Members of the University of Victoria Students’ Society board of directors

Members of the University of Victoria Students’ Society board of directors

UVic, Camosun students show Solidarité!

Post-secondary students in Greater Victoria support their Quebec counterparts with casserole march

The sound of banging pots and pans is filling the air from coast to coast.

Though thousands of kilometres away, Victorians will “casserole march” in unison with striking Quebec university students and their supporters across the country during a block party in Centennial Square Saturday (June 9).

It will be the second show of solidarity for the eastern ralliers since May 30, when locals, many with pots and pans in hand, marched through downtown Victoria.

More than 155,000 post-secondary students, nearly one-third of the student population in Quebec, have yet to return to class amid escalating tension with government, sparked by the Quebec Liberals’ proposed 75-per-cent tuition increase over the next five years.

Students in B.C. pay nearly double the average post-secondary tuition fees compared to Quebec students – $4,852 versus $2,519 annually, according to Statistics Canada. Despite the disparity, student groups in Victoria have thrown their full support behind the Quebec student resistance.

“The post-secondary system in Quebec really serves as a model for the rest of Canada; it’s a system we can look to,” said Lucia Orser, director of external relations for the University of Victoria Students’ Society. “That’s why we see students mobilizing across Canada – they’re defending the most accessible post-secondary education in North America.”

Quebec students fear their post-secondary education system might turn into something similar to the current B.C. system, which saw tuition freezes lifted in 2002, Orser added.

“The culture in Quebec is so different and very distinct,” said Madeline Keller-MacLeod, external executive for the Camosun College Student Society. “Students in B.C. don’t remember a time when tuition wasn’t extremely expensive.”

Last Monday (May 28), both the UVic and Camosun student societies passed motions of support for Quebec students. The result: Solidarité! a block party in Centennial Square.

The event begins with a pots-and-pans-banging casserole march at 5 p.m. (8 p.m. EST), the same time protesters will take to the streets in Quebec, before leading a party into the square with live music and guest presentations planned.

“It’s a growing movement in support of Quebec, but also to demand affordable education for all,” said Orser, who hopes the Quebec protests may lead to more awareness of post-secondary cuts in B.C.

Government watchdog, the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, strongly opposes the student movement based on the “perpetuation of Quebec’s cycle of entitlement” and the fact that B.C. taxpayers continue to make equalization payments to Quebec, said Jordan Bateman, B.C. representative for the federation.

“There have been so many government waste stories coming out of Quebec in the years that show they might not treat tax dollars as seriously as the rest of Canada,” he said.

“It comes down to the basic premise that if something is free, or you’re not paying for it, you don’t value it in the same way as if you were putting your own dollar on the line. It’s important that students pay a part of their tuition so that they understand there’s value to what they’re getting.”

It’s a debate Keller-MacLeod and Orser are ready to wage with the public during Solidarité!

The party will also be an opportunity to back the Quebec protesters financially, as the groups will be gathering funds to pay for lawyers for Quebec students who are facing criminal charges as a result of their protesting.

“This should be worrisome for anyone in Canada,” Keller-MacLeod said. “All students in Canada should be inspired by Quebec students. They’ve been extremely democratic in how they’ve carried out their strike and they believe in what they want and that it’s worth fighting for. I’d like to see that have an effect on students in B.C.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Days after students’ return to Victoria High School was delayed by a year, the province has announced some amenities that will be included in the school’s expansion project. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Child-care spots, artificial turf field, non-profit space included in Vic High expansion

SD61 now aims to welcome students back at the high school by September 2023

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read