Updates from April, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 09:41 on 2012/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir comments on CLASSE halfheartedly condemning violence – notice how the “condemning violence” issue has become the focal thing, now, rather than the initial point about holding back tuition increases.

    Line Beauchamp is said to be meeting the student groups Monday. The presence of the more radical CLASSE is still unclear, although the two other main student groups have insisted on its spokespeople being included.

    Academic calendars will be upset by a possible loss of a semester.

    The chief of the SPVM defends his men turning to violent means of control in certain circumstances.

    A professor writes in Le Devoir: “Un vrai gouvernement ne donne pas du « poing sur la table », il agit.” Another item from the same paper discusses the risk of treating education as a business, and is signed by a group of students and profs from HEC.

    And some sensible words in Urbania to round the whole thing out.

    • Blork 11:07 on 2012/04/23 Permalink

      To be fair, we’ve seen in the past how easily protests and parades can get taken over by violent factions (which is to say, opportunistic thugs), so it’s a legitimate concern. Nobody’s going to concentrate on the core issues when the pot is threatening to boil over. Count me among the people who want to remove the threat of violence so we can go back to talking about the issue.

    • Hamza 04:09 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      There is no threat of violence. The threat is to thousands of students being priced out of higher education and therefore to society.

      Of course, that sort of threat can be brushed off by our elites.

      Unfortunately, it takes a few smashed windows and *property* damage to be taken seriously in Quebec. (not the humans injured by police)

    • Kevin 07:07 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      That nonsense about ‘being priced out of higher education’ has been disproven so many times it’s ridiculous.

      Doubt me? Go look at every other jurisdiction in North America, where post-sec education costs way more — and come back and tell me which place has the lowest per-capita enrolment rate.

    • Ian 07:27 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      @Kevin – Let’s not have a race to the bottom – it’s tough to make ends meet as a student no matter where you are, and while it may be easier here than elsewhere, offloading education funding by means of increased tuitions can only serve as a disincentive to higher education. If we have low enrolment rates, the solution shouldn’t be to make it harder to go to university

    • Stefan 09:10 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      @kevin: what you say has been disproven may be faulty because based on a non-global view. in the united states, student loans have recently become a big business (>$1 trillion in 2011, here), and a lucrative one, since student loans there are not discharged through bankrucpty. therefore one has to also add (or subtract?) the resulting debts to the equation. it seems that there the trend goes (for middle-class families) to start taking out such loans for their children in kindergarten (possible since it is education-related, and often necessary since it is expensive), and they won’t be able to pay by the time they take their pension. i am afraid that is a debt bomb waiting to explode (as the mortgage debt in canada).

    • Kevin 09:28 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      My argument is twofold.
      1) Not everyone is cut out for a university education, and a well-functioning society needs people of all skills. People who are getting BAs in order to become plumbers are, quite frankly, wasting their time and money.

      2) I argue that because tuition is so cheap, higher education is seen as worthless by the average Quebecer. If tuition goes up, maybe people will start to realize that it’s worth the personal investment and sacrifice.

      I also have no objection to pumping up government-backed loans and bursaries — and think there should be very active campaigns for parents to invest (ie. save) for their kid’s future education.

      Simply put, money should not be a barrier, but there’s no doubt that it is a symbol of value, and right now far too many Quebecers do not recognize that value.

    • paul 09:42 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      Well said Kevin.

      @Stefan; I agree that debt is a problem…any less so if it is assumed by the government rather than the individual user? My generation regularly criticizes baby boomers for offloading the real cost of items onto future generations and racking up the debt when it is convenient for them – how hypocritical that when faced with the same option we take the same path.

    • ant6n 09:55 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      yes. Then again, the student hikes don’t noticeably reduce government debt, anyway.

    • Ian 14:37 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      @paul – an educated population is of benefit to future generations, not just the generation that receives it. Not only do we all benefit from a more open-minded, well-informed population that respects intelligence and knowledge if the general level of education is higher, but on average people with post-secondary educations earn more, so they pay more taxes, too.

      @ant6n – I’ve seen the figure 332 million in savings on the part of the government thrown around in 2016-17, once the full hikes are in effect – considering the current provincial government spending figure for 2012-13 Bachand has given is 70.9 billion, that is indeed the merest drop in the bucket. Given how much waste, corruption, and duplication there is in the government’s spending, I can only speculate as to exactly what they hope to gain in alienating an entire generation of Quebec’s educated class.

    • Josh 18:07 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      @Hamza: Love how people keep arguing that the “elites” are the ones opposing the students. Question: Are 60% of Quebecers “elites”? And those upticks in support for the Liberals – they are purely “elites” only finally now coming around to the PLQ as well, huh?

