Commentary  LETTER: “The Ministry of McGill”

PGSS VP External on the MBA tuition hike

Do you remember those wild days in the spring, when the government of Quebec and McGill University were staring at each other across the battlefield? When McGill informed the Liberal government that they were going to raise tuition fees for the MBA program by 1,000 per cent and the government threatened to punish McGill if they tried?
At the time these words are being written, tuition for an McGill MBA is $32,500 per year, and if the Quebec government does nothing to stop it, precedent will be set, allowing this “self-funded” model to spread to other universities, while opening the door to the deregulation of more professional programs, like medicine and law. In effect, the absence of government intervention will allow McGill to write education policy for every university in the province. This used to be the government’s job, and the danger of allowing deregulation to proceed is that McGill’s administration is not responsible for anything except their own institution and cannot reasonably be held accountable by the public at large.

What happened to the government of Quebec? Where is the leadership to enforce their principles and act against what can only be described as insubordination from McGill University? What happened to the strong words coming from the government in April, when they threatened to do their job and prevent McGill from unilaterally bucking Quebec education policy? Was it a spectacle being played out in the media for show? Was it theatre to make us believe they could do something? This issue is instructive, in that it shows how weak this government has become and how dangerous that can be for all of us. When it comes to higher education in Quebec, the people may have voted for the Liberals, but they elected McGill.

Ryan Hughes
Vice-President External
Post-Graduate Students Society (PGSS)