Let’s put aside the philosophical principle that post-secondary education should be a universal right for a moment, since it’s one of those things that you either agree with, or you don’t.
There’s another side to this debate, one that’s beyond ideological bickering. There is a blatant lack of logic, accountability and prudency in our province’s financial management—or rather, mismanagement—of funds
It seems that, no matter where money goes in this province, public investments are coupled with chronic corruption, collusion and bad execution.
We could be talking about Quebec’s infrastructure or construction projects, of course. Or, closer to home, we could be talking about Concordia’s $14 million in severance packages and $1.4 million interest-free loans.
Money is wasted left and right in this province. So why is it surprising that students are unwilling to hand over any more cash, as our governments continually prove that they are incapable of adequately using it, keeping their promises or producing anything beneficial in the long-term?
As long as Charest is in power, based on the precedent the Liberals have set for themselves, it’s understandable that students don’t think tuition should be raised—we simply don’t trust the people that are asking for our money.
Is it unreasonable we don’t want to be paying “our fair share” when the system at large is one where, despite high taxes, the roads are crumbling and corruption and dishonest governance run rampant?
Rather than confronting our skepticism, though, the government hasn’t exactly made itself available to clarify or defend its position. Though three student papers requested interviews with the Ministry of Education and Finance to explain their side of the story, none were granted.
We did our research and still have outstanding questions about the numbers, logistics and implementation of these hikes. (Call us back.)
If the government is asking us to fork over our money, again, is isn’t it justified we ask for some clarification as to where it’s going and why?
There’s a lot of misinformation flying around on both sides of the tuition debate, which is why access is so paramount to understanding this budget and the rationale behind it. To start a dialogue about “fair” ways to fund education, we need to be open to at least engaging with each other.
To the provincial government, prove us wrong. Answer our questions. Give us good numbers. And let’s start this dialogue.
To students, this Thursday is strike one. Get out on the streets, and when you do, make sure not to forget your end of the deal. Know what’s at stake, what you want, and what we stand
to lose. Get informed about the issues, crunch some numbers, follow the money, get your facts in order—and prepare yourself for a proper public debate.
Don’t make us out to be shit-disturbers on Nov. 10. We’re here to start something constructive. Someone has to.