Updates from March, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:58 on 2012/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    A family whose elderly relative is at the Royal Vic has had to pay for an interpreter so she can be served in French. Le Devoir’s Josée Boileau sounds the trumpets against a general slippage in the direction of tolerating English.

    You know, years went past on this blog with virtually no language grief stories at all. What happened?

     
    • walkerp 06:20 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      What a mess. So does that mean a qualified nurse who doesn’t speak french can get a job at the Royal Vic? I have to say that in this case, I agree that the government should be having a big problem with this. Imagine if an anglophone went to the hospital in Vancouver and had to pay a translator so they could be treated in english?

    • Raoul 07:43 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Im too lazy to scroll back – but didn’t i say when the huntingdon story broke that it was going to kick-off another language sh!tstorm? lol. QC politics, ever so predictable.

    • Carrie 07:43 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Re the family having to hire a translator for their elderly relative at the VIC. Insert big sigh here. What did they do? Hire the translator and then call Le Devoir? I find it unbelievable that there wasn’t one person available to speak French. No, make that implausible.
      I wonder why the MUHC doesn’t have translator services available like most major academic hospitals in this country do. On the other side of the coin, on many occasions while accompanying an ill relative at the Montreal Chest Hospital, the nurses didn’t speak English at all. I thought at the time that that was a travesty. In healthcare, this is inexcusable in whatever language you choose to complain in.
      Once again, the pettiness over language rears its ugly head. Its a diversion from the many, many social ills that beset Quebec and sadly, appears it will never go away. Shame.

    • Kate 08:00 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      walkerp, CBC news this morning says there’s an investigation afoot. But you’re right, it’s impossible to work as a nurse here without passing some quite difficult French language tests. I don’t doubt there’s more to that story we haven’t heard (it’s a very elderly patient who may have trouble understanding anyone, especially if their accent is that of someone whose first language isn’t Quebec French).

      Carrie, all hospitals have some interpreters on hand.

    • Marc 08:09 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Two things. I’ve been a RVH patient for ages and have never come across anyone who doesn’t speak French. In fact I hear lots of languages spoken there.

      And on the OLF’s crooked French test, not everyone has to take it. An anglo who did their high school here, even whose sole exposure to and use of French was in the classroom, is exempt. The test is for those who didn’t go to school here. The only exception to that is if you did you post-secondary education all in French.

      There are lots of native Quebec anglos who graduate from school not knowing more than six sentences of French.

    • Raoul 08:14 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      When your multilingual you tend to think of both camps as equally retarded and ignorant. I have french friends who won’t go into the western part of the city, and english friends who don’t know their way around the eastern part (and most of the 450). And despite this total lack of exposure both camps seem to know enough about the other to pass judgement.

      Divide & conquer. While were busy debating what language the municipal newsletter should be in, were not getting ahead on any other subject, as if we didn’t have bigger social and economic problems right now.

    • Kate 08:18 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Raoul, those are wise words. Marc, I recall my sister having to work extra hard to study and pass French exams to get her nursing license here – she went to school in English, all in Montreal. Has that changed?

      In case anyone thinks I’m defending this situation, I will say it clearly: I think everyone offering health care in Quebec ought to speak French. But in the traditionally English-language institutions in Montreal it’s also natural that they should be able to communicate in English.

    • Raoul 08:29 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Ive also noticed a lot of shops closing in my small towns’ downtown in the last three months. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It's_the_economy,_stupid)

    • Kate 08:32 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Raoul, does that follow from the language story originally posted in this thread?

    • Clément 08:37 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Quote: “You know, years went past on this blog with virtually no language grief stories at all. What happened?”. You tell us, you’re the one curating this blog!

      Ok, on a more serious note, it’s obvious we don’t have all the facts about the Royal Vic, so until we do, it’s kind of hard to pass judgement.
      Yet, at the same time, I can’t help but smile when I think about what happened at a hospital in Cornwall, Ontario a while back. Cornwall is essentially a bilingual city, like Montreal. When they placed a job add asking for bilingual nurses (not unilingual French, just bilingual) in order to better serve the population, local anglos started protesting against the move, saying that the quality of healthcare would suffer (wtf???). I know I’m comparing apples and oranges, but still, I’m just saying we (both anglos and francos) are a lot more tolerant here and I’m happy we’re here.

