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Quebec (and apparently now Ontario) student protests

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Beren, May 25, 2012.

  1. Beren

    Beren Lovesick and Lonely Wanderer Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder The Old Guard

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    Apparently Ontario students now want to get in on the action:

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/05/2...n-protests-of-support-for-quebec-counterparts

    This I find a little more understandable. Universities like Toronto and York have been bumping their tuition for years in an effort to poach star faculty, and gain research profiles comparable to the Ivy Leagues. Not sure how that part of it's going, but I also know Ontario students have been asking for years what the return for themselves have been.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  2. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    Universities should make an effort to keep their tuitions reasonable, especially if they have government funding (not all do). Yet at the same time, they are providing a valuable service, and that service is worth good money. The students should value that. I did when I was a student.
     
  3. reepnorp

    reepnorp Lim'n Lime ★ SPS Account Holder

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    I have zero sympathy for these student protestors. Tuition in this country is far less than in other places, and the amount of extra funding available makes it way easier to pay anyway.

    Or you can do what I did. Scholarships for the start of university, co-op to pay for the rest of it. Quit your *****ing and get back to school already!

    Yes, tuition is increasing (see my post in the 'O Canada!' thread where I show the cost per course rose from $438.40 to $574.00 in the five years I was in university) but that's the price we pay. If you don't like it, go to trade school. As far as I know that costs less, and in many situations leads to higher pay anyway.

    If you're getting a general Arts degree with no specific field in mind, you are pretty much throwing your money away at this point. That said, I think most young people would be well served taking some serious time to think about what they actually want to do with their degree. I went into math because it was something I was good at, and even with six co-op terms with excellent references it still took me six months after graduating to find a job.

    Some of my friends have been looking for almost two years now and have had little luck so far. You'd be surprised by how many people I know who graduated, couldn't find a job, and decided to go back to school for either another bachelor's degree or to do their master's. How they are affording this is beyond me...
     
  4. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Are the Ontarioans behaving themselves (or do they plan to)?

    This "occupy" terminology is just getting silly, btw. When you overuse a term, you tend to rob it of any real meaning. Next thing you know they'll start saying things like "We made an occupy!" And "occupy" will serve as a descriptor for things for which the original term was never intended - "Occupy Wal-Mart!" (to cash in on the savings), "Occupy Rhode Island!" (tourism slogan), "Occupy Pepsi!" (buy a Pepsi), "Occupy door!" (walk through a door) ... :rolleyes:
     
  5. reepnorp

    reepnorp Lim'n Lime ★ SPS Account Holder

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    I don't know Gaear, it's pretty epic the way they've been using the word occupy ;)
     
  6. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    I'm a student in Montreal, Quebec, so if you have questions about the student movement I can answer :)

    Yes tuition fees are lower here than in the rest of Canada, but we also have the highest taxes, and the purpose of those is, in part, to pay for higher education. You can't ask people to pay for services twice. Either we go towards a more capitalist model à la USA, or a more social model à la Norway (the latter seems way better to me), but you can't ask people to both amass debt to study and then again get raped by taxes when they enter the market. What does the government do with the money anyway? Oh yeah, give construction contracts to their friends in the mafia. Right.

    The students aren't in it for themselves. Those demonstrating in the streets wouldn't be much affected by the raise since they for the most part finish in 3-4 years. They can pay 1000-2000$ more, so what? They're on the streets for those coming after them, who'll pay 4000, 5000$ more a year. They want government subsidized education and they know they'll soon be the ones paying for it.

    It's much more than a question of raising fees though. Tuition fees have already been raised 30% since 2007 and there was little protest. The main problem we have with this measure is how dictatorially it is applied; the government won't even open discussion after some of the largest protests we've seen in this country's history. We're supposed to accept 82% increase without even knowing any numbers, what the real needs are in universities, how money could be spent better in the first place, etc.

    And now the government has passed Bill 78 that gives arbitrary legislative power to the minister of education, imposes massive fines (5000-125000$) on anyone even voicing their support of an illegal protest (it's downright orwellian), and most spontaneous protests are made illegal by the bill. It's starting to feel like a ****ing police state here, and wait until you've been trapped, beaten and fined without warning just for demonstrating peacefully before judging too harshly of the protesters. The demonstrations here have been remarkably peaceful overall, if very frequent. The Bill won't stand court scrutiny because of how blatantly it contradicts the Canadian constitution, but it expires in July 2013 so way before anything could be done at that level.

    The worst part of it is that it's just a diversion the government is using to pass other measures that would be unacceptable otherwise, such as the very controversial "Plan Nord" where it's not clear how much profit we'll make out of a 40 G$ investment and giving away resources that'll be worth triple in 20 years. Apparently 40G$ and the future of generations is not very important but our youth protesting peacefully in the streets for democracy and a better world, aaargh, send the army after them! Seriously.

