For the past week, readers have flooded the Gazette with commentary blasting the CAQ government for its decision to dramatically increase tuition fees for out-of-province students at English universities. Here is a selection of those letters.
Daughter’s McGill hopes dashed
I am outraged the Quebec government plans to double fees for students from other provinces. This is unacceptable in Canada. Leaders should encourage youth to explore opportunities across the country and make it equally possible for all.
Our daughter was so excited to accept McGill’s offer last spring from several across Canada. She applied for a one-year deferral to work and gain life experience. Now, our family’s financial planning is meaningless — we can’t afford McGill, and other offers have been declined.
We’ll lose our deposits and must rapidly do new applications with more costs and uncertainty.
Everyone needs to support Canada’s youth to become constructive members of society. Instead, it seems the Quebec government manipulates young adults and their families for partisan purposes, teaching exactly the behaviour we desperately need to get past.
For everyone’s sake, this policy needs to be reversed.
— Jay Ritchlin, Gibsons, B.C.
What if the tables were turned?
I wonder how humiliated Premier François Legault would feel if the rest of Canada doubled tuition fees for those from Quebec who wish to study in another province.
No doubt it would be considered egregious and discriminatory.
— Judy Kolonics, N.D.G.
GND set to make some noise (again)
Québec solidaire’s co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois told reporters that increasing tuition fees is a “bad solution to a real problem,” citing an imbalance between the funding of anglo and francophone universities. He said his party will soon present its own solution. Wonderful. Let’s hear it.
Who better to address the issue of increased tuition fees than Nadeau-Dubois? In 2012, while enjoying the lowest fees in Canada, he and his cohort took to banging pots and pans in the streets to protest the then Liberal government’s proposed hike in fees, which amounted to less than a dollar a day.
That was deemed too much by those students. They wanted higher education to be “free.” Such nerve.
The Liberals eventually scrapped the proposal. If students had accepted the increase, it’s possible francophone universities would be in better shape financially today.
— Elizabeth Cuthill, Côte-des-Neiges
Harvard of the north feels the heat
McGill University has been called the Harvard of the north. This incredible institution is known internationally, and has a stellar worldwide academic reputation. Hikes in tuition risk turning it eventually into a Last Chance U.
How does this help Quebec?
Destroy it and they won’t come.
— Douglas Cornish, Ottawa
Emotion trumps logic in politics
It’s illogical to argue, as the CAQ has done, that reducing the number of students from the rest of Canada at Quebec’s English-language universities will somehow help French-language universities.
It’s not unlike the logic of the poultry farmer who killed a healthy hen to make chicken soup for a sick one.
Unfortunately, when a logical argument is up against an emotional one, the latter will likely prevail, particularly in politics.
— John Hall, Montreal
Real-life Montreal escapes the CAQ
As a professor (art history) at UQAM, I’d like to share my observation on the CAQ government’s announcement to dramatically increase tuition fees for out-of-province students at English universities.
French Language Minister Jean-François Roberge and Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry seem to be unaware of the extent to which students from the rest of Canada fall in love with Montreal, settle here, start families, learn French and send their children to school in French.
It appears the realities on the ground in Montreal escape a party that has shown itself to be uninterested in this city, other than to make it the motive of a symbolic, penalizing policy that will satisfy above all the electorate of the Quebec City region.
— Dominic Hardy, N.D.G.
A blow to the city’s workforce, culture
I am now retired from Concordia University where, in my 40-odd years there, I encountered many students from all over Canada and the world.
It was enriching for everyone to learn about their experiences and cultures, whether they were from Canada or abroad. A large portion of them remained in Quebec after graduating.
The CAQ’s plan to decrease enrolment in English universities by raising tuition for out-of-province students and then transfer those funds to French-language universities will in my view hurt the workforce and culture of Montreal.
— Joyce Stempkowsky, Montcalm
Multiple-choice test for students
Would a prospective student from another province or territory come to Montreal to study, having received the following messages: a) we don’t want English spoken in Montreal, and b) we want your money for francophone universities?
I think not.
— W.A. Thomas, N.D.G.
A decision rooted in resentment
The Legault government’s alarming assault on the enrolment prospects for out-of-province students at Quebec’s three English universities is shocking.
The CAQ’s callous calculation is that fee discrimination will freeze the future of McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s and cleanse the streets of Montreal of thousands of English-speaking students. I don’t see how this will do anything to elevate French — but it will probably do a lot to hurt the downtown economy.
The deplorable decision to effectively slash the student bodies of our English universities is, in my opinion, rooted in resentment over the status of these establishments.
The government’s determination to diminish the province’s notably successful English-language higher-education institutions (including CEGEPs) seems a classic case of Quebec cutting off its nose to spite its face.
The reality is that the English-speaking community has been an important part of Quebec for centuries and deserves to be an integral part in the 21st century as well.
The problem for anglophones as I see it is that efforts to erode English in Montreal are politically popular in the province as a whole. But enough is enough. We must resist these efforts and defend our English universities.
— George McArthur, Montreal
More of the same from the CAQ
Another day, another assault by the Legault government on the use of English in Montreal (and Quebec). It just seems par for the course. It’s hard to see the CAQ’s policies during its five years in power as anything other than a fundamental attack on the anglophone minority of Quebec.
It might sound counterintuitive, but Concordia and McGill can be seen as contributing to the promotion of the French language. Out-of-province students gain an appreciation for Quebec culture and, during their time in Montreal, improve their knowledge of French.
If the CAQ genuinely wanted to protect French, it would see these schools as assets. Instead, just as with Bill 96, the message of the Legault government seems clear: “English is not welcome in Quebec!”
— Ian McKenzie, Ottawa
Allison Hanes: Tuition hike will harm more than Quebec’s English universities
Opinion: Tuition hikes risk isolating Quebec’s scientific community
Editorial: In latest salvo, Quebec takes aim at anglo universities