      Raoul: I can’t help but notice that you keep saying we have bigger social and economic problems right now, yet you are most active on this blog when commenting on language issues.

    • Raoul 08:38 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      The parallels are striking yes. We’re less than a year away from election and there’s all this language crap all over the media, again. The political machinery is obviously gearing up to obfuscate the real issues. And they know older voters eat up this language crap.

    • Raoul 08:40 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      @Clément
      When we get real news ill comment on it. Right now i might as well be living in my parents’ time for all the novelty these issues present us.

    • Carrie 08:50 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      I still think that the chronic, small-minded bitter attacks on English in Montreal is indefensible and archaic. Its borderline paranoia. As an Anglophone living in North America, not just Quebec, I genuinely feel sorry for those who can’t speak English and I am always surprised when I come across people who can’t. All I can think of is how much they miss. Beyond these borders, this whole language debate is laughable just about anywhere you go.

    • Raoul 08:56 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      @Carrie small minded yes, but also strategic. The PQ knows their attacks on english will provoke loud, public reactions from anglos. The PQ uses those reactions to rile up their supporters and instill siege mentality. Anyone who’s lived here long enough can smell the manure miles away lol.

    • jeather 08:57 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      If you finished high school in Quebec after 82 or so, you are considered bilingual for some purposes, including many but not all professions. Earlier than that, you have to pass a test.

    • Clément 09:03 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      On the subject of borderline paranoia, was it just suggested that this 80 year old lady who has 18 months to live is actually just a pawn in an elaborate PQ-Le Devoir conspiracy?

    • Kate 09:03 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Clément, honestly there were years when hardly any language stories broke the surface and when they did they were so negligible I didn’t feel the need to look at them. But as a Montreal blogger I can’t ignore them now, there are language grievance stories every week. There may be some truth that the PQ and its supporters are stirring that pot as one of the stronger elements of their impending bid against the Liberals.

    • Kate 09:05 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Clément, not as such, but it seems to me the PQ is latching onto any and every story they can get in which French is not correctly served, and pushing it to the media. Hell, it’s what I’d do in their shoes, it always gets a reaction.

    • Clément 09:17 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      I agree with you Kate, the PQ will do anything for exposure and the language button is a sure way to get people to pay attention. René Lévesque would be so disappointed by what has happened to his party nowadays.

      But in all fairness, the Gazette will do the exact same thing whenever English is not correctly served just to sell more copies.

    • Raoul 09:21 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      @Clément
      Why is it every time one questions political motivations you’re suddenly a conspiracy nut? I suppose you still believe the poles burned down the reichstag, or that Franco was an nice guy.

      What is so unreasonable about a political party pushing every story that gives them headlines before an election? Most people who voted PQ in the past wouldn’t necessarily do so today because no one wants to talk about referendums except marois and a few supporters who wont be around many more elections. So, how do you get your supporters to actually go out and vote? You tell them that french is disappearing and the ROC is about to invade.

      Thats why young people dont care about politics, they can see the needle stuck in the groove.

    • Clément 09:27 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Raoul: Really?

    • Raoul 09:37 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      fo’ shizzle my whizzle.
      Show me a party that wants to govern for all its residents. weve had like 40 years of divisive politics in quebec and now it’s catching on with the CPC. And what do they have to show? two failed referendums and a booming commercial sign industry lol. Something tells me they wouldn’t get it right the third time either. When a woman tells you “no means no” you dont have to ask her three times.

    • Carrie 09:49 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Quebec has this uncanny ability to shoot themselves in the foot time and time again. The PQ’s focus on referendums and language are a case in point. They’re grasping at straws to the detriment of every human being in this province. Limit the ability to learn English and they get a lock on those votes. It is very tiring and Clement, you are right on the money about the Gazette. They leap onto every language story that comes out however small and insignificant. I’m convinced that under the guise of Montreal’s only English paper, they wouldn’t have anything to write about without the language issue. It’s their bread and butter. And then they go and put a paywall up to limit access. Idiots.

    • Rosco 11:03 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      I’ve worked on 5 floors in the RVH. Depending on the unit, approximately one-third to one-half of the nurses there are Francophone or Allophone with better French than English. Every single nurse I have worked with has had passable French, mine being among the worst of the lot (and I get no complaints).

