People of Quebec, you disappoint me. I used to be so proud of our progressive, enlightened province but lately it has been growing more and more reactionary and useless. You hand over a scarily huge percentage of your money to the government in taxes and then don’t even try to hold the authorities accountable for what they do with the taxes.
Your young people seem to be the only ones who are still interested in ensuring that all of your money doesn’t end up in the pockets of fat-cat bureaucrats. And what do you do in response? Do you support them? Do you join them in solidarity, trying to protect the access to higher education that Charest’s government is trying its damndest to take away from you?
No, you do none of these things. You keep repeating like a weird mantra that the tuition raises are not going to be that high. “It’s just $300!” You keep saying. You are either a lot less intelligent than I thought and honestly fail to understand that the erosion of your rights is always a slow and nearly imperceptible process, or you really don’t care that within 20 years, your taxes will be 4 times higher than in the US and your college tuition will be just as high. Every time I read the comments to articles on student protests in Canadian newspapers, I want to go vomit. You call the intelligent young people who see the future a lot more clearly than you do “spoiled brats.” Shame on you, people.
Now the dishonest, completely corrupt government of Jean Charest is trying to get you to condemn the student protests by spreading the stupid rumor that “because of the protests, your taxes will be raised.” Wake up already! Your taxes will be raised because Charest is greedy and his army of useless bureaucrats is greedy, as well. The students of Quebec are defending your right not to be trampled on by your hugely unpopular government. And you are buying the government’s lies that the students are to blame for the province’s financial problems.
And since I’m on it, Canadians from other provinces, you suck, too. I cannot believe that you’d bought Harper’s lies that he wasn’t going to open a discussion on abortion. He is a Conservative! Of course, he was going to open that discussion. They always do. So you voted for him and what has he done? Started harping on abortion. Because, apparently, the country faces no other problems. Of course, he is trying to pretend that it’s the uncontrollable party members and not him who is starting all this abortion-related brouhaha. Please, please tell me that you will not fall for his lies once again.
To the people of Quebec I can only say that if Charest’s government does not fall as a result of its egregious mishandling of the student protests, then you, folks, are hopeless and deserve to be bled dry by your bureaucrats.
73 thoughts on “Shame on You, Quebec!”
Stole the words out of my mouth. When I first moved to BC, I was amazed at the low tuition rates, and I was a bit dismissive of people who said that tuition was “unaffordable” in BC, because it was about 4% of what I paid in Montana. After thinking it over though, I realized though, that the BC students were fighting and firey about not letting them put a toe out of line, whereas students in the states were utterly defeated and didn’t fight *any* tuition increases any longer, no matter how high, because they felt they couldn’t stop them.
Constant vigilance is my credo now!
What’s shocking is that while the students see this, their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles don’t. What’s with the willful blindness??
The students are Quebec’s last line of defense before we see a situation where only the children of the rich can go to college.
In BC it’s like that too. Certain groups and politicians equate “youth” and “students” with being lazy, entitled, not wanting to work hard, and expecting a handout. No, we just want to make sure our university education is affordable and that we don’t end up getting crushed by loans, since this is the only province which doesn’t provide grants for higher education, and has the highest interest rates on said loans.
In one corner of their mouths, they’re telling youth to go to college so they don’t end up being qualified only to flip burgers, and in the other corner, they’re muttering that students are spoiled brats for wanting that education to be accessible and affordable. Go figure.
The only people who are going to benefit if the tuitions become as impossibly high as in the US are bankers who’ll be able to charge huge interest on student loans. Everybody else stands to lose. So how come people are not supporting the students in this? Do they like paying huge taxes and getting nothing in return?
You should stick to politics in the USA and your homeland. 🙂
Seriously, it’s like every Saturday is unsolicited advice day on this blog. On no other day do I get such a sea of comments starting with “you should.”
One thing I love about this blog is that people may disagree with Clarissa on many issues, but the nature of her writing is such that it always forces them to be direct when arguing with her.
All except the passive-aggressive troll, TitforTat. If you can’t even voice your opinion directly on a platform like this without making weird zingers masked with cutesy smileys then I truly feel sorry for you, you fucking mouse of a man.
Hmmm, maybe you should take the hint. 😉
Show me a good example by taking my hint, OK?
Quebec has the lowest tuition rates in the country and after the increase they still will.
