeks now, and I’m long past sick of this crap. Students are behaving like petulant children, refusing to accept any offer of compromise and insisting that the government essentially do whatever they want.

News flash… it doesn’t work that way.

While the students may believe they are the modern embodiment of Rosa Parks, fighting for their rights against an oppressive system, they are in reality much closer to the Tea Party down in the ‘states… the party of “no”, refusing to negotiate, discuss or compromise.

Just this week a Tea Party candidate won a Senate seat away from a 36-year Senate veteran, largely because the Republican base felt that incumbent senator was working too closely with Democratic senators in order for the Senate to function. This is called compromise, and it is what’s required for any political system to work. When interviewed later, the Tea Party candidate (now the freshly minted senator, fresh off his victory) informed the “journalist” (I put journalist in quotes because the interview was on Fox News) that his idea of compromise was Democrats crossing over and adopting Republican values and supporting Republican ideas.

I never knew that being an idiot was required to hold public office in the USA… but I really shouldn’t be surprised, should I?

The above digression into American politics serves to highlight the hardheadedness of students here in Quebec. We benefit from the lowest tuition in Canada, offset by one of the highest (if not the highest) tax rate. The government has indicated they are willing to meet with the students, but the tuition hikes are going forward and are not up for debate. The students refuse to meet unless the fee increases are completely removed.

While the government has made some concessions, making the increase effective over 7 years instead of 5 and opening discussions on university governance, the students have moved in the other direction. Instead of a continued freeze, student groups are now insisting that university tuition be further reduced and eventually eliminated. Seriously?

While I don’t disagree that governance is a problem, and I’m sure that, being Quebec, there is significant wastage and most likely some corruption, I don’t see how free tuition is anywhere close to reasonable. The province already pays ~86% of the cost, per student, and these increases would still see the government picking up the tab for more than 80% of the cost. The students currently pay ~$2,000 per year, and the increase of $1,750 over 5 years would bring tuition to $3,750; significantly below the Canadian average and preserving Quebec’s spot in at the bottom of the provincial education cost comparison chart.

Having been through the university system not so long ago, I realize that additional funding is necessary. Tuition can go up, the government can tax more, or the government can re-allocate money from other programs to universities. There’s a 4th option too… private corporates can contribute funds to universities… but really, no one wants corporately-funded schools, do they?

Taxes are already way too high in Quebec, students refuse to pay more in tuition or accept corporate contributions… so I guess that leaves reallocation of funds. Tell me students… should we take money from healthcare, or from daycare, or from the pension plan? How about we take money from elementary and high school education?

If you don’t like the government’s plan… that’s fine. But come up with something better (and feasible), or just shut up and stop pissing off the province. You’re an embarrassment, really.

Students (or people acting on behalf of the students) staging riots and throwing smoke bombs in metro stations are acceptable forms of protest? If you remove the word “students” from the previous sentence, I really feel that you’re getting into the realm of domestic terrorism. We wouldn’t tolerate anarchists pulling this crap, nor would we appreciate foreign nationals coming here and disrupting our mass transit system. Yet, because they’re students, this is overlooked.

Enough is enough people. The government needs to crack down and issue an ultimatum: Back in class on Monday, or you lose your semester. If you lose your semester in this way, You’ll need to reapply for your position for the fall, as incoming students have to be accounted for, and there is only so much room in a class. Protesters should be arrested on the spot, as the majority of the protests now don’t have permits and are therefore illegal.

My patience with this crap is now totally gone. I hope every single protester gets introduced to the business end of a police baton, repeatedly and with great enthusiasm. Reason clearly doesn’t work for these people… enough with the carrot, its time for the stick.

 

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5 thoughts on “Enough is Enough

  1. A few observations:
    1. You obviously have not looked into this ‘offer of compromise’.
    2. Why stop at comparing this movement to the tea party movement? re: Godwin’s law. This type of comparison (and others…) are useless. Please focus on the facts of this movement.
    3. The ‘lowest tuition in Canada’ argument is ridiculous. A more accurate view would be that tuition is high in the rest of Canada. And why compare us to other provinces and not other OECD countries? Please strive for a more holistic perspective of this argument.
    4. Good point, about wastage and corruption.
    5. While education is a personal investment, it is also a a societal investment. More accessible education predicts better health, decreased crime, and a competitive economy.
    6. Are you saying that as soon as a small percentage of protesters do something stupid that no one should be allowed to protest? The last time I checked, this is a democracy.
    7. I don’t give a shit if you’re embarrassed, or if your patience is running thin.

    • Nice to hear from you, Scabbers… but please don’t post as “Anon” when I can see your email in the comments :p

      1 – The offer included spreading the fee increase over 7 years instead of 5… when hopefully everyone in school now would have graduated. Also, increased availabilities of bursaries and better student loan terms.
      2 – The student movement, for the longest time, refused to even negotiate unless the government essentially agreed with them and cancelled the increase. This isn’t discussion… this is being obstructionist. A compromise isn’t “you agree to do what I want”…. a compromise involves both sides giving a bit.
      3 – How many universities in Mexico or Finland can *you* name? Now… how many in Canada, the US or the UK. McGill is one of the top universities in the world, and students there pay a pittance compared to the ROC or the USA. Americans, even though they pay “foreign” rates, are falling over each other to send their kids to McGill… what does that tell you?
      4 – Ah Quebec… the province where we pay twice as much for roads that last half as long.
      5 – You know what promotes better heath? More doctors and preventative medicine. You want a reason to strike? How about the brain-drain in the medical field?
      6 – If the students are anti-anarchist, and it a small minority that are causing these disruptions… where are the student leaders standing up and denouncing the violence? If they do nothing… that’s pretty much supporting them.
      7 – It’s not just me who’s embarrassed or irritated… the students are losing (or have lost) the support of the people. Look at all the money universities will lose when American students, paying full fare, go elsewhere in Canada… taking their money with them.

      • Lol, really? They have lost the support? Where have you seen that ? In Journal de Montréal ? You might want to increase what’s left of your IQ and look elsewhere. No scientific poll has been done on this matter, and actually the only one showed that Quebecers are AGAINST a hike. Oh shoot, your argument in invalid! http://cfs-fcee.ca/html/english/media/mediapage.php?release_id=1352

        I still can’t believe you support a hike even if you agree there are wastage and corruption. Let’s pay more and more and more without actually knowing where our money is spended.

        An interesting article in French (I’m sure you’ll get over that, Google translate is your friend) that shows what’s happening to money in Québec. Same will happen with the tuition hike.
        http://www.lapresse.ca/debats/editoriaux/ariane-krol/201205/18/01-4526785-detournement-de-fonds.php

        Anyways, I don’t feel like losing my time here, if after 104 (15 weeks, not 12) you can’t get any fact straight, well to bad for you.

  2. I love how you mention that we live in a democracy, yet even though the majority of Quebecers support the tuition hike, you still think you have a right to peddle your nonsense. The people have spoken. Back do the sewers you dirty hippies.

    • BTW it’s no surprise that pretty much only arts, fine arts, social studies, and basket weaving departments are on strike. People in sciences, health, and engineering understand the importance of staying in class and also realize that once out of school their new careers will easily pay for any debt they accumulated. I think the protesters realized that the programs they are enrolled in will essentially prepare them for flipping burgers or finger painting. Now they want someone else to pay for their poor choices.

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