Students protests just don't cut it

By Kristy-Lyn Kemp on November 25, 2012

Another twenty-second of the month has come and gone, and with it, yet another student protest. This latest was two-thousand strong, and was just as demanding as ever. You would figure that now that Pauline Marois is in office and has abolished all proposed tuition increases that the students’ battle would be over. Finally, you’d figure, they could hang up their little red squares and put their parents’ pots and pans back where they belong, but this latest demonstration has proven that they believe their cause is not over. Rather, as one protester stated, it is “just beginning”.

What the students now want is free education that is accessible to all. They claim that they’re feeling the plight of the poor; that they’re capable of putting themselves in the shoes of those less fortunate in order to understand just how unfair it is that they cannot get an education. Somehow, I find this difficult to believe, especially since they attacked those students who wanted to go to class, calling them “scabs”. 

If they have been so inept at understanding how a large demographic of students felt about the strike—a group which, mind you, should have been easy to identify with, even if they did not agree with them—then how is it that the red square warriors are capable of identifying with those who cannot afford to attend higher educational facilities? Even when students who did not agree with the strike stated that they could sympathize with some of the motives of the striking students, they were attacked, be it verbally or physically, for voicing their opinions. If you so blatantly trample upon the rights of others, then you have no conception of what human rights are… and stating that you did so “for the greater good” or for a “greater cause” doesn’t cut it. 

No, the students don’t care about the plight of the poor, because if they truly did, then they would be doing something for them right here and now, rather than claiming that their own greedy motives are fought in the name of altruism. In short, cut the crap, students. Rather than claiming that you’re protesting in the name of a better future, just state, flat out, that you want free education. If, however, education was to be made free in Quebec, I wonder what the future would hold? Undoubtedly, more protests down the line, when these students, now graduates, realize that they can’t get a job because there is far too much competition, and that those who are working are hobbled under the yoke of high taxes to fund this so-called “free” education. 

It was stated on CTV News, by one of the protesters, that they identify with Greece; that they’ve aligned themselves with this recently unfortunate country. Keep on aligning yourselves with Greece and Quebec will look just like it. What they fail to realize, however, is that Greece’s problems began in much the same manner as those we may very well face in Quebec: desire for free education, wanting to retire at the age of forty, and wanting the state to carry the people along of a wave of funding… sound familiar, students? And so, how about you quit aligning yourself with a country that has, in large part, caused its own problems? Be grateful that you live in North America and that you have the opportunities that you do. Identifying with Greece, just as how you identified with Libya, as well as Russia for their love of communism, and China for their cultural revolution of the 1970’s and their May Fourth Movement of 1919 and onward hardly makes sense when you’re a student in Canada and have so many opportunities at your fingertips, if only you would open up your clenched fists and notice them.

It was also stated, by a protester, on CTV news, that the government is treating education as though it is a personal investment rather than a public service. Last I checked it was a personal investment, and one of the most important ones that you can make. Education as a public service ends when you’re sixteen years old. The law states that you must go to school, or be home schooled, until you’re sixteen. After that, it’s up to you to decide if you want to graduate from high school, or go on to college or university. As far as these students are concerned, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that they are able to get a university education. 

But where would it end? What about students like me? I’ve been at Concordia since 2003, and have three bachelor’s degrees. I intend on getting a Master’s and a Doctorate, and at this rate, I’ll be in school until I’m at least thirty-five. Is it the taxpayers’ responsibility to put someone like me through school? Hell no. The responsibility is mine and mine alone, seeing as how I’m the one who is going to benefit from such a long student career. The only way to value education is to see it as the personal investment that it is. If university were free, it would be taken for granted. Those who want a free ride are too self-absorbed to realize that life isn’t free. You get what you pay for, and the protesters would do well to learn such a lesson.


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