      The only non French-speaking workers I have encountered there have been residents from the Arabian Peninsula and some residents from Ontario and the West.

    • Robert H 11:53 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      @Carrie, the chronic, small-minded bitterness you lament about the petty anti-anglo attitudes in Montreal are replicated among anglophones in the ROC (and many here) toward francophones. As Raoul implied, there’s plenty of tête-de-béton to go around with each group repeating time-warp opinions in its separate echo chamber. I feel sorry for people who live in Québec but can’t speak French. All I can think of is how much they miss. And I don’t doubt that all those people outside Quebec laughing at the language tempests here would behave exactly the same were they the object of demonization for the language they used, or if they perceived their language and culture to be threatened. It’s truly a contextual conundrum: anglophones in Quebec and francophones in Amérique du Nord. The storm will calm and start again later, just a part of life in La Belle Province.

    • Carrie 13:02 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Point taken and accepted Robert, sadly. Clearly, we can’t fix everything.
      Given both of my parents are French Canadians, though I was educated in English (their choice initially), I have absolutely nothing against the French nor do I have any major qualms with the preservation of their language and/or culture. That said, I still feel quite strongly that some of the more radical measures taken towards the protectionism of the French language against the decades old threat of an English takeover can also be viewed as segregation towards the French, which I believe is morally unjust. I believe people must always be given the option to choose of their own accord, and exercise free choice, and free will be it education, healthcare, or the language you choose to speak. And that’s where I (and my French Canadian parents) had a problem with the language zealots. It seemed wrong then and it still seems wrong to me now. Its all about freedom, not limitation.

    • Clément 13:24 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      I believe some of the reasons discussions about languages are not easy are that, for one, language is very emotional. Language defines part of who we are as a person, whether we want to or not. We can have endless debates about the usefulness or relevance of one language vs another for education, health, the media, jobs, government services, etc.
      But I think that ultimately, whenever someone says something that we feel is threatening to our language (regardless of whether or not it is true), many people feel personally threaten as they feel it attacks who they are.
      If I’m a francophone, and I see in the media that an old lady did not receive medical services in French (whether it’s true or false), I emotionally feel threatened.
      If I’m an anglophone, and I see in the media that an old péquiste is trying to shut down McGill (whether it’s true or false), I emotionally feel threatened.
      If I’m an immigrant running a dep, and I see in the media that some people feel I don’t speak the right language (whether it’s true or false), I emotionally feel threatened.

      In Québec, language has always been and will always a hot button issue. It’s part of living here. And if so many people feel it’s important, then it must be!

    • Jack 14:36 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Clement thank you for your posts.One element that does need further thought is the idea of “emotionally feel(ing) threatened.” by these news stories. Our political and media class knows how to construct these anecdotes for that very reason.The media to sell papers or higher ratings,the politicians for votes.They know exactly what they are doing, we have to be better than them. The French fact of Quebec is what makes life here interesting and culturally rich, 82% of the population is French origin and 4.5 million are unilingual French speakers.Their is no threat to that predominance socially,culturally or economically.Except if you allow yourself to feel threatened.Clement I haven’t read the Gazette or listened to CJAD in twenty years, I find that helps.

    • Clément 15:25 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Thanks for your comment Jack. You’re right, we have to be better than the media and the politicians.

      Another easy route to follow is generalization. Some people are experts at taking an anecdote and using it to make broad statements about certain groups.

      A few months ago, a store owner in the West Island suggested I speak white to him. But it doesn’t mean all anglos are ignorant morons.
      In l’Actualité, they profile Toronto -> Montreal artist Sherwin Tjia, who’s proud to have been in Montreal for 10 years and not speak a word of French. But I know he’s not representative of the all Toronto expats.
      I have relatives living in Québec city who are afraid to come to Montreal because “Il y a bien trop de sortes de monde”. But it doesn’t mean all Québec city residents are bigots.
      I have encountered a few stubborn health professionals in various hospitals in Montréal, but I know most will go out of their way to serve you in your preferred language.
      Some francos refuse to learn English and it’s sad how much they miss by staying east of Saint-Laurent. But most francos I know are quite open minded.
      Some anglos refuse to learn French and it’s sad how much they miss by staying west of Saint-Laurent. But most anglos I know are quite open minded.

