Charest was Aware Universities are not Underfunded

After months of protests, disinformation from the media, and mass police brutality which sent shockwaves of footage all across the world, people learn the awful truth that students were proclaiming from the beginning.

In a leaked report, the Canadian Press has learned that former Premier Jean Charest had conducted a research to learn whether universities required additional funding. The results found by the Department of Education revealed that Quebec spent two percent more per student than the average in other provinces, $29,242, as opposed to $28,735.

Jean Charest in August during the election campaign, which he lost to Marois Sept 4th

“I think people protest more loudly when they are not listened to,” stated Premier Pauline Marois at a news conference in Montreal, with the announcement of an education summit that will be held in the upcoming year where hopefully a solution can be found. For now, tuition will be frozen until 2014.

This makes way for a very grim contrast to how today’s Quebec could be had the public been aware of the information from the start, since the study was made in 2011. Student groups continued to maintain their position on the fact that universities are not underfunded, yet the Charest government insisted the opposite for reasons unknown.

According to Statistics Canada, education funding from the federal government was 84% in 1977, as opposed to a staggering 57% in 2007, while tuition fees continue to rise. In Ontario, where tuition is the highest, fees have increased by at least $300 within the past year. The issue with increased tuition is the rise of privatization involving corporations, making schools into a marketing strategy rather than reserved as a place of learning.

Alas, where government spending has been heading does raise eyebrows. Military funding by the Harper government is reportedly higher than during the Cold War. Whether these facts have a connection with diminishing interest in education, you decide.

Since November 10th 2011, which was hailed as the first major protest marking the movement’s starting point; thousands were victim to police brutality while others were targeted for donning the red square. Recently, former co-speaker of CLASSE Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was convicted of contempt of court on charges which have as much to do with censorship as political agenda.

One must wonder how a man must feel knowing the truth all along and being to blame for an act caused by a media backlash seeking a scapegoat. Most of all- this could have been avoided. Charest had the chance to step down from his decision on the announced tuition increase and chose not to. The student associations repeated time and again the phrase and the newspapers were there simply to play background music, treating the numerous protests as a European telenovela.

Professors in support of the strike

Yes, this could have been avoided. There are many issues which could be avoided with simple negotiation through putting, as the French expression goes, “l’eau dans son vin”. Nevertheless authority figures typically choose not to negotiate as there is a sincere belief that those after them do not know better, that they are crying over spilt milk when truly the milk has not been spilt quite yet.

Considering all the awareness that has been raised on other social issues such as imperialism, the wealth gap between the lower and upper classes, discrimination against women, and the environment, the movement is not regrettable, but a bad for a good. Not too long ago, those protesting was the same generation drowning in materialism and media, and have now become the one that may have the solution to bring society to its natural roots of empathy.

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