“Quebec has the lowest tuition rates in the country and after the increase they still will.”
– Sweet Jesus on the cross. For the next 15 minutes they will. Then, there will be a new increase. Then another one. You allow the government to feed you a spoonful of shit, tomorrow you get fed shit by the bucket.
As for other provinces, it’s their fault they have allowed their tuition rates to be so high. The tuition at UofT is shameful! How come you are putting up with this and then dumping on people who have enough self-respect not to do the same??
They also have the highest tax rates. Surely they should get some bang for their buck.
They get lots for their buck. 7 dollar daycare for starters.
Tell that to my sister who pays $65 per day in Montreal. In the meanwhile, she pays in taxes more than I make in a year. So what does she get in return for that, huh?
Why do you need to argue about this if you obviously have no idea about how things really are in Quebec?
Lol, I am a Quebecer. You should just enjoy your teaching post in St. Louis and worry about whether a Mormon is about to run your country. 🙂
“Lol, I am a Quebecer. You should just enjoy your teaching post in St. Louis and worry about whether a Mormon is about to run your country.”
– OK, since you are not getting this message when it’s delivered politely, I’ll put it in a more blunt way: I have absolutely no interest in your advice as to what I should do, got it? If you don’t understand that addressing strangers in this tone you have adopted in this thread is unacceptable, then YOU SHOULD consult a psychiatrist. Feel better now? Or should I tell you in more detail what YOU SHOULD do?
Did I upset you? I wonder how all my friends from Ontario and New Brunswick and New Foundland will feel when they read that they “Suck” because they dont agree with a Ukranian who lives in St. Louis who likes to talk about Canadian politics. Really, psychiatric help may be just what is called for. You SHOULD ask me for a reference, afterall I work in healthcare. 🙂
” I wonder how all my friends from Ontario and New Brunswick and New Foundland will feel when they read that they “Suck” because they dont agree with a Ukranian who lives in St. Louis who likes to talk about Canadian politics. Really, psychiatric help may be just what is called for.”
– Then why don’t you offer psychiatric help to your friends who you say are so unhinged they can’t deal with people having opinions? How is it my problem that you have surrounded yourself with a bunch of hysterics incapable of even the most basic political analysis?
Also, I don’t live in St. Louis. You seem to be stuck on St. Louis like a broken record, so relax already.
Ok I will stick to somewhere in the States. Unhinged, hmmm, I SHOULD do something about that. Could you recommend anyone for a good massage? 😉
Who cares where anybody lives? Does it bother you that I make my living by having opinions about the literature and culture of Spain for a living? I have never lived in Spain and only visited for short period of time? Should academics only be allowed to opine about places where they actually live? How circumscribed should those places be? 10 miles? 50 miles? Could one legitimately express an opinion on something that happens 51 miles away from one’s house?
Of course not. But, like you, Im just expressing my opinion. Regardless of my need for psychiatric help.
Jean Charest and Stephen Harper share a common ability to stay in power in spite of large majorities of their citizens hating their guts with a fiery passion; they are the posterboys for everything that is wrong with Canada’s electoral system; if you have fanatical enough supporters and too many opponents, you can remain in power until you retire.
That said, I’m doubtful that Stephen Harper, personally, cares one way or another about abortion (he has been described as the ‘Last Straussian;’ he rejects the religious impulses of his fellow conservatives but percieves them, correctly, as being useful). This whole affair with his MP bringing up this motion just for Harper to shoot it down seems like an attempt for him to have his cake and eat it too; reminding the fundies that the CPC is the only significantly anti-choice political party in parliament while at the same time allowing his allies in the media to praise him for how ‘moderate’ he is in shooting down a motion that he need never have allowed in the first place.
The student protesters in Quebec are a bunch of spoiled little brats who need a good spanking.
This is not a place for weird sexual fantasies.
I would like Titfortat to tell me that in front of my face, without his riot cops. I assume he (or she?) is a coward and would not dare to do so.
And then what? Are you going to hit Titfortat?
Nobody is going to hit anybody. The point is that it’s easier to dismiss people are cappuccino chugging spoiled brats behind their backs.
Then what was the purpose of mentioning the riot police?
Seriously, nothing annoys me more than these lies about $7 daycares by people who haven’t recently tried to place a kid in a daycare in Montreal.
