Education – It’s Worth a Million Bucks

Education – It’s Worth a Million Bucks

This opinion piece, about the current state of the student strike impasse, was submitted by Quebec City resident, Glenn Sheils.
The views expressed here are the author’s own and not necessarily agreed with by anyone connected with LifeinQuebec.com. 

Bam-Bam-Bam-Bam…the rattle of “casseroles” sings out nightly through the streets of Québec City and Montréal. The student protest has been going on so long that we are almost used to the noise, disruptions to traffic, buses, bridges and metros.

As Job Patstone mentioned earlier, we had protests in the 1960s, over things that were important…racial equality and discrimination. Today’s protestors are demonstrating over a government handout…..not someone’s right to vote, or live with dignity or right to go to school even, but to receive a subsidy for that school. Protesters in the Mid-East are protesting over basic human rights and political freedoms, not simply money.

Supporters of the strike, Concordia Gaduate Students Assciation, to which I was referred this week, make several points in support of the strike, such as government waste, cutback and relative costs of education.

Some have argued that raising the price of tuition will make people stop going to university. This will not work anymore than raising taxes on gas, alcohol and cigarettes stops people from driving, drinking or smoking. Students attend to be educated, and to have a more interesting career than working at somewhere like McDonalds. According to a 2008 Statscan survey, Quebecers had the lowest tuitions in Canada, and also the lowest attendance…fancy that! In 2005, the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport did a survey in incomes for university graduates and for high-school graduates. The result was a lifetime income of $2.5 million for university grads and $1.1 million for the high-school graduates. Let’s see…..one million in higher income over a lifetime? Plus higher social standing and community respect? Of course students….isn’t that your right? Please excuse your most humble and obedient servant while I polish the silver platter for you.

I don’t agree with cutting taxes on financial institutions, but I do realize that low corporate tax rates are there to attract business (and consequently employment). I will gladly give a company a free pass (or at least a reduced one), if they bring work to a city.

Supporters have also stated that the government wastes millions on bailouts….that may be true in the U.S. but not so much here in Canada. I do not support bailouts to incompetent investors, as happened in Wall Street recently; that is just subsidizing risk and loss. Last year Banque Nationale made $5 billion….that’s billion with a “B”. Our financial mavens have been more responsible than in the U.S.

Don’t think that I am too old to be bothered by this….I will shortly be attending Athabaska University, where I will be paying $7,000/yr as I am an out-of-province student. I just accept it as part of the costs of self-improvement. You can pay the bill, work hard, and improve yourself, your lot and society, and you will be lauded for that. If you really can’t make it, part-time options are available, or you can spend a year at Wal-Mart while you save your money. If you really don’t want to put in the money and effort, don’t stamp your feet and demand a hand-out…..go back to Wal-Mart and you can spend 40 years there instead of one or two.
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About the author:

Glenn Sheils was born in Toronto, ON. and has lived in Winnipeg MB., Beausejour MB. and Neuville QC.
He is presently living in Quebec City, with his fiance.
He is working on a diploma in soutien informatique an will continue his education in that field.

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