Inside the Quebec bubble

Inside the Quebec bubble
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Since it’s been going on for nearly 12 weeks now, I’ve had a chance to write a fair bit about Quebec’s student strike over the last little while. Yesterday I even made a brief appearance on the beloved state broadcaster to offer a few more polemic comments (I begin around 6:15).

To quickly summarize the status quo for anyone just tuning in now, the Liberal government of Quebec Premier Jean Charest introduced a plan several months ago to hike the cost of tuition in universities across the province. He has this power because the state foots the bill for the vast bulk of all post-secondary expenditures in Quebec; only around 13% of university costs are actually paid out-of-pocket by students themselves. This big-government generosity has resulted in Quebecers having the cheapest university rates in all of Canada by quite a significant margin, but it’s also one of the many roots of the province’s ever-worsening Greek-style indebtedness.

Anyway, Premier Charest’s initial plan to hike tuition 75% by 2017 (which, though scary-sounding, would still leave it considerably lower than every other province) provoked a massive revolt amongst the student politician set, who unilaterally made all sorts of declarations of strikes and uprisings. Since the first walkouts began in February, it’s now estimated that around 35% of enrolled Quebec students are currently engaged in some form of protest or another, including pickets, marches, sit-ins, and — most recently — outright acts of vandalism and violence.

At a Liberal Party convention yesterday in Victoriaville, for instance, crashing protesters bashed cops in the head with rocks and hunks of cement. The cops blasted tear gas and rubber bullets. Something gouged out a student’s eye and he’s now in a coma. Over 100 people were arrested in the ensuring struggle.

As I noted in my glamorous TV appearance, one of the most marked things about this whole episode is how extremely difficult it’s been to offer sympathetic coverage of the student side. People tell me the reception in the far-left French media has been a bit different, but over here in Anglo-Canada almost all commentators are near-universal in their dismissal of the strike as little more than an economically illiterate exercise in youth self-absorption. Self-appointed student radicals rarely possess attractive personalities, and this particular lot has fulfilled every Marx-quoting dreadlocked, keffiyeh-clad stereotype imaginable. But more importantly: they’re still going to be paying the lowest tuition in Canada, something which could only be seen as an affront to human rights in the federally-subsidized theme park of entitlement that is 21st century Quebec.

If there’s a dark humor to all of this, however, Premier Charest is sadly immune. Claiming the students voices were being heard, last Friday he announced plans to further soften his five-year hike by extending it by another two, meaning the average Quebecer’s annual tuition will increase by a grand total of $1,625 by 2019, or about $232 per student per year. The protesters were not satisfied of course — many of them have openly stated that nothing less than free tuition will suffice — so the talks continue. Even after violence of yesterday, the Charest administration remains committed to the idea that a negotiated solution will eventually be reached though open channels of government-radical dialogue. Not that a compromise will be much skin of his back, of course. In this, as in so many cases, it’s taxpayers in the rest of Canada who will wind up covering the difference, through transfer payments and federal grants, for whatever Quebecers can’t afford to give themselves.

Former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff scandalized the nation couple weeks ago when he suggested, in passing during a BBC interview, that Quebec and the rest of Canada had effectively become two separate countries already, and that their eventual, formal separation was thus a fairly forgone conclusion. French and English Canada operate according to vastly different cultural norms that neither side really respects or understands, he said. How do you forge a single workable country out of that?

In the wake of Quebec’s student strike — an event forged by almost an almost impossibly foreign series of variables in a land that seems to operate according to a twisted political-cultural logic all its own, it’s hard to see why everyone gave him such a hard time.




^ 60 Comments...

  1. mmaluff

    Just because students have it worse in the rest of Canada, it does not mean that Quebec’s student's have no right to protest. You make some good points, but "things are worse elsewhere" is not a particularly good one.

