Quebec student strikes

03.23.05

It’s lunacy on parade all over again, as Quebec student agitators take to the streets to protest the cardinal Quebec government sin of replacing bursaries with loans (i.e. making people actually pay back their handouts… gasp!). And in the usual fashion, the protestors are acting with reckless disregard for personal safety, property, or even the interests of the students they’re supposedly defending, as they wreak havoc all over town:

A five-hour blockade at the Port of Montreal ended yesterday in a standoff with riot police and the arrest of six students protesting against cuts to financial aid.

The typical accusations of “police provocation” on the part of the student shit-disturbers followed, of course.

It goes beyond mere rock throwing and idiocy, though. Votes to strike at several university campuses are threatening the semesters of students who actually want to attend class. Most of my friends are absolutely livid that their semesters may be delayed or even cancelled. To quote one friend at UQAM:

Now the students are saying they don’t give a d*mn if our term is cancelled. I am really pissed at them, and considering suing my student association. If it is cancelled, I want my $1000 back. It is not by throwing that much money out the window that we are “helping future generations”… And then these idiots throw rocks at policemen and block streets.

But the union leaders and protest agitators don’t actually give a crap about the students they’re supposed to represent. None of them care about losing out on class time, since few if any actually ever set foot in a classroom. None of them care about graduating since they don’t actually intend to ever graduate. None of them care about the effect of a delayed semester on summer or other job prospects, because none of them actually ever intend to get a job. Never mind that Quebec university tuition is so cheap, they could pay it off easily if they actually got a job instead of spending their days throwing rocks at police. Where’s the fun in that?

It’s all well and good to try to protect students against spiraling or unreasonable tuition hikes. But things have gotten way out of control. The tuition freeze is crippling Quebec education, but no government can lift it without paying a severe political price. This has disastrous long-term effects on the health of Quebec’s economy and society in general. Accessible education is one thing; accessible quality education is another altogether. If the student agitators get their way, Quebec will have free education that’s completely, utterly useless, creating an entire generation of people who intend on living off the backs of the state.

Unfortunately, the students who understand this basic fact are disorganized and lack a powerful political voice. So as the strikes and protests continue, who is going to stand up for the rights of students who actually want an education?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Puck 03.28.05 at 4:12 PM

I understand that thousands of students went on strike on March 16th without any incident. Then a couple of hundred trouble makers raise a fuss on March 23 and you decide that “union leaders … don’t actually give a crap about the students”.

Missing a term was an empty threat and scare tactic by the government. Pause for a moment and you’ll see how ridiculous the idea is.

But you have already decided that you think students should pay more for their education. So it follows that you would belittle those who believe the goverment should stop cutting funding to education. Even if both sides want the same thing, “quality education”.

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2 Puck 03.28.05 at 4:16 PM

Anything is “accessible” if you have the money to pay for it. Some people believe that you should be able to get an education even if you don’t have the money. You also shouldn’t be ladden with debt before you even start your adult life. All we want is a fair kick at the can.

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