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Aftermath of the Maple Spring

A year ago, Québec’s student population started the Maple Spring, which led to the election of a new party in power. Jean Charest’s Québec Liberal Party (PLQ) lost against Pauline Marois’s Parti Québecois (PQ). Marois promised to freeze the tuition that Charest wanted to increase by $1,625 over five years. The Maple Spring led to major strikes in many colleges and universities all over the province of Québec.The Marois government wants to index the tuition fees of Québec universities. The student population feels betrayed as they voted for her party, who promised to freeze the tuition. Back in 1996, the PQ had cut $400 million in education and had raised the possibility of tuition increase.The Education Summit was held at l’Arsenal in Montreal on February 25th and 26th.Four themes were discussed in these two days, which many believed was too little time.The quality of higher education with agreements on challenges educational institutions face.The access and participation in higher education by looking at factors standing in the way of college or university enrollment.The governance and funding of universities by determining key elements that affect them.The contribution of educational institutions and of research to Québec’s overall development to define the progress of critical thinking, ethics, innovation and socioeconomic growth in Québec.Over 350 people attended the summit, including Premier Pauline Marois and Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Pierre Duchesne along with other members of the government. It also included more than 60 representative of higher education schools and civilians.The Association pour une solidarité sociale édutiande (ASSÉ), which includes over 70,000 members of different associations from Quebec’s colleges and universities, was not present at the summit and it believes that the event was a masquerade, and the government had already made their choices.ASSÉ sent a message on February 26th with a… Read More

Carleton University Protester Destroys Free Speech Wall

A free speech wall created and posted by the Carleton Students for Liberty has been swiftly destroyed by a career protester and seventh-year B.A. candidate upset at free speech.CSL (http://carletonsfl.com/), a non-partisan campus association committed to advancing freedom through individual liberty, purchased and posted the free speech wall in the university’s main centre.Carleton University, already ranked one of the worst universities for upholding free speech by the 2012 Campus Freedom Index, has been delivered yet another embarrassing blow.You can see why the rogue student would tear down such a hateful poster.  It states things like “end the welfare state” and “legalize freedom” and “I love the CFS” and “education is not a right.”That’s not to suggest the language was all rosy and cheerful either.  There were comments posted about abortion, gay rights, Israeli “apartheid,” and demanding “equality for all.”And that’s entirely the point.  Free speech doesn’t have to be politically correct or cheerful.  In many instances, free speech is blunt and can be abrasive.  Some people might not “like” to see “Queers are awesome” or “I love my clitoris” or “I love queers and eating pussy!” shoved in their face while walking to or from class, but free speech isn’t about what one would “like” to see on a poster.But as if it wasn’t disgusting enough to commit such vile acts of vandalism, discrimination, destruction of property, and mischief, the petty criminal didn’t stop there: he openly bragged about it on Facebook.He claimed his act of “forceful resistance” was in response to that “meaningless platitude” and “abstract ideal” known as free speech.Most ironically of all, Smith is a gay rights advocate, and a noisy one at that.  He regularly takes advantage of his right to free speech to write in the Charlatan or shout a few chants through a bullhorn… Read More

No Students

“No students!” the listing broker snarled bitterly and unapologetically. Bamboozled, I stammered out a few interrogatory pronouns and adverbs before I could regain my professional composure. I plead my case; “...but they are three responsible young women who have been renting next door from your client’s rental for over a year. They have been the ideal tenants, ask their landlord!”. “Even if they were to pay twice the rent asked, my client would not rent to students”, she responded dismissively.I looked down at the incomplete Promise to Lease – a disappointed client, a commission lost, but one heck of a revelation.In retrospect, as unpleasant as this experience may have been, it compelled me to begin my informal investigation into the rights of student tenants in the surrounding areas of McGill University. It has been over three years since this occurrence, and, after extracting the salient points of many casual interviews with students, I can now claim with confidence that students face profound injustices. In this article, I intend to educate the public on the common illegal and unfair practices of which I have become aware.The Finder’s FeeFor those of you who have never been a tenant in the McGill ghetto, you have probably never heard of a “Finder’s Fee” with regards to an apartment lease. Despite my knowledge of real estate law, I had never heard of such a fee either until three years ago. It seems that some landlords in the McGill ghetto have the gall to ask students to pay an arbitrary fee (i.e. $500) at the beginning of their lease. Sometimes they will cite reasons of high demand for the rental, and the fee is required to secure the rental for the prospective lessee. Other times, the “Finder’s Fee” is disguised, as students are forced to purchase… Read More

Time to liberalize post-secondary education in Canada

More students are enrolling in post-secondary education, as many realise that one’s high school diploma is not worth the paper it is printed on. The Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services (Drummond Report) projects that, on average, the enrolment rate will increase at 1.7% annually. This will inevitably cause tuition increases for students (Drummond: pp. 33). Students would only enrol in a program if they felt that the net benefit derived from the program was greater than the net cost of the program. Provided they were subject to market forces, post-secondary institutions (PSI), as suppliers of education, would likewise be incentivised to offer programs that would provide the greatest net benefit to students, at the lowest cost possible. However PSIs are not subject to the accountability of the invisible hand, rather they have taken the poisoned chalice of government money. This direct access to the treasury does two things: it creates a disincentive for savings to be made and incentivises vested interests that bids up input costs. Numbers from the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (Drummond Report: pp. 246) reveal that the single largest cost to universities is labour – which accounts for 72.2% of every full time student’s tuition fees. Most campus jobs are unionised and trade unions rationally desire to inflate wages. I must stress that trade unions are only one of the many vested interests that walk the corridors of a PSI. Unions ask for control over workplace procedures, employment practices, and pay-scales in the collective agreement, which impedes innovation and quality. While any rational corporation wants to keep labour peace, sometimes market demands of cost minimisation and innovation do not necessarily fulfill the wishes of trade unions. PSIs are not subject to these forces; and the direct incentive is to preserve the labour peace. If… Read More
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