  2. Aidinthel

    I don't think he's saying they have no right to protest. He's just pointing out that under those circumstances it's pretty unreasonable that the protests have reached the "bashings cops with heavy objects" stage.

  3. mmaluff

    You could argue that it's usually unreasonable to reach the "bashing cops with heavy objects" stage. Social Movement theorists generally explain the rise of protest movements in terms or relative deprivation, not absolute deprivation. So it's pretty irrelevant how people are doing elsewhere in the world, or what is necessary to ensure that people actually get the education they need. What matters in these cases is whether what they will be getting is worse than what they've come to expect, which in this case it clearly is.

  4. @MHR_Topher

    You are right, at least in terms of connecting social movements to relative deprivation not to absolute deprivation. From a social standpoint you are correct, but in the case of Canada and the United States, or even other areas within Canada, the connection is very strong, whether they deny it or not. Between these two countries is a constant comparison of who is better in what area, this seems especially true for Quebec, who prides itself. If we were comparing costs of schooling from Quebec and France, I could see the need for understanding and explaining relative deprivation since the two are so different, but in many ways it is fair to say comparing the whole of Canada or comparing Canada to the United States is within the realm of being relative. A person in Maine and California, while far apart in physical and regional ways, are still within the realm of relativity due to similarity in national standings.

    So while it may be irrelevant how people in France are doing compared to those in Quebec, it is relevant how those in Alberta are doing, or to a lesser extent the United States, since they are either in the same country or share many of the same characteristics.

  5. Hentgen

    The fact that Quebec has the lowest tuition in Canada, and that even with the tuition hike will continue to have the lowest tuition, is not a counterargument to "tuition should be free."

    It is a counterargument to the need to protest. Despite Quebec's mediocre economic outlook, the province has shown its concern for students by keeping tuition well below the levels in other provinces. If the government raises tuition, it is likely, then, that it is because they HAVE to raise tuition. The Quebec government cannot be accused of being against having a large number of university graduates. They cannot be accused of bargaining in bad faith.

    The protesters, who don't seem particularly bashful that their demands amount to passing the check to the taxpayer in the middle of a economic malaise, are, in my view, bargaining in bad faith. Even if you take at face value the claim that free tuition will help the economy, it is undoubtedly a long term investment that the province of Quebec is in no real position to commit to.

    Yelling, screaming, disrupting the daily lives of civilians and clashing with police does nothing to change this reality.

  6. ThePsudo

    Does the argument "tuition should be free" need more counterargument than "No it shouldn't"?

  7. @Cristiona

    It's not about right to protest. It's about an insufferable sense of entitlement evidenced by the protests.

  8. ThePsudo

    JJ, do you think the idea of an inevitable Quebec succession has merit?

  9. Dan

    And if such a succession is inevitable, how will Quebec's standard of living change?

  10. Guest

    What, like Prince Harry declaring himself King of Quebec? While a Quebec succession would be funny and could even split the secessionist movement into nationalist and republican camps, it seems somewhat unlikely.

  11. Daniel

    Secession*

    And I highly doubt Quebec will secede anytime soon, as the NDP now basically represent the province in the house, and I can't see them destroying their party now that they are finally at long last opposition.

  12. Anonymous

    At this point you wonder why Quebec separatism isn't that popular in Anglo-Canada, a 'Kick Quebec out of Canada' movement.

  13. RDW

    It's not? Seems to go over well in Alberta ;)

  14. @Ryan_in_SEPA

    Seems popular in most parts of Canada. As an outsider, I get the impression the rest of Canada basically is sick of Quebec being a whining basket case.

  15. Jake

    Wrong approach. Quebec belongs to all of Canada just because the left has high jacked Quebec doesn't mean it has the right to seize it. Just because someone is living in your house doesn't mean they can do everything they want. There is a balance.

    But correct me if I can wrong but isn't there more people outside of Quebec than in Quebec? Why does Canada keep giving Quebec money? Why not simply cut all the EXTRA funding and the sort? Better than losing a chunk of land.