      And yes, I know that the reference to Saint-Laurent stopped being true about 50 years ago, but it’s still a great metaphor.

      More often than not, these discussions all start with some anecdote (often unverified, usually altered/transformed/distorted/manipulated) which is then used by some to make broad generalizations.

    • mdblog 16:21 on 2012/03/31 Permalink

      Clément, did that really happen?

      “A few months ago, a store owner in the West Island suggested I speak white to him.”

      Speak white? Like, really? That’s an old trope that’s best left in 1946 at Morgan’s department store. I find it hard to believe anyone in this day and age would say that to someone’s face. As racist as I find language laws to be, I have never actually been told fuck you Anglais to my face, so this is truly shocking.

    • qatzelok 12:52 on 2012/04/01 Permalink

      @ Kate: “there were years when hardly any language stories broke the surface”

      Maybe Canada’s recent foray into colonial violence has caught up with us. Canadians folded their arms and let their government send its youth off to kill foreigners because American TV told us they were evil. Quebecois often feel foreign as well, and have little confidence in English Canadians doing the right thing regarding other nationalities. Canada has bad karma, and this will cost it dearly. Perhaps it will disappear. Who cares.

    • Clément 13:16 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      @ mdblog: Just noticed your comment. Unfortunately, yes, it did happen. Of course, there was a context which I don’t want to get into.
      Not sure however if he was the store owner or an employee. But he seemed old enough to have worked at Morgan’s!
      Having said that, I realize this guy was a dinosaur, not representative of the community, which is the whole point I was making.

  • Kate 22:02 on 2012/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Students demonstrated in costume Thursday in spots all over downtown. There was relatively little violence.

     
  • Kate 21:43 on 2012/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Earth Hour takes place this Saturday evening from 20h30 to 21h30. People are gathering on the Place des Arts esplanade.

     
  • Kate 21:37 on 2012/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    All three municipal parties said Thursday that the federal budget was a disappointment and didn’t address Montreal’s issues. Well, we didn’t elect any Tories, so I’m not sure what they expected. The new Champlain bridge is promised for 2021 but that’s the never-never, politically speaking – by then, a different party and a different prime minister will be in power.

     
  • Kate 16:41 on 2012/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    OpenFile looks at some Montreal angles to the federal budget.

     
  • Kate 15:36 on 2012/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s nearly the end of the workday and time for a round of Angry Grévistes.

     
  • Kate 09:36 on 2012/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Residents of the Vieux have forced a referendum over the construction of a 12-storey tower on the waterfront. How does the zoning even permit the conception of such a building?

     
    • Martin 10:04 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      Well, it doesn’t, hence the referendum. The zoning allows for a building of only 44 meters (9 stories). The proposal was more like 60 meters. Plus, the design is horrible, but that’s another story.

    • qatzelok 12:47 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      The new condos next to it are a bit shorter than that, but not much. It will fit in with its neighbors better than the disposable modern bunker that is there now.

    • Stef 01:07 on 2012/03/31 Permalink

      It’s prime Montreal real estate: knock down the bunker, keep the zoning @ 44m and make sure the design isn’t some god-awful looking mess like other buildings going up along Bonaventure.

  • Kate 09:25 on 2012/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Students are starting a massive protest at noon, a charivari marching from Phillips Square along four routes to converge at the Place des festivals later. The SPVM has a page with a link to a PDF map showing the routes. Poster shown on left is a damn nice spoof of the current STM graphic style for the poster (albeit not using the strictly proprietary font the STM owns).

     
    • Chris E 09:33 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      When I got off at Guy-Concordia yesterday, there was a sticker in the door that mimicked the STM’s design perfectly. I had to take a second look when I saw an STM sign saying “Don’t fuck with notre education”. Ingenious.

    • Raoul 09:38 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      this s**ts been’ going for a while now and the liberals seem more entrenched now than they did a few weeks ago. We already know it’s going to be an election issue, and we already know that if the PQ pledges to protect education, it’s going to come at the expense of our health services, or a bigger deficit. Personally having seen the sales tax jump from 12ish to 15ish% is already enough for me.

      Meanwhile the students are going to scrap a session and consequently scrap my sisters’ session and she doesn’t even agree with these clowns.

      Do we really wanna be in the same boat as ontario with their decade of over-spending?

