The Students are Protesting Again. Now it’s about Austerity

Students can be the dumbest people sometimes.

It’s funny since they’re the ones going to school to “learn stuff”.

This week in Montreal, the students were back in the streets, protesting. What’s new right?

Back in 2012, students all over this province became intensely angry over the fact that we have the cheapest post-secondary education in North America. They were so angry, that they demanded our province make it even cheaper.

So, they went on strike, took to the streets, and generally caused a mess of things fighting with the police, quoting Leninist bullshit and annoying the rest of society.

In the end, after months of rioting, the then government under Charest lost the election and our current government under Marois came to power promising to halt tuition fees and generally be a party of the people. Hurray.

Of course, that turned out to not be the case, but that’s what you get for believing a bunch of vote-buying politicians.

Anyways, fast forward to this week – aaaand the students are back in the streets, only instead of bitching about having to pay a bit extra for their schooling (which is so cheap that they can actually afford to cut classes / work and protest the afternoon away without financial worry) now they’re bitching about austerity.

Austerity – charity on a national scale, really – the act whereby the other provinces of Canada give lots of money to this dirt broke province so that our government can pay for all sorts of cool social program, like university education.

Hang on a second!

Austerity is the only reason why education is so cheap in this province. If it weren’t for wealthy Albertans indirectly paying their tuition fees, none of them could likely afford to go to school (unless, of course, they got jobs too – but this is Quebec, there are no jobs here).

So now, two years after rioting because they thought tuition fees would go up – they are no rioting about the money pipeline that prevents those very same tuition fees from going up.

I don’t even…

Maybe there’s some rationale, some hidden reasoning behind this veil of psycho-logic which seems to be manifesting itself but at this point I honestly couldn’t care. Instead, what I’ve come to understand is that students are more interested in being angry and demanding changes, rather than working towards those changes.

Take the aftermath of the 2012 protests for example. Sure it was fun to feel powerful, knowing that Charest got kicked out in part because of what you did, but in the long-run (or actually, the short run) going out in the street by the thousands to mass demonstrate doesn’t help a damn thing. Those countless sleepless nights protesting against tuition hikes was all for naught since A)the PQ ended up raising them in the end and B) you and you’re fellow students are just going to protest literally the exact opposite thing two years down the road.

The Quebec Charter of Secularism

The secular charter. Where to begin?

The bill that Pauline Marois has been teasing about all summer finally made it’s way into public view in the recent weeks and “surprise!” it’s every bit the xenophobic, self-centered and, dare I say it, racist document that people feared it would be.

The best description of the bill that I’ve heard so far is “Privileged white person hopes other privileged white people will support bill that removes privileges from non-white people”. While this might sound a little blunt, it isn’t far from the truth of what this so-called charter is looking to accomplish.

The double standard of it all is what sickens me. The PQ are focusing their war of values on the symbols of Islam, Sikhism and Judaism, essentially depriving people who are traditionally “not white” from being able to display their faith and cultural heritage in public, all the while willing to leave crosses (depending on their length) in public spaces because they are very much part of the “Quebec Identity”.

I’m 100% behind the separation of Church and State; the human race has witnessed far too many atrocities when a narrow-minded religious enterprise was able to enact its policies with the full power of the state behind its swings. However, this isn’t about Church and State being bed-buddies, this about the State deciding which Church has a place in it’s society.

As well, the state has little to no right to interfere with the personal lives of its citizens in areas where no one is being harmed. Yes, there are crazy religious cults out there and crazy over-zealous practitioners of virtually every religion (yup, there are even xenophobic, violent Buddhists out there, believe it or not) but this is Canada and the par for the Canadian course is peace and tolerance.

Religions in and of themselves are not bad; a Koran lying on the table, or being recited in an old man’s head as he walks down the street, isn’t harming anyone. The problem with religions is how they are interpreted and then how those interpretations are put into practice.

I’ve also never heard of a man’s turban being used to kill someone, but I’ve heard rumours that crosses were once a popular method.

People should be enraged when people are deprived of their religion and culture just as equally as they should when religion is forced upon others.

Equally so, if this bill passes, who’s to say we won’t see an even more severe one come two or three years down the road? If it’s public offices today, why not extend it to all Quebec business, and then parks and public spaces and just forget altogether that Canada (Quebec included) is a nation made up of many nations? Oh wait, that’s sort of what they are trying to do. Nothing like a little “us vs them” mentality to keep a society healthy.