As a western Canadian who spent the majority of my youth in French school I had a much better appreciation for the French Canadian identity than many of my fellow westerners ever did. I enjoyed the once a year Carnival celebrations where we circled around troughs of ice at the cabane à sucre to get our maple syrup on a stick, ate poutine in the cafeteria all week and listened to luberjack-esque men playing French Canadian folk music. I even argued that it would be quite upsetting to see Quebec separate if ever a referendum produced that consensus from the people. Blame these sentiments partially on the fact that I love history and rich culture; in my mind having this whole other Canadian identity and second language made Canada seem all the more intriguing. I probably even, as a young and naive socialist adolescent who had yet to discover reality, liked the idea of their “hippie” protesting past.

Today, I still appreciate these things to an extent, but I have grown strongly in favour of putting Quebec in its place, and I was likely one of many who rejoiced in the fall of the Bloc Quebecois last federal election. I never understood how a separatist party was ever allowed to participate so significantly (or at all) at the federal level, but it happened, and for far too many years. I have additionally grown to dislike the fact that there is such a hate on for the west, and specifically the west’s economic strength, when that is what largely funds those in the east — it’s like me mocking my employer all day and still expecting to have a job, usually this would be unfathomable.

What really pisses me off though, is the current student protest against the $1625 tuition increase over the next 5-7 years BS that is going on. Quebec already pays some of the lowest tuition in the country, and mostly thanks to the money the west sends them. I realize education is important, and to some degree I do believe it should be more available to anyone who would like to further their education. I however don’t think it should be free, I already know how little kids I went to university with on their parent’s dime cared, I could only imagine what it would be like if the government was picking up the tab. I do agree that post secondary is pretty expensive but it is what it is. Let’s face it, we don’t live in France where we are taxed out the huzzah to offset costs of these big ticket items and at the end of the day, I don’t want to fund some asshole who thinks becoming a professional student is a good career path, especially since the government allowing him to do so affordably enables him to live off the rest of us, who actually work, for eternity.

I wasn’t from a wealthy family and my parents were not able to pay for my education so I did what many do, got loans! Oh my gawd!I think I actually appreciated the whole experience more too as I knew I was responsible for paying back the money I was borrowing and it was a constant reminder of why I needed to do well so I didn’t have to do it again, and double my expenses. On that note, what makes this whole protest even more irritating is that the current tuition rates I have seen range from $2000 to about $4000 a year for Quebec residents. 6 years ago when I started university I paid over $5000 and the increases through my 4 years there ended at my paying just over $7000 a year in 2010. In just 4 years, I saw an increase in well over what the students in Quebec are protesting against and I was already paying more than they pay for their tuition now. Don’t think I ever enjoyed the fact that my tuition increased, or that I didn’t feel some angst, I just see this whole situation in Quebec very disheartening. People who have it good, tend to find more flaws in what they have rather than appreciate it, and that sucks, especially since it is now getting even more out of control than it was in the beginning.

When protests become violent, people get injured and property gets destroyed, you really start to distract people away from what you are really there for. Heck, the fact that you are disturbing the peace and vandalizing the city just increases spending of tax payer dollars that would potentially be helpful for going towards your “outlandish” tuition fees. Seriously, get a fucking grip! Often times youth empathize with youth movements, and in general people with like views will empathize with movements they see demonstrating a fight to express and or protect those similar views they share. This protest however, from what I can see, doesn’t have many youth outside of the group in Quebec who are trying to hold on to their idea of a utopic world supporting them because we live in the real world and we know how much more difficult it is for us with the higher tuition and cost of living out west, but guess what — we managed. It’s even more disgusting that they have the gall to insult fellow students who are choosing to go to school during these protests because they actually care about getting their education.

In my view, for those Quebec students who want to run around half naked sporting body paint and chanting at people you should grab a ticket to Shambalah or some other like festival in the forest. Can greater Canada take a referendum to decide whether or not we want to kick Quebec out? I’d love to see how much tuition would cost them as an independent nation.

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