    Word is starting to spread around the world and that's good, the more pressure on Charest the better. I particularly appreciated this article by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/24/opinion/our-not-so-friendly-northern-neighbor.html?_r=2
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  7. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly

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    Surely such a thing, if it's as bad as you make it out to be, would be challenged in the courts?
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking

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    I personally know someone who graduated from the University of Toronto just last year. And the tuition prices ARE reasonable. The total cost for her education was approximately $24,000 (Canadian - although a Canadian dollar's value is currently nearly identical to USD). Even if you borrow the whole thing, the increased earning for a college degree will make up for that within a few years. As far as comparing it to Ivy League schools, you'll pay more than double for one year at a Ivy League as you'd pay to get a four-year degree at the University of Toronto.
     
  9. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    Which is why I have a hard time taking protesting Canadian students seriously.

    However, peaceful protesting is part of pluralistic progressive polities. I believe legal behavior should not be interfered with by the government. But breaking windows, intimidating fellow citizens, burning police cars, and throwing smoke bombs is NOT peaceful protesting. It is criminal behavior and needs to be dealt with as such.
     
  10. Beren

    Beren Lovesick and Lonely Wanderer Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder The Old Guard

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    Other provinces have high taxes and higher tuition as well. Like for example, Manitoba. Sorry, I have trouble feeling any sympathy for the demand itself.
     
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking

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    As do I. At least in Canada, college remains an economically sound investment. In the US, there are some who are speculating whether or not college is even a good deal for many professions, owing to the cost of getting the degree. If you go into debt $25K or so, you can reasonably expect to make up that money in a few years owing to the increased earnings you'd expect to receive from your degree.

    It's a whole new ball game if you come out of college owing $200K in student loans. Such a student would also expect to make more money with a degree than he would have without it, but now we're talking many years - possibly a decade or two - to make up the cost his degree.
     
  12. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    Montreal just cancelled a major car racing event because the protestors were threatening to disrupt it.

    I don't know about the car racing event in and of itself as I don't give a hoot about car racing. But in principle this is beyond ridiculous. The government authorities are kow-towing to terrorism. This isn't peaceful protest. It's criminal terrorism, plain and simple. It should not be tolerated. I am flabbergasted at the unwillingness of the provincial authorities to apprehend and punish the people committing crimes. There needs to be a realistic evaluation of what's going on and a demand that this Black Block crap end immediately. If the alternative is broken windows, smoke bombs in public transportation, intimidation of law abiding students and college staff, and fiebombed police cars, I don't think it's unreasonable to demand people not obscure their features with balaclavas in the middle of the blasted summer!

    Again, let me re-iterate. If folks want to protest, wave signs, chant clever jingles, and light candles, I think they are tools but am willing to live and let live. But once they start the criminal stuff, inhibiting the abilities of others to carry out their daily lives, they need to be reined in with extreme prejudice.
     
  13. damedog Gems: 14/31
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    What exactly do you mean by that? If you think that the whole encampment should be shut down because of it I disagree strongly. Also I think threatening to protest at a car race is a far cry from criminal terrorism.

    As for the Black Bloc groups, i've been to a couple protests before and I can tell you that those guys merely latch on to existing protests to try to get away for their stuff. It's not fair to punish everyone for what they do, especially when you get huge numbers like you have in Quebec.


    No matter whether you agree with them or not, the legislation criminalizing protests near colleges and making protests ask permission is a terrible reaction.
     
  14. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    Damedog, if people want to protest the school where I work, that's fine. But as soon as they block the door and stop me from entering my place of employment (or study if I am a student) they are infringing on my rights. They have the right to protest but not to interfere with my right to work and thereby support my family.

    They also do not have the right to blockade a city street, stopping other citizens from moving around the city that their taxes paid for just as surely as the taxes of the protestors did. As for the smoke bombs, buring police cars, and threats of bodily harm to opponents, those are so obvious I shouldn't need to say anything.

    And when the protests continually devolve into violence and crime, there comes a time to say "enough is enough"! I mean, I see the deal like this:

    COP 1: Protesters are gathering on Main Street again. They are screaming and shouting.

    COP 2: Gee, the last 12 times that happened, several windows were broken and cars burned by the people screaming and shouting.

    COP 1: Yeah, but THIS time it'll be different! They'll be peaceful!

    I mean, part of what makes us human is that we learn from past experience. How often does violence have to occur before we draw the line and say, "we're going to stop the violence and crime before it starts."?

    What these protesters need to remember is that they have a social responsibility to respect the rights of their fellow citizens. I'm not seeing it from them at all. Just because they feel strongly about something doesn't mean they have the right to cause problems for law abiding citizens who do not share their concerns.

    As for the car racing thing, lets put it another way. If another business, say an abortion clinic, were forced to close its doors due to threats by protesters, would you be OK with that? Or is it only right wing religious protesters that are a problem?

    Make no mistake, I am religious and opposed to at will abortion, but I wouldn't be caught dead protesting a clinic, and I advocate jail terms for those who impede the entry of customers to abortion clinics. I also advocate the death penalty for the imbeciles who murder abortion doctors.
     
