Were you one of the students who opposed this year’s student strike, which has somehow ‘succeeded’? Do you believe that tuition hikes are a necessary reform in these times of ballooning budget deficits? Then I suspect that you, like me, are sorely disappointed with Premier Marois’ cancellation of the hike, which panders to violent radicals instead of properly engaging stakeholders who can put Quebec on a path to a balanced budget and economic growth. I also suspect that you feel stuck, as I do, between your own self-interest and what you know is right. That is why I will offer a simple way to assuage your conscience without giving in to radicalism. The solution is simple: have the courage of your convictions, take direct action, and pay the hike.
I believe we should take a page from the playbook of the anarchists who set strike policy, and take direct action. The logic is quite simple. We believe that tuition should go up and there is no reason for us to sit back and let it stay at such an unreasonably low rate. The lowest on the continent for goodness’ sake! While some details of our plan obviously must be worked out, I do have one suggestion. Instead of writing a cheque to the black hole that is the provincial government, write it directly to the McGill administration. Or better yet, directly to your department. That way your money will stay out of the hands of corrupt government contractors and McGill’s bloated administration.
Last semester, we proved our points beyond a reasonable doubt. Brendan Steven, in an incredibly hard-hitting YouTube video explained how the “moderate increase in tuition” is “necessary in order to ensure the long-term viability and prosperity of the Quebec university system.” Since we, as Murtaza Shambhoora elaborated in a Daily article last year, should not raise taxes on the job creators in order to fund our universities, it is up to us to make a change. The idea that users should pay for public benefits is at the core of our belief system, and it seems unfair to expect hardworking job creators to pay for other people’s education.
We must not give up now and hand victory to, as Prime Minister Harper said, the “socialists and sovereigntists.” We are not entitled, spoiled brats; we know what must be done. Let us take direct action for what is right. We should, to paraphrase Gandhi, be the change we wish to see in Quebec and pay the tuition hike!
Jon Booth is a U4 History and Economics Joint Honours student. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.