FACE TO FACE: Do Quebec university students' protests make sense?
Here we go again.
Akin to the Occupy protests of last summer, we have a small group of punks from the entitlement generation disrupting the lives of the hard-working majority. This time, it's the lazy, ill-informed students of Quebec who want others to pay for their education. Interestingly, it's not all the students.
According to Laval University law student Sandy White, of the 160 university associations currently "on strike," not a single group is from the fields of commerce, finance, accounting, engineering, law, mathematics or administration.
Surprise, surprise, these protesters are students studying sociology, anthropology, geography, cinematography and fine arts.
"The faculties that have opted to strike are not those known for their thorough grasp of concepts such as how inflation affects the price of goods and services; how to pay top teachers when universities are burdened by their own heavy debt loads; and the need for balanced state budgets," White brilliantly wrote in a column published in the Globe and Mail.
In other words, these protesters need a lesson in economics.
I find it odd that these young people don't realize delaying their graduation ultimately delays their ability to earn income.
They don't see that, even after the proposed tuition increase, Quebecers will still pay one of the lowest tuition rates on the continent.
These students haven't done their research about links between university costs and enrolment levels: About 30% of Quebec's young people go to university, six percentage points below the Canadian average and more than 20 percentage points behind Atlantic Canada, where the average tuition is nearly three times higher.
And clearly they don't understand the age old concept of "you get what you pay for."
B.C. learned this lesson the hard way when, in the 1990s, the NDP implemented a disastrous tuition freeze that choked universities of funding. Those who were students then will recall diminished course availability, crowded lecture halls and professors leaving for other North American universities.
My advice to the Quebec students is this: Get a part-time job, get a student loan, take an economics course and get a clue.
University, like life, is hard work. Get used to it.
Andy Radia is a Coquitlam resident and political columnist who writes for Yahoo! Canada News and Vancouver View Magazine. He has been politically active in the Tri-Cities, having been involved with election campaigns at all three levels of government, including running for Coquitlam city council in 2005.