And you know why a cheap daycare next to my sister’s place never has any spaces for regular kids? Because it holds all of its spots for the kids of governmental bureaucrats from the nearby Palais de Justice. They get preference because they are so important. We need for them to breed as much as possible while other people should take a hike. So first you feed them with your taxes and then they rob you not only of money but also of services.
Well, I am a bit surprised to hear all those diatribes from a person who, not so long ago, also posted a link to Zizek’s “Revolt of the salaried bourgeoisie”, which had some lines on student protests too.
I would not call Quebec students spoiled little brats, but many things they did, in the course of the protests, were quite immature. And alienating a lot of potential supporters. Take, for example, the main premise of the “strike” (and I already wrote here why it is not really a strike because the Universities are not students’ employer, and is not losing any profit because of the strike) was that the consequences can be only positive – that not only the government would back off, but also that the universities will forgive the students whatever they missed during the strike.
Now they are complaining that the university administrations are being “divisive” by acting in a business as usual kind of way… (Which is not true anyway, the university allowed for late discontinuation of courses.) While in fact it is the best educational experience the educational institution can provide – students take actions, and learn from the consequences… Someone else (especially the authorities against whom one is supposedly protesting) eliminating the consequences of one’s mistakes is against the spirit of education. And if there really is a fight to be fought in the future – it needs to be fought by people who know what the fight really is, and what the risks are, not by the instant gratification crowd… Some students cannot handle the lack of instant gratification. They fail to understand that risk-free protests are not worth much in terms of “moral currency”.
Another alienating thing was the class blockades. Some student activists do not understand that their rights to protest end exactly where others’ right to continue studying or teaching begin.
I personally signed some letters in support of student’s demands (NB: demands, not actions). I know that, especially in our particular university, many students come from poor families, who cannot support them, and have to work to put themselves through university. And that ANY increase of the fees is hurting them. But in the same time I made it known to students in my classes that there will be extensions, but no forgiveness, assignment-wise. They took it fine… They actually know what’s right, and do not expect to be pleased at the expense of one’s integrity…
I keep hearing about this supposed alienation of “potential supporters.” And this is what I keep wondering: the protests have been going on for a very long time. Why do these fabled supporters remain a potentiality and not a reality? Seriously, anybody who wanted to support has supported already. And those who remained as “potential” supporters until now never wanted to offer any real support.
Have you considered the possibility that maybe the students had to go this far in their actions because those “potential supporters” aren’t joining them or doing anything except sitting there being all potential? If all of those folks who are being bled dry by taxes stood with the students, the Charest government (with its 13% support) would have fallen already.
As for the instant gratification, how about the instant gratification of Quebec’s bureaucrats? It’s their need to have huge salaries in exchange for doing zero work that the government is defending here. How about criticizing them for a change? All I hear from people who are in Quebec on this subject is ‘Yes, the bureaucracy stinks but. . . ” then there is an explanationof how the best solution is to swallow the tuition hikes because . . . taxes.
I don’t remember what I said about Zizek but I don’t remember Zizek discussing student protests in such a heavily taxed province.
Jeez, people, why do I even bother? I only pay 11% taxes on my income. If other people are happy with paying 45+% and getting nothing in return, so be it.
Jeez, people, why do I even bother? I only pay 11% taxes on my income.(Clarissa)
I take it you have forgotten how shitty your public health care system is. Oh wait, do you even have one there?
The healthcare system is free in all of Canada. Here we are talking about things that are specific to Quebec. Please try to pay attention, OK?
Some students cannot handle the lack of instant gratification. (Valter07)
Is there a problem with calling these individuals spoiled? Sometimes a spade is a spade.
Not spoiled. Just immature, for obvious reason of being young. I am advocating for not being overprotective by denying the youths the learning experiences. They will turn out fine, if the experience is realistic.
I’m sure the students will be fine. But the current system of accessible higher education in Quebec will die. That’s what worries me. It’s a system that gave me a lot and I don’t know where I’d be right now if I hadn’t had a chance to get such a great education for such a low price 14 years ago. Of course, it bugs me that now all that’s being destroyed for now other reason that Charest is a jerkwad.
