Wait, why aren’t WE protesting again?

Mike Davies, Editor-in-Chief  Ω

Hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets of Montréal recently to protest the Québec government’s intention to raise the amount of tuition post-secondary students will have to pay for their schooling over the coming years.

They’re upset that their tuition fees will go up to the point where they will need to be paying a similar amount to students in the rest of Canada.

So here’s my question:

If a couple hundred-thousand people are protesting in Québec against having to pay what everyone else pays, then why are those of us who already pay that much OK with the cost of our education?

Or are we?

It would seem that one could either call us accepting of the amounts we are paying for our education, or lazy and complacent.

Then again, maybe we’re too busy studying to flood out into the streets and block traffic.

Maybe we’re engaged in what we’re learning and don’t want to take the time away from our studies just to piss off the public and make ourselves look like self-entitled, whiny drains on society.

Let’s face it, many uninformed and short-sighted people already think that subsidizing post-secondary education at all is a drain on society.

They don’t want to look at the fact that a well-educated workforce demands a higher level of financial compensation, and therefore will be paying far more in taxes post-graduation than the amount they were “given” to attend school in the first place.

They don’t want to look at the fact that preparing academically for the workforce creates a more diligent, hard-working employee who is better at dealing with the stress and pressure of the workplace, which could very well lead to significantly fewer costly visits to the doctor later in life (not to mention someone you’d rather be dealing with in your future endeavours than someone who hasn’t experienced any stress or pressure until they got to their job).

But the short-sightedness of those who think that university education subsidies are a drain on society exists within the students of Québec as well.

They think that continuing the huge subsidies they’ve been receiving that afford them the least expensive post-secondary education in the country is what’s best for everyone, when actually they’re causing the collapse of their province’s financial stability.

They also think they’re entitled to these low rates of financial responsibility for their own education, because they’ve had them as long as they can remember.

Full-time students in Quebec institutions right now pay an average of $2,519 per year according to Statistics Canada.

British Columbian students are currently paying an average of $4,852 per year. Yes, you’re reading that right. It’s almost double.

So I guess each of you has to decide for yourself why you’re not flocking to public spaces and being a nuisance with signs and chants.

I’m not out there because I’m too busy working to pay for an education while attending school, appreciating what it will offer me (and provide for me) in the future, as well as what it will offer (and provide for) society itself.

Maybe if the students of Québec had to get a job while they were in school to help pay for their own education they’d try a bit harder to obtain that education (realizing that the alternative sucks), and appreciate it a bit more because it wasn’t almost free.

That’s what I’m doing.

How about you?