    • Alex L 19:12 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

    • Hamza 03:12 on 2012/04/25 Permalink

      @kevin (and the rest)
      conservative ‘hard talk’ so often sounds good for the second it takes to read but quickly collapses once one thinks about it critically. which ironically is what they happen to teach in those much-maligned arts programs at universities.

      i love the new school of luddites lead by Mr. rick santorum who are anti-education. ‘keep the proles dumb! keep the poor poor!’ you shout.

      yet you all either fall under one of two categories : those who went to university (like mr. santorum, and i’ll take a wild guess, you too kevin), and those who didn’t (couldn’t because of the $$$).

      i.e. hypocrites or ignoramuses. take your pick.

    • Kevin 07:35 on 2012/04/25 Permalink


      You misunderstand me completely, so perhaps next time you should give something more than a quick read.

      Quebec has the lowest tuition and the lowest participation rate in post-secondary education. It is my fondest hope that more people take part.

      Take a look at La Presse today. There’s a wonderful graphic (unfortunately not available online) that shows that at every parental income level (yes, even those who earn less than $25K per year) at least 60% more people in Ontario go to University than in Quebec — even though it easily costs twice as much.

      At which point do we acknowledge that Quebec’s 40-year experiment of low tuition has failed to actually produce an educated population?

      Look, here’s an example. On the weekend I was having dinner with a friend who was wearing a red square. She said she was so poor that there was no way she was going to be able to put her kids through university.
      I asked if she had anything, even $500 a year to put aside to put into an RESP. She said no, impossible, couldn’t do it.
      Today she emailed me wanting to know if I would join her dragonboat team. Fees? $350 for the summer.

      Don’t you think that’s somewhat messed up?

    • Hamza 10:26 on 2012/04/25 Permalink

      @kevin Your friend has differing priorities obviously.

      the numbers : http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/auto/diagramme-chart/stg2/c_5_29_4_1_eng.png?2011032512095669

      ontario has 23.6% of its population with degrees (the highest) , quebec 19%.

      But , not all those degrees were earned in Ontario (or Quebec): http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/auto/diagramme-chart/stg2/c_5_29_6_2_eng.png?20110325120953297

      Ontario also has an edge on us by about 6,000$ per capita GDP .

      • In any case, the argument you are making is that people are too dumb to go to university, or that they are too flaky to organise themselves to go, or they don’t *want* to go.

      Which is , sigh, once again, a symptom of lack of education .

      The only numbers that matter are how many kids who are in high school now want to go to university , and how many of those kids won’t be able to afford it if we went ahead with the 75% increase . It is folly to think that jacking up the price will somehow encourage anybody, rich/poor, to want to go to university , or improve the system by keeping the riff-raff out .

    • Kevin 11:55 on 2012/04/25 Permalink

      It is folly to think that jacking up the price will somehow encourage anybody, rich/poor, to want to go to university
      No, by every metric I’ve ever seen, it’s folly to think that cheap tuition encourages people to go to university. Not only that, it’s an unfair subsidy for the well to do.

      Here are the figures from La Presse:
      Parental income under $25k: 39% go to university in Ontario / 18% Qc
      $25-50: 34%/20%
      $50-75: 43%/28%
      $75-100: 48%/43%
      $100+: 62% / 55%

      4 in 10 kids whose parents earn less than $25,000 per year are going to university in Ontario, where tuition is close to $6,000.

      Don’t try to tell me that people are being priced out of an education when it is obviously not the case.

      The issue is that Quebecers, on average, don’t value getting an education.

      I hope that if the government charges (more) of what an education is worth, people will realize it has value.

    • Hamza 13:16 on 2012/04/25 Permalink

      “Don’t value getting an education”

      ~ is a conservative lie . But anyway, our flame wars will solve nothing. We’ll see what Quebecers say.

    • ant6n 22:14 on 2012/04/25 Permalink

      To what extent plays CEGEP a role in your numbers? Or immigration?

  • Kate 09:22 on 2012/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    OpenFile has some pieces today on Canada’s lack of a federal public transit strategy. At least the Montreal metropolitan community is about to hold some sessions to discuss ways of finding new transit funding.

    • William 11:57 on 2012/04/23 Permalink

      Increasing the number of report writers in Ottawa will not increase the number of buses on Park Avenue, and the gesture would probably just irritate the Government of Quebec.

    • Faiz Imam 16:50 on 2012/04/23 Permalink

      “Increasing the number of report writers in Ottawa will not increase the number of buses on Park Avenue”

      That’s not necessarily true. While many of those reports may be hot air, there IS real money that gets spent based on their conclusions.

      But before we get a Federal public transit strategy we need a National transportation policy not written in Oakville(or Detroit). At a time where its getting more and more expensive to get around this country, Ottawa is starting on the road to gutting our rail system. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/tories-mull-privatizing-via-rail-routes/article2410637/

      The QC-Windsor corridor has a population as dense as any part of europe yet has a rail service that’s been stagnant for 50 years. This has to be a part of any comprehensive transit strategy.

    • William 21:59 on 2012/04/23 Permalink

      Remind me how many reports have been written about building a high-speed train from Quebec City to Windsor?