Maybe their immaturity is because they have been spoiled. In other words their parents havnt parented very well. Many of the students protesting the increase in tuition are the ones sipping capucino at the corner while texting with their ipods. I have no doubt they will turn out fine, they probably will be the ones leading the Liberal party in the next decade or so. 😉
What on God’ green earth do cappucinos and ipods have to do with any of this?
We are discussing serious issues here. What’s with the kindergarten level of reasoning?
Clarissa, I am sorry if it gets too personal, I will make my best effort to operate only with information you provided in this blog, or which can be reasonably deduced from the information you provided (like you being a young faculty member) or which are publicly available (tax rates in QC, etc). And I apologize in advance if I say something never mentioned here. Concerning taxes, while taxes are indeed higher in QC, you are comparing apples with oranges. Namely, you are comparing the effective tax paid by a person who earns somewhere between 50 and 60K and who was, last year, the only earning person in the household, with the tax paid by a person who earns 200+K and whose partner also works. I did not pay only 11% in the States even from a postdoc salary, and I do not pay 45% in QC.
Re potential supporters – this is exactly what happened. I haven’t heard much of “spoiled little brats” in the beginning. Maybe only from people from other provinces, who have higher tuition fees. And my reaction was – go demand lower fees in your provinces, leave QC alone. As the events unfolded, more people got alienated. What else should one expect, if one is only brave enough to disrupt classes and therby cause discomfort to one’s fellow students and professors, who are actually supportive, so they would be very unlikely to take action against the one protesting/disrupting. If Charest is at fault (with which I wholeheartedly agree) – try blocking his office. But no, that may actually have some real consequences…
The rest of my explanation of why student protests were not more widely supported by QC society would contain too many anti-QC statements 🙂 Shortly, contrary to what you imply, not all the money is syphoned by the bureaucracy. Quite a lot is actually used for creating a serious social security net. Lots of unnecessary jobs. From French Language Inspectrorate to half the road workers, who do a lousy job so that they would have more work repairing what they have done. And many people who benefit from that net are not interested in any major changes. They would just go on their own little strike, and get a raise sufficient to compensate their children’s tuition increases.
Hummmm… Thank God we have students to shake up our growing apolitical society. Students strikes happened before in Quebec (my generation`s strike was in 1996… it was an important one) and now it is happening again, only that now we have a machiavellian prime minister. Whether we agree with the student strike or not we should all condemn this shameful, condescending, paternalistic, and opportunistic government.
I am really proud of these students on strike. It gives me faith in the future. After more thatn 15 years of political inaction in this province it was about time.
Maybe it is my circle of friends and my family that is not representative of the wider population of La belle province, but all or us (and I mean ALL of us) support the student strike: from my 10 year-old niece to my 100 year-old great-aunt.
Jean John Charest will win the next election and will be our PM until 2018. And you know exactly why. The political system of this country is fucked up.
Daycare and taxes. I pay taxes in the US and I pay the `equivalence` in Canada. Once I have filled my tax forms in the US I usually pay $250 in federal and provincial taxes, together. That gives a completely different image of the tax rate in Canada/Quebec than what your figures seem to show. But yes… I make less than 60K/year…
If you live in Quebec and make more than 100K there are options to pay less taxes, believe me.
Once she fills her taxes, your sister *should* receive a refund from the government for what she pays in a private daycare centre, right? She still has to pay more than $7 a day, but it is probably much less than $65 a day.
After what the government of Canada has taken from every member of my family in the form of taxes over the years, I am convinced that we are entitled to preserve the only 2 things we get from it: higher education and medical care. Unless the taxes drop dramatically, there is no justification in letting the tuitions go up.
—Whether we agree with the student strike or not we should all condemn this shameful, condescending, paternalistic, and opportunistic government.
I agree with the goals of the strike, but not with the methods. The methods just are not pointed at the government to the extent which would be logical, assuming the students believe that the problem is indeed government’s fault (which it is).
—but all or us (and I mean ALL of us) support the student strike: from my 10 year-old niece to my 100 year-old great-aunt.
Technically, this does not prove anything. Majority of Greeks also support their protests…
—The political system of this country is fucked up.
This is true. But this political system did not evolve in vacuum. The government or the Liberal party do not consist of Martians. The political system is, to a large extent, the result of the balance of interests of the population. One of which interests is the wish to be protected while/despite doing a lousy job. It is a misconception that there is just a small number of fat cats from whom one can take the money and put it into education. This has to be done too, of course, but that will not be enough. The money has to be found by making some spheres of life more effective (e.g. roads), which will result in many people losing their jobs.
