Quebec students protesting – will anything result?

I normally stay away from anything related to provincial politics – at least in this blog – but it’s time to comment on the student protests.

At this time, approximately 100,000 Quebecois [and Quebecoises] are marching downtown going past the Olympic Stadium, the Port of Montreal and other areas – creating havoc with traffic. I’ll assume they are heading towards Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s Montreal offices at the corner of Sherbrooke and McGill College.

Most of these are students. Some are taking children along. Others are from various labour organizations. And of course those who just like to protest.

The reason for the protests? Increase in student tuition fees. The Quebec government wants to increase fees $325 a year for 5 years. Even with the increase, Quebec students will still be paying the lowest university tuition not just in Canada but I believe throughout North America.

The students are crying… errr… protesting… because the increase is too much. In fact most either want no increase. A minority even wants no tuition fees at all. Yes. Abolish tuition fees.

Problem is that the university system has a huge deficit. They are trying to work with more students and less money. Without any increase in funding – and it won’t come from the government – I can see the universities even decreasing the number of students.

Already you have students with 80% plus average who are not getting accepted. Can you imagine the minimum average after if they decrease the number of students?

Having no tuition fees would be rubbish [to coin a high-school English teacher from England, I think]. Universities would need to get more funding from the provincial government. The only thing they could do is increase taxes. While it will affect all tax payers, they will still be paying quite a bit. And they will be paying well after they graduate – even if they don’t graduate.

Someone in ther Letters to the Editors in the Montreal gazette commented that he say more than one protesters protesting while talking on their iPhone, wearing expensive shoes, etc. Seems that some of these students can learn a bit of economics and sacrifice a few things.

Don’t buy an iPhone – buy something else or an older model. The base iPhone 4S is $159 for 3 years plus a data plan of maybe $60+ a month. An older model is free – but most people want their latest and greatest. They also have to change their phone every couple of years because the battery dies. So the $325 they lose a year [well for the first year] can be made up simply by the phone they use.

So if the increase doesn’t come through, either the universities will have to decrease the student population [which indirectly affects the economy] or the government increases taxes – which no one wants.

And for your information, fees increased while I was at both Concordia and McGill universities. In the case of the former, I had a student loan and was paid off around 10 years later. On top of that, there was a tax deduction on the interest.

While I do agree with the increase, it should be spread out over more years. Maybe $325 increases every two years or something like that.

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About ebraiter
computer guy

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