  16. Etc.

    The thing is, they don't agree that Quebec should 'belong to all of Canada'. The culture differences and hostilities over the centuries are partly why Quebec is one of the most liberal places on the whole continent. Regarding them as 'hijackers' of their own province isn't going to be helping matters.

    For the second paragraph, the reason they're spending all the money on Quebec is that one, it amounts to plenty of votes for those politicians, and two, if Canada wasn't constantly bribing Quebec to stay then it's quite possible that Canada would be 'losing a chunk of land'.

  17. @Ryan_in_SEPA

    Charest should offer these lunatics an offer: come forward with cuts to the budget that equal the tuition increase and the increase will not happen.

  18. J.J. McCullough

    Interestingly, Premier Charest came out with a deal very similar to this last night. He's willing to form a special council of student elders to assist in making cuts to university budgets in order to offset the hikes: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/06/quebec-li

  19. Dan

    How old does a student have to be to be considered a Student Elder?

  20. Butter Peanut

    This is actually what has been done since the beginning. The student societies have a laundry list of expenses inside the universities alone that would cover the proposed tuition increase. The universities are extremely well funded in Quebec (the third most funded in the world), but the management is simply atrocious.

  21. Zulu

    No one likes to pay more, but students must also share in the sacrifice as a part of society. I live in the States and my public school tuition has over DOUBLED in the past 5 years. The feeling I get from JJ's commentary is that the increases in Quebec school's tuition is well-deserved and hell, I WISH I was paying only that proposed hike.

  22. Nicolasrll

    As a Quebec native now studying abroad, I've been following the student strikes with great interest; I feel like I have a viewpoint where I get to see both how the inside of the student's movement and how the strike is seen from the outside. It really is pretty fascinating how the same events are viewed and perceived in starkly different manners by people in different situations and different ideological bent. I'm sure my friends back home would be very amused at the representation of Charest as cowering, impotent, and eager to appease: from their point of view the man has been basically invisible since the beginning of the strike, leaving his education minister to tsk-tsk away possible negotiations with students because she disapproves of their methods. There also has been widespread reports of police brutality throughout the protests.

    I'm rather disappointed that the student's point of view on these events is not presented anywhere in J.J.'s discussion of the strike. Since it's of course happening in a french speaking province, I assume most people reading this will never have any occasion to actually hear the students explain their position themselves. It seems like it would have been much more informative for everyone if an effort had been made to present more than one point of view on the affair. But then again, maybe the intent precisely is to present how people in what Quebeckers call "the rest of Canada" see the strike.

  23. Hentgen

    Honestly, I think the lack of discussion of the protester's side is due to a complete lack of understanding of how they could make the demands they are making. It's not like the government doesn't want to freeze or lower tuition. It's well understood that universities are, generally, a good investment. However, there is not unlimited money. Other things are important, too, and deserve adequate funding.

    The calls of police brutality, while certainly unfortunate if true, are also not particularly shocking. It's a sad reality that when cops and protesters tangle, the cops are just as likely as the protesters to do something stupid. After the G20 in Toronto, I think most people are aware of that. The question the ROC is asking is this: why are students fighting cops in the first place?

  24. ThePsudo

    Can you provide any English language sources for the Quebec students' point of view? Most of us don't read or understand French, but it seems plausible that their point of view is substantially different in force or in substance than their reputation in the Anglo-Canadian media suggests.

  25. Nicolasrll

    I think the best I found is this document that was prepared two years ago by one of the student's associations:
    http://www.feuq.qc.ca/IMG/pdf/cau_-_paradis_-_rec

    The english used throughout seems eminently readable, if a little stilted, and while it's two years old I don't think there's any big difference between the arguments presented in there and the arguments used by the students during the strike.

