May 20, 2012
So the banks, in their infinite power, now control our government, which means that there’s a regime of terror that has be instilled here in order to keep students to protest against a tuition hike. And what this tuition hike means in the end of the day, is that the rich can pay it off right away – their 5 000$ per semester – whereas the poor have to take out loans at around 9% interest. And now they’re saying that they’re offering us a gift by spreading out the payments on a schedule that is proportional to our income. So now instead of taking 8 years, as was the case in the previous regime, to pay off our tuition fees, we’ll take 40, 50, 60, 70 years to pay off our tuition fees. Until death, if that’s needed. Imagine the interest on a loan of 5 000$ per year.
An undergraduate degree, just to feed ourselves, to have a dwelling, the cost of subsistence make it so that instead of taking 3 years in a normal scenario, it takes us 5 years [to complete a degree] at the rate the fees are at right now.
They often say that we have the lowest fees in North America, but we also have the lowest salaries in North America and we pay very heavy taxes, and the social pact that has always been in effect here intended for the elders to pay for the youth to study in qualified disciplines in order to have jobs with good salaries later on, such as nursing, engineering, geographer, sociologist, anthropologist, these professions will enrich society, will allow the state to generate more fiscal revenues, as in more income tax, and that’s what will allow for us to have nurses to take care of us when we’re dying, to have quality care for our seniors, to have retirement homes.
And now what they want is for the youth to be less likely to go to university, because in our current regime, if we go into professional training – interjection: We need workers – it costs next to nothing. I’m not taking anything away from their professions, but people are needed to reflect on society and to help it progress. And education isn’t an individual choice, it’s a collective choice. In my opinion, it’s an inter-generational pact that should be sacred. And income tax is there for that. Income tax is the employed workers’ revenue. It’s therefore money that the state already has in its coffers. If it invest 200$M, that’s money that it already has, it’s not being borrowed, it’s not paying interest on it. Now they want to put it on the students’ backs, who will in turn pay 9, 10, 12% – we don’t know what kind of economic regime is awaiting us. It’s a scandal!
And to see that the riot squad has been sent against us, that the mass media is against us by inventing bogus surveys. I always read the little notices at the bottom of the web pages. They are surveys that are conducted over the internet, they’re answered by the members of the party in power. And now they put it on the front page of La Presse and tell us that 60% of the population is backing them! It’s a scandal! I’m revolted!
And to see that we’re throwing tear gas on children who are supposed to be sacred, they’re the next hope. In the West, when you injure a child, it’s a sacrilege, and now the population looks at us as though we’re the terrorists. I am outraged!
And I believe in the republic. A government that has a separation of power, between the legislative, the juridical, the judicial. Now we see the premier appropriating the juridical power, appropriating the political power, the legislative power, and it’s completely aberrant. And let’s get rid of the monarchy. It’s time to stop all privileges. Education is a sacred possession that belongs to everyone – interjection: especially the next generation. And I am revolted. Voilà! And I hope that all the people will rise up to form a great alliance of free and educated people! Absolutely.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.