Once again, the boycotting students took to the streets of Montreal last night in protest of tuition hikes. Once again, Montrealers are subject to broken glass and a shattered downtown core. And once again, the student leaders of the organization refuse to take any responsibility or action for what they have unleashed on our beautiful city.
The protests were initiated over a proposed tuition hike of $1,650 over the next 5 years, which would still make Quebec's tuition among the lowest in Canada. Initial claims in favour of the strike made by the students were over the notion of accessibility to education, and how the tuition hikes would be yet another unjust obstacle for children from lower income families trying to attain post secondary education.
However, it then became quite clear that the link between accessibility and tuition is not as linear as the protesters made it out to be. If that were the case, then Quebec should boast the highest graduation rate and university attendance among the provinces, since we offer the lowest tuition, and Ontario should have the lowest graduation rate and attendance. The opposite is true. Ontario enrolls more students per capita in post secondary education and graduates more students at the university level than Quebec.
Ok, on to the next. The students then started to claim that this wasn't solely about education, this was about an entire corrupt government system they were trying to overhaul and overthrow. Fair enough. I don't think a single Quebecker would disagree with the dire state of corruption and politics in our province.
The students were trying to unleash their own "Printemps Érable" or "Maple Spring." Never mind the fact that comparing themselves to the people of countries such as Syria is grossly hyperbolic at best and denigrating at worst. The striking students refuse to stand for government mismanagement of funds. Ah yes, the students are the true fiscal conservatives, simply looking out for the hard working tax payer, trying to make sure that tax dollars are put to good use.
One student site put the cost of the strikes at $104 000 per hour.
It would seem perplexing then that none of the students have spoken out against how the strikes are themselves adding to the unduly burden to the already over taxed tax payer. No, that would be too logical. Instead, the students claim that the onus is solely on the government to surrender to the demands of an effective fringe group.
Yes. Fringe group. The number of post-secondary students in Quebec is roughly 460,000 and of those, roughly 165,000 are striking. An even smaller percentage of those students have either turned to violence and insist on an unabashed level of demagoguery that has effectively hijacked this movement.
The striking students would be best to distance themselves from their so-called leaders in this lobbying effort, as these leaders have done nothing but hurt their cause. C.L.A.S.S.E, the most militant of the student groups, has systematically refused to condemn the protesters' violence and terror tactics. Moreover, they are the ones who are responsible for shutting down negotiation talks with the government yesterday, by refusing to abide by the 48-hour truce. In blind solidarity, the other student groups, FEUQ and FECQ left the table, only to blame the government.
Considering the last two protests have turned violent, one would think that the students would be the first to distance themselves from those who are hurting their cause, and reclaim the protest as peaceful. Once again, it would seem as though militant political rhetoric supersedes common sense.
The students must realize that their public support is waning. Nobody likes daily metro interruptions, traffic jams and vandalized property, and that is exactly what the student strike is becoming synonymous with. If the students wish to be taken seriously, they must seriously reconsider their representation.