The government giveth and taketh away again

When the Quebec government made a $1-billion funding promise at the Quebec Youth Summit in February 2000, the student groups invited to participate in the discussions were mildly optimistic that the promise would be kept.
Meanwhile, the youth groups that were left outside the conference centre were downright convinced that Quebec would not pull through.
These days, it looks like the outsiders have won the right to say “I told you so.” The Landry government is hinting that it might be next year or beyond before anyone in the education system catches a glimpse of those billion dollars. It depends on how well the economy is doing, we’re told.
Even though the promise really wasn’t for that much money – the amount was to be paid over three years, split between elementary and secondary schools, CEGEPs and universities – it is never a good time to deprive the funding-starved education system.
Governments should give all young people the tools they need to be successful, even if the economy is only wobbling along.
Student unions across the province should put all the pressure they can muster to get the government to keep it promise. That’s easier said than done, though. In the past, student governments have aligned themselves into different camps: those who want some corporate involvement in education and those who reject it outright. (As it happens, the anti-corporate student groups were told to stay away from the Youth Summit, while the others were invited to discuss inside.)
The previous and current CSU regimes have been clearly to the left of the political spectrum. They have denounced corporate sponsorship in every way, shape or form. The student government even tried to sabotage the companies who wanted to hire Concordia graduates, let alone give the university funding. The CSU and student governments alike have the responsibility to get the government to give us, the students, our money.
Unions like the CSU would not naturally get along (politically, anyway) with a student union that would willingly sign an agreement – jointly with the administration, no less – for a profit sharing deal with a soft drink company.
Student governments, in general, should stop being “pro” or “against” corporate sponsorship because all the groups agree that education funding should not come mainly from outside sources, but it should come from the government. The government collects our tax money and redistributes it accordingly. The students have a voice and have tried to speak out, but unfortunately it has not been heard clearly as of yet.
All student governments in Quebec should band together: French, English, left, right, centre, top, bottom… whatever! They should have one strong united voice to make the government make good on its promise.
The bottom line is that our money is sitting in the Landry room and we need the student governments to band together to go get it.

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