What Education Summit?

What Education Summit?

Law78_WalkA few years ago, during my studies at Laval, I was president of the Laval University civil engineering student association.  With 660 members, it was far from a political springboard – but it was important enough that I was invited to a special “preliminary consultation” with the faculty dean regarding how to meet student needs in the proposed changes to the layout of the Vachon building – home of about half the faculty.  The dean showed up with plans, which literally left each student association with nothing more than closets.  These plans were final. Our “consultation” was going to decide little more than the placements of power outlets and the colour of the walls.  Walk into the Vachon today, and you can see the closets weren’t even repainted.

It’s funny how, when it comes to student politics, the scale might change but the tactics don’t.

Looking at the upcoming “summit” on post-secondary studies, I’m seeing the same thing happening.  The government might be paying lip service to this being a “consultation”, in which they want to hear the students’ opinions and together, work out a functional system.   Except every suggestion brought forward by student associations last spring have already been rejected.  Gratuity?  Not on the table.  Tuition freeze?  Not on the table.  A 1% salary tax on corporations?  Not on the table.  Just like my faculty dean, the PQ’s plans are already drafted and final – perpetually indexed increasing of tuition.  All that’s left is to decide which assortment of political buzzwords they’re going to call it, and which economic indicator(s) will be used to fix each year’s cost.

Look, it doesn’t matter what your opinions are on the tuition hike – the way the government is going about this is just plain dishonest.  This isn’t a “summit”, it’s a unilateral government decree unconvincingly disguised as participative citizen democracy.  It’s a damn shame the government feels it needs to resort to these underhanded tricks because it doesn’t have the guts to explain to the very base that elected it why the unpopular option is the right one.

Had I known, before that morning meeting with the dean, that we were just going to be presented a final plan and have every one of our objections shot down without explanation, I wouldn’t have shown up either.  I can’t blame the student associations boycotting the summit.  It’s a scam, and their participation would only serve to bolster the PQ’s spin machine of legitimacy.

The worst part of all this, is that if you go to the Vachon today, overall student spaces are much better – the dean was right.  Likewise, I’m tempted to believe indexation is a decent idea.  Doing it in such a dishonest way, though, only erodes any faith we might have in our leaders… and it’s a shame that’s the message being sent in an education summit, of all places.

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About the author:

Farnell-Morisset_BiogFarnell Morisset is passionate about discussing (among other things) the issues of modern social identity for many Québécois who, like him, feel deeply connected to the Québécois nation and culture yet do not identify with the traditional francophone non-practicing Catholic nationalist image.

He is also alarmed by what seems to be an invasive and aggressive polarization of complex social issues for which there are no black-and-white answers. This eventual identity crisis, he feels, will only be solved through good faith in, and honest communication with, all sides pulling on our ever dwindling “pure laine” blanket.

It is with this in mind that he contributes to LifeinQuebec.com as a valued member of our in-house writing team.

Categories: News

About Author

Farnell Morisset

Farnell Morisset is passionate about discussing (among other things) the issues of modern social identity for many Québécois who, like him, feel deeply connected to the Québécois nation and culture yet do not identify with the traditional francophone non-practicing Catholic nationalist image. He has an engineering degree from Université Laval and is currently a law student at McGill University.

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