    • Stefan 02:49 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      the density of the qc-windsor corridor probably equals the density of one of the densest european countries, the netherlands, since one has to consider the areas in between the metro areas, not actually european metro areas (toronto metro area: ~800/km², netherlands: ~400/km², vienna: ~4000/km²).

      so one may be better off to compare with traffic options e.g. in the dutch Randstad area, which covers 7m people between netherlands largest cities and has a density of ~1500/km². it seems to have a top rail network, but still its highways are very congested, even if its circle shape allows shorter connections than a corridor.

      since the qc-windsor corridor is so sprawled, i think a high-speed train service would only work well if it is well connected by a suburban/regional mass transit network (train or dedicated bus lines). most of the travel is from the suburbs to city core, or worse, to some other suburb office area, not downtown toronto – downtown montreal.

      what is needed is a comprehensive transport strategy for such corridors, not necessarily on a national level. canada is too large for realistically considering anything else than flying between its distant population centers. also, interests and culture may be more similar in the east, vs. in the west.

    • Robert J 08:58 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      I got to admit, the VIA rail transcanadian service is not “transportation”. It’s deluxe tourism. I would much prefer that the government operate train and bus service of various kinds in the Quebec-Windsor corridor, where such means of transportation are practical. It’s cheaper to fly than to take the train from Toronto to Vancouver, and I don’t see why VIA needs to be wasting resources on luxury services that are not useful services.

      As far as fast trains are concerned, it would have to be Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto. For all of the smaller communities, there should be local trains, and also public busses funded by VIA.

      Sometimes busses are more practical than trains. I never use VIA to go to Ottawa, because the delays are much greater than the Greyhound bus, and it costs more (slower+more expensive is a bad combination). There would have to be a fast train to make train travel to Ottawa worthwhile.

    • ant6n 10:11 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      “The Canadian” is tourism, not deluxe tourism. Via has great deals, you can sometimes get a sleeping berth+meals for as little as ~500$, Toronto-Vancouver. Naturally it ain’t transportation, but the question is to what extent these few long distance services are subsidised (couldn’t find).

  • Kate 09:16 on 2012/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    A Le Devoir writer ponders the development of Blue Bonnets and whether the city will take up the challenge of creating a real, livable neighbourhood, while coping with the traffic issues that could plague an area so close to the Decarie autoroute.

    • Robert J 13:02 on 2012/04/23 Permalink

      I don’t think you can create a neighborhood from scratch. But either way, I prefer older housing stock, so I won’t end up there…

    • Charles 16:02 on 2012/04/23 Permalink

      I find that Montreal is really bad at designing neighbourhoods or extensions (and I agree with Robert J, you can’t really create a neighborhood from scratch). For example, the development at the Angus yards: it’s copy and paste buildings (I find it really depressing, I don’t how people live there), there’s a huge park on the side instead of integrating smaller parks throughout the neighbourhood, there’s no small commercial space not even for a depanneur, etc. The same thing was done near the Claude-Robillard sports complex, in Petite-Bourgogne, etc. I’m sure housing developers prefer that kind of construction but the city should be more firm on those issues.

    • Kate 05:35 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      I totally agree with you about the Angus infill neighbourhood, Charles. But we used to know how to construct neighbourhoods. Between 90 and 100 years ago streetcars were extended through what’s now Villeray and Rosemont and viable neighbourhoods grew up around the streetcars and beyond.

      The problem with these new 100% residential neighbourhoods that we build now is glaring: they’re suburbs, functionally, meaning if you live there you’re pretty much stuck with driving if you so much as want a newspaper or a litre of milk. The infill neighbourhood built just east of the Old Port is also like this. It’s just condo buildings. Not even a dépanneur, much less the kind of mixture of shops and services you’d get along streets like Wellington, Mont-Royal, Masson. And forget schools, clinics and other social services. Drive, baby, drive.

      Maybe this is naive, but time was the city allowed different owners to construct mixed-use buildings, at least along the main axis streets – zoning controlled the heights of the buildings for some amount of uniformity, but allowing variation. Is that impossible now? Does the city have to hand over whole areas en bloc to single developers, who then build uniform residential buildings and nothing else?

    • Kevin 07:09 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      Griffintown and Bois Franc are examples of new neighbourhoods that suck balls.

      If you aren’t building a mixed-used neighbourhood, you’re being stupid.

    • Charles 08:24 on 2012/04/24 Permalink

      I’m pretty sure the city could design these new neighbourhoods (placement of parks, stores, etc) and give an idea of the permitted building volumes than hand over parts of them to different developers. I’m sure the developers wouldn’t like it since it would cut into their profits. I think the whole thing has more to do with political financing and the annoying tendency to hire private sector people for public sector high level jobs then bad urban design.

  • Kate 09:08 on 2012/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse has got hold of a confidential report alleging that Lachine mayor Claude Dauphin, deposed from his role as executive committee chairman last year, was giving VIP treatment to a “personal friend” although Dauphin maintains he was just trying to encourage the redevelopment of a run-down part of Ville St-Pierre.

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