Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Quebec Students Succeed in Having Grants Restored

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for taking notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org

QUEBEC STUDENTS SUCCEED IN HAVING GRANTS RESTORED

After five weeks of a strike by 180,000 university and college students, the Quebec government has announced that cuts to the $103 million student grant program will not occur. Instead, an amount of $482 million will be reinvested in the grant program over the next five years, funds that will be taken from the Federal Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.

Quebec Education Minister Jean-Marc Fournier says he is happy for the students, and that this agreement is “proof it can work when we have a collaborative effort with Ottawa – it can work for all Quebecers” (Canadian Press, April 2, 2005).

Students have been aggressive in their protests against the student grant program cuts, and the strike finally seems to have tipped the scale in their favour. The Canadian Federation of Students Quebec (CFSQ) has suggested provincial money should be used to solve this problem, rather than federal money (Weatherall, April 4, 2005). With the money for Quebec students coming from the federal government, one has to wonder whether similar action by students across Canada would prompt the federal government to increase grants to all provinces. This action by students could perhaps result in bringing tuition in the rest of Canada closer to that of Quebec students who have long enjoyed the lowest tuition in Canada.

Canadian Press (2005, April 2). Quebec, striking students reach accord: Announce agreement in principle over cuts to grants. Edmonton Journal. Retrieved April 7, 2005, from http://www.canada.com/national/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=d670079e-d69f-4fad-9b1e-05e091745653
Weatherall, D. (2005, April 4). Double the bursary: students. Don’t tap into federal cash, CFSQ says. Quebec should use its own tax dollars to reverse cuts, chairperson insists. The Gazette. Retrieved April 7, 2005, from http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette/soundoff/story.html?id=c32b7585-1e9d-4aa9-adb5-8fb3a4c5f951
Charron, G. (2005, April 1). Quebec student strike widens. World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved April 7, 2005, from http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/apr2005/queb-a01_prn.shtml

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