Education Is a Right,  Not a Privilege

Alex Woznica’s article, printed in The Link last week, is so deeply uninformed that it could never have appeared anywhere other than the Opinions section—and even then it functions only on the loosest possible definition of “opinion.”

His entire article drips with a fatalistic and deeply flawed view of the fight against tuition fees, which would have us all just roll over and submit to the judgment of our betters. Its paternalistic attitudes about government have no place in a democratic society supposedly based on the principles of justice and equality.

His assertion that passing these hikes as part of the provincial budget is some kind of unalterable fait accompli is either an example of profound ignorance or an effort to purposefully mislead.

For those who don’t know, Parliament has the authority to subsequently alter any legislation or act passed by it—all it takes is the will. The only place this political will can come from is the much-derided realm of public opinion, that final bastion of our democratic rights.

As equally ill-founded is Alex’s imputation of responsibility on the CSU for what is in fact a province-wide fight, and one supported by many, many students here on campus.

They are also not the only organization working on campus. The Mob Squad, an autonomous organization with many sub-groups within it, is also fighting these hikes and working to mobilize students against them.

Finally, and most egregiously, the entire article smacks of a perspective which views education as a privilege being offered to students, rather than as a fundamental right within a just society.

That Alex can even conceive of the government using access to education for the province’s poorest students as a tool to punish ‘naughty students’ for exercising their democratic rights, by withholding bursaries, is an affront to the fabric of our society.

It completely ignores the history that brought Quebec to where it is today, the bloody struggle that had to happen simply to secure access to education for the have-nots of this province, and the sacrifices of the generations before us.

We owe ourselves, our predecessors, and the future generations of Québécois society better. We have both a duty and a right to fight for a fair society, and an accessible education, which doesn’t handicap the future of those not fortunate enough to be born into the ‘right’ socio-economic class.

—Gene Morrow
BA Political Science

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