    In the interest of fairness I hasten to point out that the document above was produced by what is, in my opinion, the most "reasonable" of the student's associations involved. There's more information to be found on the website of the CLASSE, which tends to take what are generally seen as more extreme positions: http://www.stopthehike.ca/.

  26. drs

    “I live in the States and my public school tuition has over DOUBLED in the past 5 years”

    Just because Americans accept that without protest doesn’t mean anyone else should.

  27. Dan

    Should your comment read:

    "Just because the Americans live in Reality without protest doesn't mean anyone else should."?

  28. Hugh

    On this topic, how exactly do student loans work in Canada?
    I know in Australia and the UK student loans are lent by the government, don't accrue interest and students start paying them off once they reach certain income thresholds. As I understand it in the US they do accrue interest and repayments start after you finish your degree.

  29. Guest

    Actually, in the UK, they do accrue interest, just not the rate for unsecured personal loans. They are government-backed but privately financed, so they're 'safe' and make the private financiers money. It was actually a remarkably clever scheme from certain perspectives but had far more to do with getting the best deal for private investors in a time where that was more competitve, and is quite unsuitable for the current climate.

  30. Jake

    Only problem now is that universities in the US just jack up the tuition knowing the gov't will back it and students will get it. So there is no real control over tuition costs. So universities just dump all these film festivals and sports and other non real education expenses onto the bill. Students never see the real cost until its too late and the gov't could careless as long as they get votes. Prices go up, state in more debt, students with no jobs because the degrees are worthless.

  31. Hentgen

    In Ontario, student loans are handled by the government. They accrue no interest while you are still in school. You are provided with as much as the agency determines you "need," but you cannot accumulate more than $7 000 a year. If you are given more than that in one year, it is forgiven.

    Once you leave, you have to start paying it back at a pretty good interest rate (prime plus 1 or 2 percent, I think). If you aren't working, then there are exemptions available. Overall, it is a generous program and the consensus among those I know who've used it are favorable. The only people I hear complain about it, and all the debt that students on it build up, are those who have never really needed it.

  32. ThePsudo

    What seems odd to me is that American students are protesting that their educations have proven useless in finding a job (the Occupy movement) and Quebec students are protesting that essential education is becoming prohibitively expensive. So is education essential or useless?

  33. @MHR_Topher

    Interesting point, depends on the education. Some focuses of study tend to allow for easier employment (variety of engineering, business) while some are harder to get employment or are lowing paying (social sciences, language). Now once a person selects a degree, take Fine Arts, few majors expect to make as much as a computer science major. They have the freedom to study what they want, education and study are important, but they shouldn't expect equality in a job market. I graduated with a sociology degree and am working on a doctorate in political science. After graduating high school I wanted to go into civil engineering due to a strong job market and high salaries. But I found I enjoyed sociology more as I began college so I changed my major. I did this knowing I was likely decreasing my salary and likeliness of finding employment. When a person gets a degree, they do so willingly knowing that they have a certain chance of finding a job and a certain level of salary. Just doing a cursory search on the internet reveals a clear picture. Depending on the source, engineering degrees usually occupy 5-7 of the top 10 degrees in terms of salary and employment. Social sciences (psych, sociology, social work, etc) usually occupy about half of the bottom 10 in those same categories.

    I think few would question whether education is essential or not (it is) what they should be questioning: Is this degree going to provide me with the lifestyle I want, or does my pursuit of my love compensate if there is a decrease in pay? I love sociology and polisci and decided to pursue an education in it, I knew this would affect my quality of life, at least in the short term. People shouldn't complain about their degree or education not providing the lifestyle they want, they choose that focus, they are responsible for their choices. Expecting employment without knowledge of the job market (it is called a market for a reason) is foolish and selfish. If you are a Theology major, expecting to make as much or enter a stronger job market than an engineering major is demanding something that isn't realistic. There is nothing wrong with pursuing what you love, I did, but expectations need to match the degree you choose.

    A bit long, sorry.

