The Tofu of Canada

Students march through downtown Montreal on March 22. Photo Erin Sparks

Students are being so selfish.

They are standing in the way of something so beautiful—Quebec becoming more like the rest of Canada. As everyone knows, students in the rest of Canada pay higher tuition and la belle province should catch up.

Quebec has a history of looking over its shoulder when it comes to policy-making. There’s a reason no one’s ever called Quebec “a unique nation within Canada.” It’s because we are the tofu of Canada—we absorb the guiding principles of everyone else.

On the heels of matching school funding with our neighbours, Quebec will finally be able to complete the rainbow connection in other financial matters.

Charest is telling us that the government can’t make it work within the constraints of the current budget while citizens struggle to pay the exorbitant taxes imposed by his government.

Where tuition is higher, taxes are lower. British Columbia’s income tax is 5.06 per cent for anyone earning $37,000 or less—in Quebec it’s 16 per cent. We also pay 9.975 per cent provincial sales tax, but in Alberta, they pay nothing at all.

After tuition goes up, taxes wouldn’t need to go all the way down to the levels of other provinces; they would just need to move in that direction. Quebec would just be doing its fair share to compensate for axing our services.

Students shouldn’t strike, or rally, or do anything beyond joining a Facebook group to stop this progress. It’s amazing how passionate they are, even though they clearly haven’t looked into it. Do your research, students! Other provinces pay more in tuition, so that means other provinces function better than ours. Look it up.

We need to start aligning ourselves with the rest of Canada so we can start the shift away from being this outlier of a high-tax, high-service society, to the much more desirable low-tax, low-service society.

Everyone having access to the same opportunities, regardless of what family they were born into or what lucky breaks they’ve had is so passé.

So let’s be like the rest of Canada and equalize our social and budgetary policies with them. And while we’re at it, maybe one day we’ll notice that, just like Quebec is part of Canada, Canada is part of America. Canada seems like a unique nation, but as we know, there’s no such thing…