Student Strike – CLASSE Responds to Education Minister’s Ultimatum: "A Lack of Respect for Students"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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MONTREAL: 18th April, 2012. Despite the ultimatum detailed by minister Beauchamp this morning, the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE) maintained its position on recent events. “Two weeks ago, following the bolstering of student loans, Mrs. Beauchamp ordered the student movement to hold a new vote on the strike. Today, she is asking student spokespersons to stake their position within 24 hours, while we have been on strike for nine weeks, and without consulting the tens of thousands of striking students”, declared Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson for CLASSE.

Should’ve started from the top, Minister

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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Last weekend, the Minister of Education, Ms. Line Beauchamp, got a stroke of genius. Taking the hint from student associations, she just realized maybe time had come to require from university presidents that they be publicly accountable for their management. To this end, the minister says she is ready to discuss the creation of a new organization mandated to investigate the way in which universities use the billions in public funds they’re entrusted with.

Counterpoint: Davide Mastracci on the case for Quebec’s striking students

Monday, April 16, 2012

Brendan Steven begins his article “Quebec students must pay their share” by stating that even after a 75% tuition increase, Quebec’s tuition will still be the lowest in Canada. This statement is meaningless, as Quebec’s tuition rates are something the rest of the country should strive for with the end goal of entirely accessible education. This idea has been the motivation for student strikers in Quebec who, historically, have played a large part in creating the province’s low tuition rates. In fact, it was the first of nine general student strikes in Quebec in 1968 that caused a tuition freeze that lasted over 30 years.

Read the full article here.

Student Financial Aid Money Used for Other Purposes

Friday, April 13, 2012

Régys Caron, Le Journal de Montréal

Last year, Quebec saw a windfall of $550 million from the federal government to help fund loans and bursaries for CEGEP and university students. The money, however, has been used for other purposes.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) confirmed that a check for $275 million was issued in January 2011, followed by a second one, in the same amount, this past January. The money is issued under the Canada Student Loans Program. Although Quebec does not take part in the program, the province is entitled to "alternative payments which are intended to support its own student financial assistance programs," HRSDC indicated via email.

Guy Rocher: The Student Movement’s Cause is Just

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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Lisa-Marie Gervais, Le Devoir

One of Québec's education system founders advocates abolishing tuition fees

Sociologist Guy Rocher is taking sides: he’s been in the streets with the students since the start of the strike mobilization. And he believes in demanding more than a tuition freeze, in organizing for free education, a struggle he believes is “just,” he told Le Devoir in an interview. “Free education is something we should be working towards,” said Mr. Rocher. “If we start out with this basic principle, we’ll be forced to re-think our policies completely. As long as we stay on the subject of freezes and hikes, we’ll be limited to discussing the numbers.”

Student strike - Teachers are apprehensive about the return to class

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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by Lisa-Marie Gervais

Translation:  Travis Ahearn

Despite the lack of instruction, they will have to evaluate student performance

If a student has only finished half a course, on what is he/she marked? Annie Lalancette, part-time faculty in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University is wondering this, herself.  ''I'm a teacher and I have no idea.  I only gave 7 out of 13 courses.  Frederick Lowy (the University's president) says that professors have academic liberty to evaluate students, but how does one do this, when some haven't even been given the course content?'' she asks.

Getting out of the Crisis brought on by the Tuition Fee Increase

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Translated from French

It was the set of choices of the current government that led to a multi-billion dollar annual decrease in its revenues. It was also their set of choices that made it so that Quebec’s state is spending billions annually in subsidies for businesses or pays hundreds of millions in excess for medicines.

Under these conditions, it is normal that the students are disputing the government’s decision. They want negotiation to bear on the $1625 increase to tuition fees and not only on the improvement of the financial aid program. The first step for undoing the crisis of the increase to tuition fees is thus that the government must show some good faith and agree to look at other sources for funding university education.

Québec Solidaire wants to contribute to the debate by showing how the government can easily abandon the proposed increases. It is possible to do so while maintaining the planned reinvestment in universities, without modifying taxes for individuals and without increasing the debt of universities or that of Quebec.

What is the point of education?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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By Marie-Pier Béland, sociology student

While it is still impossible to evaluate the scope of the impact the increase in tuition fees will have caused this year, the government has already announced its objective to continue raising fees even more violently. In order to convince us this measure is necessary, the government is recurring to the same terms as those who oppose the tuition raise: social justice, quality of education, accessibility. Under the appearance of similarity, these terms are used to portray two clashing visions and purposes of post-secondary education. As students, it is time to choose our side/camp.

The ’96 strike : what if history repeated itself?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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“Public funds are at an all-time low. We are going to have to make concessions. Students will have to pay their fair share”. Does this sound familiar to you?  This speech does not come from 2011, but from 1996, when the PQ government held the same discourse the Charest government is serving us today to justify raising tuition fees. The PQ was pretexting a crisis in public finances in order to raise tuition fees but was abruptly stopped in its tracks: the student movement was able to freeze tuition by calling a general strike. The question is: in 2012, will history repeat itself?

As of 94, federal transfer cuts that impacted higher education were used by Lucien Bouchard as a pretext to put forward his “zero deficit” policy, in an attempt to “cure” Québec public finances.

Speak Red

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

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A text by Catherine Côté-Ostiguy
Inspired by « Speak white », from Michèle Lalonde
Director: Jean-David Marceau 
Music: Alexandra Stréliski http://alexandrastreliski.bandcamp.com/
Translated by: Cameron Joseph Monagle
 
Speak red,
It’s so beautiful to hear you talk about social equality, and of the educated and engaged youth who will one day leave our universities.
They’d like to keep us ignorant and docile, but we are not mute, and our voice carries.
We are not idiots, nor criminals, nor ignorant nor cowards,
speak red.
And don’t accept only simplistic economic statistics and obstinate silence from our Ministers as a response.
 
Speak red.
let’s talk about education and social justice.
Talk about the Parent report, or the Quiet Revolution,
of our predecessor’s battles,
for their victories to be brushed aside today.
Talk of routing our government.
We’re a sacrificed generation, but we’re eager to learn and for a more just society
where education is not a luxury.
And when you really speak red,
when you get down in the streets,

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