  34. @Cristiona

    Perhaps students need to be challenged when they decide to major in "Classics" or "Women's Studies". If you want to major in something with no real job prospects, you can, but you really should have someone sit down and tell you what kind of debt you're planning on taking on and how bleak your prospects will be.

    I wonder how many of the Occupiers complaining about the uselessness of their degrees picked degrees that would be useless in the best of times.

  35. @MHR_Topher

    I know that at a number of universities in the United States in the introduction class to many majors the job market, what you can do with the degree and graduate school are discussed, but I'm not sure if that is the case in Canada.

  36. Les

    One thing left out is that many of the Occupiers are first-gen collage-goers, they have no family history of going to collage and knowing what to do and not do to parlay a degree into a career. Even worse is when they choose majors that on paper look to be extremely fruitful but in practice rely on a lot of things 'outside the book' to guarantee success.

    Various Engineering and Medical degrees for example can set you up pretty well if you just follow the course-work and develop a competent skillset based upon that. If however you major in Business but spend your weekends back in your home-town catching up with family and childhood friends instead of hobb-nobbing with the sons and daughters of the captains of industry then you can expect a job asking 'Do you want fries with that' in your future, and nowhere will that little helpful hint be mentioned in any of the brochures.

  37. ThePsudo

    MHR_Topher — Do you think that Quebecker students who have chosen to pursue degrees with weak employment prospects have undermined the validity of their participation in the cost hike protests? The reasoning would be that they have inherently opted for a weaker financial outlook, so why should they complain about getting what they chose?

  38. @MHR_Topher

    I can't judge what type of degree they sought outside of some basic ideas. Liberal arts majors are more likely to protest than engineering majors, but that's in general and isn't a complete statement. I know that in the United States with the Occupy members are very heavily leaning liberal arts from surveys that have been conducted, but once again that's in general, precise numbers are harder to come by.

    But just from my own study, I think these protestors are people whose majors are less likely to yield a job, or one that pays well. Just my opinion based on the few studies that have been done and talking to the Occupy members I've met. I would think that a similar trend would exist within the Quebec movement, but it would be incorrect for me to draw any real conclusions yet, maybe J.J. could enlighten us.

  39. Butter Peanut

    The provincial debt is a non-issue in this conflict. The tuition hike is not in an effort to cover the provinces' deficit. Rather the government has chosen to invest $800 M in post-secondary education and have decided to take $200 M of it from the students' pockets.

  40. Jake

    Higher education shouldn't be free. There is no need to have millions of liberal arts majors. Millions of engineers and doctors? Yes. But even those you don't need the entire population moving to it only a percentage You still need vocational educations and other forms of skilled labor. Free higher education implies everyone is suppose to get it resulting in no one doing skilled non-university level work.

  41. Guest

    Or that vocational study should also be free.

  42. ThePsudo

    I don't know about free, but I love the idea of easily available vocational study.

  43. Jake

    Most vocational education tend to be within the high school system, well at least in the USA in some places. You get a choice between IT, medicine (EMT), mechanical, etc. A high school near me the students get so much university credit in HS they are able to finish a 4 year degree in 2.

  44. Steen

    Even if higher education was free, not everybody would be able to get in automatically. There will still be people that don't make the cut, doing skilled non-university level work. As well as people that are simply not interested in university studies, and just really really want to be an electrician, for example.
    Has it been your experience that the only reason somebody would do non-university level work is because they couldn't afford tuition?

  45. guest

    I have no problem whatsoever with students striking. Let them strike. Their protests hurt no-one but themselves.
    The only leverage they have is the same as everyone else – their vote.
    If they don't attend classes they do not graduate, but no-one in the wider community suffers. People can still fly home for Christmas (pilots/baggage handlers), foodstuffs still get delivered to stores (truckies/fuel suppliers), power/water are still delivered to homes (utility workers), children are still compulsorily baby-sat (teachers), sick people are still looked after (nurses).