The students would not have had to take recourse in such dramatic measures if the rest of the population supported them from the start. They are fighting a losing battle completely alone. If on day 1 there had been a huge public outcry against these shameless measures, none of the subsequent events would have had to occur. But instead of support, what the students got was exactly what you see in this thread: idiotic discussions of cappuccinos and god knows what else.
I agree that the welfare system in Quebec is beyond ridiculous. But if people think education cuts will save their welfare entitlements, they are dreaming. Those will be the next to go.
I see the comments about cappucinos and I wonder about meal plan. Or, you know, jobs. Generally the people who “stand on the corner drinking cappucinos” are people who a.) can afford it because they have a job, or b.) are able to pay for it through meal plan. I know people who have gotten ripped into for doing similar things. Their defense? They work, generally more than one job. People have to be completely ignorant of all things college if they forget things like that. It’s ridiculous to assume that no student in Quebec is working their way through college, or receives some sort of financial aid, or who needs some sort of financial aid and does not receive it.
That capuccino comment sounded like only the students put in the dire situation should oppose the fee increases, and those you can afford a capuccino, or, God forbid, iPod, should be content…
That may be, but to put anything like that out of context is wrong. It’s a misrepresentation of reality, and is responsible for all the “spoiled brats” comments. I’ve dealt with those, too, and it’s completely ridiculous that people who make those comments never seem to have time to listen to the context behind any action a college student makes. It seems that the more people ignore this context, the less inclined they are to identify with them. In this case, this is exactly what the government of Quebec wants.
—But if people think education cuts will save their welfare entitlements, they are dreaming. Those will be the next to go.
True. Now the question is – what is the best way to explain that to the people? Is disruptive tactic, but to a large extent limited to the insides of the universities, the best way to achieve this goal?
My comment about ipod’s and cappucino’s is directed at the protesters who storm government buildings and create havoc in the streets. The students that have a bonafide beef and who actually “need” the money are the ones working to put themselves through school. The others have too much free time on their hands as evidenced by their behaviours.
Apostrophe and s are only used to denote possession. When you say “coppuccino’s”, this isn’t the plural, this means you are talking about something belonging to the cappuccino.
Students in Quebec are fighting for their right to know this. Of course, this thirst for basic knowledge might seem spoiled to people who never even mastered the formation of possessives in English.
When you say “coppuccino’s”, this isn’t the plural, this means you are talking about something belonging to the cappuccino(Clarissa)
If you are going to try to insult my use of the english language at least get it right. I said cappucino’s not “coppucino’s”. Though I do like the copulating idea. 😉
You are priceless, sweetie. Mooooooch. 🙂
Mooing is always a sign that a person has entered into a fit of hysteria. Why people think that exhibiting hysteria publicly is something that makes them look good is a mystery to me.
“You are priceless, sweetie. Mooooooch.”
Do you actually expect people to take you seriously?
Do you ever think that maybe, sometimes, its just not that serious. Afterall, we could be dodging bombs right now.
I meant it as a kiss, sorry, I forgot the “S”.
Spoiled brat comments happen anytime college students anywhere become politically active. They’re made either by people who oppose whatever cause the students are fighting for, or by people who hate college students. (conservatives who hate education, people who are jealous…) I’ve heard the cappuchino comment a lot during my time as a student activist. It makes the commenter look stupid. And I enjoy my activism, and my coffee, a little bit more. 🙂
The cappuccino comment is from the arsenal of conservatives who have a tendency to repeat the same thing like broken records: cappuccino – spoiled, cappuccino – spoiled. No argument, no logical reasoning, just repeating the same meaningless mantras.
Oh, by the way, Im probably more liberal than you are. 🙂
True. I hear the same comment from those who bemoan the supposed political/social apathy of my generation. According to these bozos, we love our coffee quite a lot. 😛
So would you be one of those “activists” throwing rocks at police and kicking in windows and turning cars over so you can set fire to them? Or are you just one who calls someone stupid because they think that kind of behaviour is not acceptable? Enjoy your morning coffee while some of your activist peers make you look spoiled.
There you go again, creating your own definitions of words.