    • Tux 09:48 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      To me, keeping education accessible to as many young people as possible is worth the increased debt and more. Kids that go to university go on to get good jobs, and then they give back a huge chunk of their salaries to the province as income tax. It’s a fair trade if you ask me. Keep education accessible, accumulate more debt in the short term, but long term you win, because you supported those kids so they could get decent paying jobs instead of being call centre operators.

    • Raoul 10:08 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      But its not just more short term debt, it keeps accumulating. The more debt we have the bigger the chunk of our income taxes goes to servicing the debt (interest). And the kids on strike today for lower tuition will be the same ones asking for lower income taxes in five years. it’s always “me first”.

    • Raoul 10:13 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      Besides, i get paid minimum. no iphones, no vacations, hell my computer dates back to 2007 and i keep having to fix it. How much more tax do you want me to pay for these yuppies? Do you think they’ll give a &&&& in ten years what my situation is?

    • Kate 10:14 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      No, but they’ll be in a better position to pay for our old age pensions if they have some education. Because as things are going, you’ll hardly be allowed to pull a pint if you don’t have a degree in bartendology.

    • Raoul 10:17 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      For me it’s a given that we’ll all have to pay for our own pensions. the current scheme is unsupportable.

    • Jonathan Evans 10:21 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      I agree with the argument that we should keep university educations that result in higher paying jobs (and therefore higher paid taxes) accessible. However, the degrees that accomplish this are those from the hard sciences in general. So, economically speaking, the best course of action would be to completely subsidize our engineers, computer scientists, biologists, chemists, etc, and completely stop paying for those people that want to get degrees in English and the fine arts and such. I would be completely behind that.

      Knowledge and education should be accessible to everyone, and they are totally free to anyone with a library card (or just has access to the Internet). Diplomas, however, should not be free, though I would argue that there needs to be a serious adjustment to the overvaluing our society does to university degrees. We need to encourage more people to pursue shorter length technical degrees after high school or cegep or to simply enter the workforce, and we need to change our views of people who do that. Someone who gets a job after cegep instead of pursuing a degree in philosophy saved three years of their lives and a bunch of our tax many, and they shouldn’t be looked down on or limited in their advancement opportunities for that.

    • Matthew 10:44 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      In order to keep education accessible the answer isn’t to keep tuition at the same rate. The answer if to create a loan program that is directly related to a student’s personal income after their studies. Someone who finds a good paying job is more likely to be able to pay their loans back quicker. That being said, the value of your monthly installments should be directly related to your yearly T4.

    • ant6n 10:49 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      Let’s not forget that the tuition increase are peanuts compared to the Quebec budget. It’ll save what, like half a billion dollars? And the Quebec budget is like 70 billion.

    • Stefan 12:23 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      Alas, decreasing tuition (or making it free) for students nowhere has the support of a majority of the population.

    • Kevin 21:59 on 2012/03/29 Permalink

      “Tux
      Kids that go to university go on to get good jobs, and then they give back a huge chunk of their salaries to the province as income tax.

      Only if they stay amigo, only if they stay.
      In 1997 I moved to Vancouver along with a gang of two dozen people.
      My wife and I are the only ones who came back, and we did so only because the provincial government bribed us.

      I know people who maintain their official residences in Ontario — and there’s a guy on my street who has one in New Hampshire. They’re not paying provincial taxes here — even though this is where they earn their money.

      @Jonathan: The only catch is that the BSc is just one step. You need an MA/PhD/PostDoc that may take you around the world — and then you land wherever you can get a grant/industry job, which may or may not be Quebec.

      But you know the people protesting in the streets are not in the hard courses. They’re in programs that they won’t be able to justify dropping $12,000 on in order to go intern on a movie set, or get some job with the bureaucracy.

    • Kate 00:47 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      OK, there are a ton of strange opinions here which I don’t think I can respond to. But I don’t think education should be narrowed down to turning kids into efficient technicians and nothing else. It’s tempting to think that way when we’ve been through a recession but I’m convinced the better response is the exact opposite: we have to pass along the western tradition that has the effect of teaching kids to understand human culture and to think critically. They need to be given a glimpse of the big picture.

