Government caves, students declare victory, future is bleak

04.09.05

That pretty much sums up the anticlimactic end of the student strike. The Liberals continued their tradition of being utterly incapable of defending an unpopular decision or having any backbone whatsoever. The student unions learned that violence and disruption is effective.

In the meantime, the students continued to make asses of themselves and an unholy mess of things as they protested at Wal-Mart. This was an obvious repayment to the labour unions for all the money they gave them to fund the protests in effort to topple Charest’s government and restore their buddies the PQ into power. Not that it would require much effort at this point. Roadkill would have an easier time getting re-elected than Charest, who is down to a 23% approval rating according to the latest CROP poll.

Anyway, there were reports of women and children shopping at Wal-Mart being pushed and shoved around. The protesters blocked entrance to the store with shopping carts and decided to provoke police yet again. Traffic was tied up on the Decarie Expressway for hours.

The bottom line is that this “victory” for the students is actually a massive loss for Quebec. No government will try again to cut bursaries for years. And nobody will even dare suggest lifting the tuition freeze; they’ll be too scared. That means that Quebec’s postsecondary education will remain chronically underfunded and will continue to fall behind the rest of North America in terms of quality.

What many students fail to understand about education is that it’s an investment. And, like any investment, you have to put in some money and effort up front to get a payoff later. Ironically, if tuition was double or triple what it is (in other words, a bit closer to what it should be), we wouldn’t see such massive strikes and protests. Students who had to cough up serious money for their classes would actually attend rather than engage in a massive strike where the chief victims are themselves.

The unions know exactly what they’re doing. But most of the students who are tacitly or overtly supporting them don’t understand. They think it’s “cool” to fight for the communist ideal, but I can’t imagine any of them would ever want to experience life under true communism. They talk about “accessible” education, but have no concept of the notion of accessible quality education.

To Jean Charest: grow a spine. Quickly. You desperately need one.

To the students: You love communism so much? Fine, go live in a communist country and quit hassling Wal-Mart shoppers and Friday afternoon commuters… you know, people with actual jobs. Come to think of it, just get a friggin’ job and quit griping about a measly $2,000 in university tuition.

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