  46. Gray

    I must confess that the question of why someone from, say, Alberta or BC hasn't seriously suggested booting Quebec from Canada has come to mind for me once or twice.

    As to the students, I really wonder why Charest hasn't just told them to go to hell and tabled a bill to allow the en masse expulsion of students who don't attend class for an extended period of time without a valid medical excuse. I can envision a sound byte to the effect of "I will end this nonsense one way or another: Either the students will cease being on strike, or the strikers will cease being students." It's not like he's going to get a lot of their votes anyway, I suspect: Most will probably vote for QS either way, so why not take a "Reagan approach" towards them and start breaking them.

  47. drs

    “Just because the Americans live in Reality without protest doesn’t mean anyone else should.”

    Reality? There’s no part of reality that says tuition has to increase faster that inflation indefinitely. There’s no part of reality that says students have to pay for a basic college education. Most rich countries have tuition far cheaper than that of US, if not outright free to the students. It’s a political choice to let the middle class labor under soaring piles of debt.

  48. ThePsudo

    I think more attention should be placed on the fact that tuition is increasing faster than inflation, not who is footing the bill. Education subsidies are justified by the reasoning that they are a good investment for government at current prices, but if that price increase continues indefinitely that will eventually cease being true. That price increase has to be addressed eventually regardless of all else.

  49. drs

    “The protesters, who don’t seem particularly bashful that their demands amount to passing the check to the taxpayer in the middle of a economic malaise”

    Who has more money, the student or the taxpayer? If it’s matter of borrowing, who has better credit, the student or the taxpayer? And the students will be the taxpayers in a few years, thus paying the debts.

  50. drs

    “What seems odd to me is that American students are protesting that their educations have proven useless in finding a job (the Occupy movement) and Quebec students are protesting that essential education is becoming prohibitively expensive. So is education essential or useless?”

    A college degree is increasingly essential to have any chance of getting a job at all. The chance of getting a job, even for a new graduate, is shamefully low.

    Canada is of course a different country, and ostensibly has a lower unemployment rate than the US, as does Quebec in particular (7.9%, and I assume better welfare for the unemployed). Different problems, different complaints. Of course, unemployment rates probably aren’t directly comparable across countries; % of potential labor force employed would be a better stat.

  51. ThePsudo

    I don't think unskilled employment is entirely unavailable, as you seem to suggest. If we classify job availability in three groups by the education requirement to get in — High School or less, College Graduate, and University Graduate or more — certainly there are plenty of jobs available in the High School group. Construction, government, sales, and retail industries all have entry-level positions. Most such companies are almost perpetually hiring. Many of these jobs pay badly, but others can become upper-middle-class careers in time. In either case, they are certainly common and offer the potential to cover one's expenses in exchange for work.

    As has been mentioned, specialist jobs in one's chosen field are sometimes very hard to come by. There also might be a very low availability for in-field jobs for College Graduates, since many jobs seek either specialist applicants with more skills, or permanent employees that won't leave for better jobs when their University Degree comes through. In all, though, I think concerns such as the specialty chosen and unwillingness to work below one's level of specialty are greater detriments to graduate employment than the cost of education (high as it is).

    As for employment numbers, I found these:
    61.8% employment in Canada as of March 2012
    59.7% employment in Quebec as of March 2012
    58.5% employment in USA as March 2012
    Source for Canada & Quebec: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/
    Source for USA: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000

  52. Jake

    Actually what is needed non college degree skilled labor. Why do you think companies are going to China and India? Are both cheaper? Depends. Its cheaper to produce in the South of the US than in the coast of China. Not point is take raw materials to China making a product only to have it shipped back. If it produced in the US and sold here it is way cheaper. Only problem is the US lacks the skilled labor to produce it.

    College is for engineers and doctors and business managers not for the jobs Psudo mentioned. Skilled professionals are finding jobs when liberal arts majors cannot.