      You don’t get original thinkers by only rewarding the narrow acquisition of immediate job skills, and here I think I even have an argument for the conservatives who’ve been posting here. Regardless of whether you buy the human culpability for climate change there’s absolutely no denying the simple fact that this planet is getting steadily more overpopulated and the human race seems unable to alter that trajectory. We will need alternative sources of power and food and everything else this century – even leaving the environment out of it. We will need people who can invent, make breakthroughs in science and technology but also envision new ways to live.

      So far, science has given us longer lifespans. That may not continue as a trend, but how can you expect someone to work for 50 years if you teach them a few basic skills and kick them out to make their living on such meager material – till 67 now, and that may not be the only extension we see? That is fucking grim. Things continue to get more expensive, life continues to get more complex, and people need to be ready to cope. The kids are bucking the implications of making education harder to get, and damn right they should.

    • Raoul 07:53 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Well my opinion is simple math. Everything goes up with inflation. But education? that stays the same its just our taxes that go up. Who suffers the most from a sales tax increase? not the rich, they pay a lot more in income tax. Thats why i dont buy the socialist angle at all.

      and by the time we’re done paying for the education, half of them go off to wherever compensation is higher. Where’s the return? We wait longer than ever these days to see a doctor.

    • Philippe 09:24 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Kate, I’m gonna have to take exception with the notion that technically-oriented people are merely “efficient technicians” who eke out a “living on such grim material”. I’m gonna go one step further: speaking as someone with a background in the sciences, I dispute this belief that a lot of people in the humanities seem to have that having a BA somehow implies better critical thinking skills than somebody in science or engineering.

      Jonathan has it right when he says seekers for knowledge don’t lack the means to access it on their own in this age. There’s the library, the internet, and there’s also the perusing the syllabus of whatever liberal arts class you’re interested in and going to the bookstore and buying the textbook, which is what I did when I was getting my BSc years ago.

      For myself, I’m inclined to think that a state-funded university education should not be a universal right. I think we need to limit access not based on financial means of the prospective student but on whether the degree they’re applying for is something that’s demonstrably beneficial to society and/or something they’ve shown a real talent for. I think right now we’re letting to many students waste state funds in pursuit of degrees they have no hope of leveraging in the workplace for whatever reason. And I think the hike is an imperfect measure, but something that’s necessary in the short term.

    • ant6n 13:11 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      @Raoul
      Education costs have been going up way faster than inflation since 2007. Now this hike again is much much faster than inflation. Phrasing this tuition hike as bringing education in step with inflation is off by one or two orders of magnitude.

      Regarding sales tax: poor people enjoy few goods on which there are sales tax (rent/food has none); so an increase in sales tax could be viewed as progressive.

    • Kate 21:52 on 2012/03/30 Permalink

      Philippe: Jonathan Evans up there said We need to encourage more people to pursue shorter length technical degrees after high school or cegep or to simply enter the workforce and Kevin said But you know the people protesting in the streets are not in the hard courses. They’re in programs that they won’t be able to justify dropping $12,000 on in order to go intern on a movie set, or get some job with the bureaucracy.

      I have profound respect for science, but someone getting a fast technical qualification and getting into the workforce as soon as possible after high school or CEGEP is not doing science – they may be acting as assistants or lab techs or something, but they’re not doing research or writing papers. And while you may think the smart kids will necessarily get into the real academic programs and the less bright ones do the scut work, the reality is that the kids of upper middle class families would get the real educations and those of working class and lower middles will mop up the labs for them.

      As for Kevin: even the most modest jobs now can require a degree. It’s how employers weed out the sheep from the goats, a rough initial approximation that helps them decide who’s worthy of the job and who isn’t. Without a degree in this world you’re forever doomed to modest, low-level jobs requiring mostly obedience and passivity. Denying degrees to the sizable portion of the populace who don’t have mathematical or technical predilections means dooming an awful lot of people to serving fast food.

  • Kate 09:15 on 2012/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    News bulletin: Pierre Gauthier has been fired.

    Later: Mass tweeting and commentary followed the initial announcement that the Canadiens were cutting Pierre Gauthier loose and also pushing Bob Gainey out the door, the latter having hung around as an official adviser. The team is calling up Serge Savard now for that role. I never got the impression Savard was exactly an intellectual giant, but he’s clear that the new coach will speak French and that the team needs more players from Quebec.

     
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