  15. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder

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    I've been witness to a lot of these things, and I've never once seen one with numbers over, say, ten, where there wasn't intimidation, threats (at a minimum on the implied level), and attempts to incite others (including potentially sympathetic random passers-by or residents) to frenzy and violence. This means, unmistakably, that they are attempting to bully their way, which gets zero respect from me. Reason goes out the door when you appeal to a person's sense of well-being by means of endangering it. Without reason we have nothing to talk about, and I will not be your b*tch, so all that's left is potential altercation. If that's what these people are really after, they've got to be the most simpleminded level of humanity in existence.

    Sometimes the little groups can be decent, and they may have members who will actually talk to you calmly and make meaningful cases for their cause. But based on my related observations, I suspect that most often, small groups are peaceful simply because they don't quite have the courage of numbers they require to become aroused and thus haven't generated enough frenzy to assume the mob mentality.

    I think the concept of peaceful protest has honorable roots, it's just a shame that it's come to mean what it is today. :shame:

    Oh, one other thing: any time I've seen some insistence by a protesting group's spokespersons to the news media that no, they were not actually acting up and were only peacefully protesting and not attempting to coerce anybody, it has always - and I mean always - been a lie.
     
  16. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    The sit ins staged by African Americans in the 50s and 60s were a perfect example of effective peaceful protest. They didn't stop anyone else from getting lunch, they didn't assault or threaten anyone with physical violence. And they worked.
     
  17. damedog Gems: 14/31
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    I don't mind taking out illegal elements from protests. But infringing on the rights of all of those people who protest nonviolently because of a few who do do those things, especially when they have their own specific ideology that is not part of the protest like Black Bloc anarchism, isn't the right way to go.

    Nonsense. Even West Boro Baptist Church protests get by non-violently. How many protests on the issue of, say, fracking, have been violent? And there have been tons of protests about it containing many hundreds of people in multiple states. Many protests never make the news and go off without a hitch. This stereotype just doesn't cut it in reality.

    Or sometimes everyone in a protest containing hundreds or thousands of people can be decent. Or even hundreds of thousands of people in huge protests that have had small amounts of violence by groups with their own ideology, but clearly they don't count.
     
  18. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder

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    lol ... Damedog, you seem to be failing at reading comprehension on an increasingly larger scale lately. I've been trying to give you the benefit of the doubt on that personally, but I'm seriously wondering about your intellectual honesty anymore. Please re-read what I actually said as opposed to what you for some reason seem to want me to represent (some sort of quasi-boogeyman dedicated to spreading falsehoods about the voracity of protests? I'm not sure what else it could be ...), and then, if you can make an intelligent and honest comment about that, I will listen.

    Talking points to bear in mind:

    • Not theorizing, reporting facts.
    • Have witnessed a great many protests in person, professionally, where it was my job specifically to observe them and assess their threat level.
    • Have seen decent small groups.
    • Have not seen decent large groups.
    • Have not seen large groups not employ tactics of threatening behavior and/or intimidation.

    Don't know what else to tell you, pal. You may possibly be confusing the concept of threatening behavior with actual violence, in which case let me state again that the definitions I'm working with here for threatening behavior and/or intimidation are "behavior that is threatening" and "behavior that is intimidating" respectively. Bear in mind though that threatening behavior and intimidation have for all practical purposes a lot more in common with violence than peace, as they basically threaten violence and do not promote peace. Not sure if that's a grey area for you conceptually or what.
     
  19. damedog Gems: 14/31
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    You entirely ignored my second paragraph that clarified what I was talking about. Large groups of protesters can and do go by without threatening, intimidation, etc. For example, fracking. I've been to large ones and haven't seen it, never heard about it, and never heard of a single case when I tried to research it. Although admittedly I didn't know you did it professionally but I don't see how I could have known that when reading this thread. I've seen videos of people intentionally provoking WBBC people and them not doing anything about it. When I said "hundreds of thousands of people in huge protests that have had small amounts of violence by groups with their own ideology", I was referring specifically to Occupy encampments that have been quite peaceful with no cases of threats or what-have-you except for things like Black Bloc. I didn't mean to use the word violence in the sense of just breaking stuff and beating people up, I was using it as a general term to describe what you were talking about, and that may have been a mistake on my part, but really, no need to be a condescending ass about it.
     
  20. Morgoroth

    Morgoroth Just because I happen to have tentacles, it doesn'

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    Well I can hardly speak for the United States since I've never seen a protest in there but in Finland most large protests never turn violent. Of course large protests attract people who are simply out to make trouble but it's the responsibility of the authorities to keep them separate from the mainstream protesters instead of dispersing the entire protest when a few individuals get the idea of starting trouble.

    I used to go by the parliament house back in the day quite often and there were almost weekly protests in front of the building. The vast majority of them are small of course but once in a while there's a bigger protest with a hundred people or so and most of the time there's little to no trouble. An example would be the anti nuclear power protest that was held after the Fukushima incident in Japan that gathered a few thousand persons. No incidents were reported. Provocation to violence or intimidation of bystanders is illegal and will lead to arrests. Such protests are always supervised by authorities so they will intervene if such behavior is apparent.
     
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