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THE LEN LESSER REPORT  

THE LEN LESSER REPORT

 

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QUEBEC SPRING

Here is my take on why tens of thousands of university students in Quebec have taken to the streets to protest for the past three months. Canadians have deemed it proper to educate young people to ask why and voice their opinions in our schools of higher learning.

We can look back at the settlers in America that protested the British imposition of a tea tax with the settlers throwing the tea into Boston harbour telling the Governor that: "here is no taxation without representation."The powers in London England did not listen to the complaints and as a result lost their hold on the colonies.

President Johnson did not listen to the cries of tens of thousands of American youth who yelled: Hell no we wonít go" to fight in Vietnam." Public outrage of the death of thousands of young soldiers resulted in American withdrawal and Johnson not running for a second term.

The world has changed in the last year with the "Arab Spring" causing the downfall of leaders who had ruled for decades in Egypt , Tunisia & Libya. The social media used by youth has made it possible to receive information at a click of a mouse. People have yearned to have their voices heard to bring forth meaningful change in their society.

Canada is an open society without the historic constraints of despots in who ruled with an iron fist. Quebec students have had the advantage of being able to attend university with some of the lowest cost of their schooling. Compare the cost of $2,516 per academic year to Western at over $5,000. The government was only asking for $1,625 increase by the year 2016.

Premier Charestís mistake was not to take the time to dialogue with the student leaders to get their input into raising tuition fees. I realize that governments are having a hard time with rising costs and decreased incomes to find the critical balance.

Students leaders should have been part of the process at the start of having to make hard decisions of having to cut the cost of their education by increasing class size or other means to help fund their education or increase tuition fees.

After thousands of students went to the streets to protest Charest decided to implement legislation to prohibit the freedom of peaceful assembly. The police could only stand-bye and watch as the parade of students who broke the law of assembly.

As a counsellor of students for many years I have learned that young people want to have a voice/opinion. When you deny them their right they will opt to show you their displeasure with their feet either by walking away or taking to the streets to protest beating their drums to be heard.

Premier Charest, will have to have his Minister of Education sit down with the student leaders to find a compromise to end the protests.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com