We, the students of the Cultural Studies and Critical Theory (CSCT) graduate program at McMaster University, stand in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Quebec students currently on strike against the neoliberal assault on post-secondary education in their province. The proposed 75% increase to Quebec tuition fees is the most the most recent and egregious example of the larger project to dismantle the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education across Canada.
We also stand firmly against the further commercialization of education, which the Quebec government has erroneously pushed as the education sector’s financial solution. Quebec students have pointed out that the proposed intensification of research commercialization – which is expected to add $36 million to the province’s university budget – will further subject university research to the demands and priorities of the market. The consequences of such policy has already begun to be felt in Ontario universities.
These tuition increases and related attacks on Canada’s students of public higher education institutions, nowhere more so than in Quebec, nurture a culture of debt that is further disenfranchising students in a society readily dismantling its public social support apparatuses in favour of privatized solutions. This kills the dreams that have made Canada’s universities some of the most forward-thinking and progressive in the world – the pursuit of social justice education, the dissemination of democratic knowledge, and positive change in the larger community unimpeded by the chokehold of private, corporate interests. These changes to the face of higher education in Canada are nothing short of undemocratic, anti-student, and anti-education.