The word you are looking for isn’t activist, it’s vandal. I am an activist, not a vandal. So, no.
I call people stupid who behave stupidly, and say stupid things.
So can an activist also be a vandal or are they mutually exclusive? Even smart people do or say stupid things.
We do get some support, mostly in montreal. The city of quebec is probably a lost cause. Teachers are with us and some workers, but the level of support is another story. Going to a march once a month is not really gonna help us win this fight. We had 2 huges marches (march 22, april 22), even if the second one had broader goals. I was hoping for a social stirke in may, but it is unlikely to happen.
There is a huge gap between this generation and the generation in power (our parents, mostly). Not unlike may 1968, mind you. But I really doubt that we see that in here. I fear everything is going down in the toilet…this is sad.
Bakouchaiev: I agree with your analysis. I think that this is a beginning of a larger campaign aimed at turning Quebec into a semblance of a US state in terms of its rights and entitlements. I also agree that there is a huge generation gap here. I don’t know why this is happening and why older people are so blind to the situation when their children are not. What is this, complacency? They are used to things being good?
I find this analysis quite populist.
Let’s look at the history of the issue. European social democracies and Quebec developed their social security nets two-three generations ago. But couple of generations ago two important things were different. First, life expectancy was ~10 years lower, and the number of children (future taxpayers) per family was higher. (there is actually also the third thing which was different – labor force structure, as well as the fourth, fifth, etc) What was economically sound then is no longer sound. As the life expectancy grew and the number of children declined*, larger and larger fraction of money had to be put into various forms of social security, broadly defined, including the retirement funds, unemployment benefits, universal healthcare and free or affordable education. Immigration solved part of the problem, but not all of it. NB: and this all was happening completely independently of the alleged level of corruption. Is there any evidence that today this level is higher than in 1968?
Several generations of relative prosperity made people feel entitled to their standard of living never decreasing. The politicians daring to propose relatively soft preventive measures were voted down. The population just insists that the government should be a f***ing magician troupe, capable of perpetuating the illusion of the social system being sustainable despite obvious demographic changes. But no government, however enlightened, democratic or corruption-free can do that. By definition. We are not talking about something like happiness here, which is not a zero-sum game. We are talking about money, which should be a zero-sum game, if the government is responsible enough. But the governments went into debt in order to fulfill their social obligations (or, more honestly – to be reelected). Which is by no means a magic trick. Or it is a magic trick – where the magician actually stabs the girl in the box.
*I am not advocating for any return to social conservatism here. And the world is overpopulated already. Speaking of the world as a whole, elevating all 7 billion people to Western standards of living is impossible, resource-wise. Thus, the only realistic scenario not including World War III and massive violent reduction of the world’s population would result in unification of living standards across the Globe, with living standards in the Third World increasing, and in the West, including Quebec, decreasing.
Strike all you want – but understand you are fighting for a larger piece of a limited pie, and grabbing more will result in somebody else getting less. And that “somebody else” might be not some fat cat, that “somebody else” may be no less deserving than you. Of course, there is always an option of everybody demanding more simultaneously, and supporting each other in this irresponsible but feel-good endeavor in the name of some sort of universal brotherhood solidarity… But does someone really believe it will work?
I am not convinced by this “sudden lack of resources” explanation. Quebec is a rich province that, once again, charges a lot of taxes. There is absolutely no way that things are so dire that education has to be sacrificed.
“Speaking of the world as a whole, elevating all 7 billion people to Western standards of living is impossible, resource-wise.”
– Elevating? I think you are now judging every inhabitant of the world from your own 1st world perspective. When I look at people of my country of origin, they might not have the same kind of material possessions as I do, they travel less, and they live in uglier surroundings. However, what makes you think that they’d want to sacrifice their huge number of work-free days, their low retirement age, their mostly debt-free lives to work as much as I do, be as law-abiding as I am and pay as much taxes as honestly as I do? The women in Ukraine are up in arms against their retirement age being raised from 55 to match that of men. They think that 55 is old enough to stop working altogether. And this is the generation that lived under the USSR until the age of 35 (my age right now) and not working at all (because we can’t seriously claim that people actually worked in the USSR at that time.)
The issue is so much more complex than the lack of resources. It seems like you are saying that we in Quebec and Co should go without our entitlements because elsewhere people follow their cultural traditions and are unwilling to curb their procreation to sustainable levels the way we do.