  53. Gray

    One thing to consider is that in the US, there was a court case that more or less banned corporate aptitude tests (it took a very broad brush in determining which ones could be considered discriminatory), this triggering the feedback loop with college degrees here that rendered them useless. I'm not sure whether the same thing has happened in Canada.

  54. ThePsudo

    Do you mean Griggs v. Duke Power Co.? Because it allows testing that is related to the job being offered.

  55. Virgil

    Well,

    I suspect that education is considered not worth the money spent in the US precisely because the students themselves are footing the bill, and I suspect that education is considered essential in Quebec precisely because the taxpayers are footing the bill. In any event college is certainly a pleasant experience.

    However, everyone now has to wake up. Its not just Quebec but also the United States that has been on an extended break from reality. Since the 1930's education costs have been allowed to soar because college education became universal….demand went way up. Now while the jobs are still to be had they do not pay as much as they used to and there has been a general credit crunch….and voila….people are making less money and can't use the credit card to have a good time. Life is harder.

    Education has therefore become a very slowly inflating bubble that took a good 70-80 years to get to this point and now has finally popped or is about to. All that's left is the distribution of the pain. In more private situations like the US the pain is felt immediately by the students. There are political decisions in the US that have been made that I believe are untenable given the theory of shared risk, chief among which is the decision to make student loans immune to bankruptcy. Basically, if you're going to say that the students have the same risks as anyone making a business deal you should have the same remedies. In Quebec the money is not flowing in any more to cover the government's taking up of the tab, and so the government now attempts to split the losses. In both cases the students are upset because they suddenly are faced with consequences they did not anticipate and were not warned about. You tell me which is the better method to proceed with…..I suppose we will find out.

    In both cases I think that there is a general denial as to what is going on. The college expenses are likely inflated and have been permitted to be so due to the fact that the good now has a universal demand. Basic economics would state that this point would come sooner or later. My guess: The US deals with the problem in a faster but more painful way while Quebec will take a dull ache over many years. That seems to be the way with most financial deals in both situations.

  56. ThePsudo

    "In any event college is certainly a pleasant experience. "
    This is the first statement you made that I disagree with. I DESPISED college.

    I find your narrative of an education bubble compelling; it's the first narrative I've heard that ties the two protests into the same underlying reality, and I thank you for it. However, when you say, "the students are upset because they suddenly are faced with consequences they did not anticipate and were not worried about," I am inclined to say, "It's about time they learned life isn't fair." The idea that one should expect to see every serious problem coming, or even that such is possible, is an absolute absurdity.

    Otherwise, yours is a fantastic analysis. Thanks again!

  57. Alain

    The thing you forget is that all these francophone students (students at the three English universities and the English C.E.G.E.P.s are in a different boat) do NOT compare their tuition fees with fees in other provinces or in the US. They speak French, they live in French, so they compare with France where tuition fees are incredibly lower. Yes LOWER. Sometimes they compare with Sweden or other places where tuition fees are actually zero.

  58. drs

    “No, life is not fair. Not intrinsically. It’s something we can try to make it, though. A goal we can aim for. You can choose to do so, or not.”

    — _Player of Games_

  59. ThePsudo

    You can make it so in limited scopes for limited times. Trying to create universal, eternal fairness is like trying to accelerate a mass to the speed of light — it requires infinite energy.

  60. drs

    “Not point is take raw materials to China making a product only to have it shipped back. If it produced in the US and sold here it is way cheaper. Only problem is the US lacks the skilled labor to produce it.”

    Shipping is cheap. Chinese income per capita is about 1/5 that of the US. Indian is 1/10th or less. Chinese health and safety regulations are less. Costs are obviously much lower. It’s not a lack of US labor problem.

    “certainly there are plenty of jobs available in the High School group”

    Unemployment increases a lot as you go down the education scale. These days McDonald’s is getting something like 50 applications for every opening.