“And that “somebody else” might be not some fat cat, that “somebody else” may be no less deserving than you. ”
– More deserving of my taxes than the young people of my country?
We keep hearing about this magical disappearance of resources on every level and in every area of life. At our university, we need to go to conferences less because, all of a sudden, there is not enough money for that. There is, however, always enough money to pay yet another Dean and build yet another “Spirituality and Sustainability Center.” I’ve got to ask, where did the resources suddenly go?
Also, Quebec could solve this issue by looking at its immigration policies and by changing immigration criteria to base them not solely on language policies. It could look at Bill 101 that is offensive to immigrants and squeezes them out of the province. More highly educated productive immigrants would come to and stay in the province if it weren’t for Bill 101 but if Quebec chooses to promote these policies at the expense of immigrants and welcomes people who will stay on welfare for generations just because they speak French, then that’s the province’s choice. There is nobody the province can blame if those are its priorities.
My sister was trying to place a highly qualified candidate who is a native speaker of French but an immigrant last week. The guy has no future in his career in sales in Quebec because, as a French-speaker with poor English, he can’t work with English-language clients. But as an immigrant with French that differs from the Quebecois version, he has no chance of penetrating into the highly insular, very closed French-speaking circles of Quebec. So the end result is that even though he came easily to Quebec as a French-speaker, he is now nearly unemployable because the French-speaking community is not very welcoming to immigrants.
If somebody wants to argue with me about this last point, you’d better have experience living as an immigrant in Quebec.
And since we are on it anyways, I want to mention that my sister who came to Quebec at the age of 16, speaks both English and French. Her French is perfect and she even has the Quebecois accent. But she has not become part of the French-speaking community because, as she says, with Anglos in Quebec she feels like a regular person and with Francophones she feels like an immigrant, an outsider. Of course, we could conclude that this happens because of her inherently evil nature. Or we can conclude that there is something to her experiences. Her daughter was born in Quebec and her father’s 1st language is French. The kid switches between English, French, Russian and Spanish depending on who she is talking to. But she has a Hispanic name and looks very Hispanic. Who’d like to venture a guess which community is more likely to welcome her, the Anglo or the Francophone community? We can make bets now, and I will report the results as they transpire.
Clarissa, by resources I meant natural resources on a world-wide scale, not just in Quebec or in your university. Also, I may be judging people of other countries from the first world perspective, but your example of Ukraine is not very convincing either. I believe that, given the opportunity, most Ukrainians would prefer to have western living standards. People willing to stop working at 55 does not prove they want to consume less – it just proves they want to stop working at 55. Offer that in any country and observe the results. 🙂 And the government has to provide for them. How – government’s business. 🙂 Do not forget, I lived in FSU long enough, I know what people believe.
—It seems like you are saying that we in Quebec and Co should go without our entitlements because elsewhere people follow their cultural traditions and are unwilling to curb their procreation to sustainable levels the way we do.
It will happen not because I say it should happen. I am just describing what will happen. Unless, of course, you are about to propose some measures which are humane and will reduce the world population. And upon which people would agree (so no violence will ensue), and which will work fast enough.
—- More deserving of my taxes than the young people of my country?
Which country? You are not paying taxes in QC. 🙂
But I agree with everything you write about the closed Francophone society. I just will go even further and suggest that many QC Francophones actually share my argument about the lack of resources. Even if they do not admit it publicly. And it is exactly how they make a conclusion that resources like good jobs have to be reserved for “real Quebecers”. Not for immigrants, according to them immigrants ARE A RESOURCE to be consumed, not someone who is entitled to consume any resources at westerner’s rate.
On the other hand, changing language policies will not prevent the inevitable. Even busting all kinds of protectionism will not prevent it. But this busting of protectionism will not happen anyway – all unions will be against it. So the standards of living will decrease the hard way, with a lot of turmoil…
“Clarissa, by resources I meant natural resources on a world-wide scale, not just in Quebec or in your university. ”
– But the education cuts in Quebec are not the consequence of diminishing natural resources, are they?
” I believe that, given the opportunity, most Ukrainians would prefer to have western living standards. People willing to stop working at 55 does not prove they want to consume less ”
– Of course, they would. But when it comes to paying the price Americans pay for those living standards, that’s where the problems begin. If people prefer to work significantly less and then have less gadgets as a result, that’s their right. Nobody is the victim here.
” Unless, of course, you are about to propose some measures which are humane and will reduce the world population.”
– I just don’t see how education cuts in Quebec are connected to growing populations in completely different parts of the world.
“Which country? You are not paying taxes in QC.”
– My entire family lives in Quebec and pays huge taxes.
” I just will go even further and suggest that many QC Francophones actually share my argument about the lack of resources.”
– Which resources specifically are lacking in Quebec and why did they start lacking in such a sudden way this year? Quebec got over the world economic crisis in a surprisingly good way. The real estate prices keep soaring, employment is intensive. My sister started a job recruitment agency in the midst of the recession and is very successful. That normally doesn’t happen when there is a real crisis on the job market. And the problem she has is not with finding employers. It’s with finding people willing to work.
“On the other hand, changing language policies will not prevent the inevitable.”
– They will bring more highly productive immigrants to the province. The province does all it can to make childbirth extremely unattractive to professional, successful immigrant women who pay a lot of taxes right now. That’s another issue that could be addressed.
—- But the education cuts in Quebec are not the consequence of diminishing natural resources, are they?
In some sense they are. World-wide, more people are sharing the same pie, and non-westerners get progressively larger cut (by the way – this is good, because it is just, even though it is against my selfish interests 🙂 )
—If people prefer to work significantly less and then have less gadgets as a result, that’s their right. Nobody is the victim here.
Could you please estimate the percentage of people willing to lower their standards of living without feeling victims? I suspect this percentage will be about equal to the percentage of Quebec students willing to pay higher tuition fees.
—- Which resources specifically are lacking in Quebec
Common sense. 🙂 More seriously – a little bit of everything. Taxes, as high as they are, are insufficient to support social security net.
—and why did they start lacking in such a sudden way this year?
Not this year. I’ve heard the talk about the necessity to increase the fees since I have arrived here.
—The real estate prices keep soaring, employment is intensive.
Because there is nothing productive to invest money into, so the banks consider giving money out to people buying real estate for just 3% the best possible investment at the moment. Nothing else brings back even 3%. This is not a sign of economic health, this is a sign of a bubble soon to burst. Sub-prime mortgage market is also expanding.
—And the problem she has is not with finding employers. It’s with finding people willing to work.
I should send some people her way…
“World-wide, more people are sharing the same pie, and non-westerners get progressively larger cut (by the way – this is good, because it is just, even though it is against my selfish interests”
– And this is why Quebec is raising tuition fees? Sorry, I don’t buy this at all. I haven’t seen any evidence that any non-westerners took anything away from Quebec specifically in the past year.
“Could you please estimate the percentage of people willing to lower their standards of living without feeling victims”
– We are not talking about anybody required to lower their standards. We are talking about cultures that have other priorities than working like a maniac until the age of 70 so that you can buy another TV set.
“Not this year. I’ve heard the talk about the necessity to increase the fees since I have arrived here.”
– Yet the actual attempts started this year. And I can’t avoid connecting it to what the Big Brother in the South is doing more than to the improving standard of living in India or China.
“This is not a sign of economic health, this is a sign of a bubble soon to burst.”
– In Quebec? If nothing burst in 2008-9, it is not likely to do so now. The province is an attractive place to live, which is my explanation.
I will believe this idea that resources are, indeed, shrinking in Quebec when I see Charest and every single people in his cabinet take a 80% pay cut. Then, I’ll trust that matters are, indeed, dire. 🙂
But education should be absolutely the last thing to go in the province. If it is the first one to go, then something is wring with the people of the province, which is where we started the discussion.
And since I’m on it, Canadians from other provinces, you suck, too. I cannot believe that you’d bought Harper’s lies that he wasn’t going to open a discussion on abortion. He is a Conservative! Of course, he was going to open that discussion. They always do. So you voted for him and what has he done? Started harping on abortion. Because, apparently, the country faces no other problems. Of course, he is trying to pretend that it’s the uncontrollable party members and not him who is starting all this abortion-related brouhaha. Please, please tell me that you will not fall for his lies once again.(Clarissa)
Just so you know, I didnt vote for him but I must admit the guy didnt get where he is by wasting energy in certain areas. It seems he is a little more Liberal than he gets painted.