Another win for Legault as Bill 21 is upheld

The Court of Appeal of Quebec upheld Bill 21 as it “does not offend Canada’s constitutional architecture” according to the Court.

Nestled in the picturesque Maurice region of Quebec, rolling hills and farm fields surround the little town of Hérouxville, Quebec. In 2007, the town of around 1,300 inhabitants sparked the ongoing debate of “laiïctié” or secularism in Quebec. 

On Jan. 25, 2007, the town adopted a code of conduct that would prepare immigrants for life in Hérouxville, Quebec. The code named “Les normes de vie de la municipalité Hérouxville” (standards of living for residents of Hérouxville) was quick to gain attention from around the world for being steeped in islamophobia. Although the code did not overtly single out Muslims, the language used was very pointed. 

After the code was harshly dragged through international news casting Québec in a poor light, the Premier at the time, Jean Charest, launched the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Reasonable Accommodation in Quebec. Released in 2008, the Bouchard-Taylor commission found that the wearing of religious signs should be prohibited in the performance of duties that ‘embody the State and its necessary neutrality. In the commission it states that police officers, Crown prosecutors and presidents of the National Assembly of Québec are prohibited from wearing religious symbols but that teachers, public servants and other government employees should be allowed to do so.

Now 17 years later, Québec has garnered the same negative light as it did back in 2007.

On Thursday, Feb. 29, the Quebec’s Court of Appeal upheld Bill 21. This decision means that the court supports the secularism law and found that the Act “does not offend Canada’s constitutional architecture or the unwritten principles of the Constitution, nor does it offend any pre‑Confederation statute or principle having constitutional status.” 

Bill 21 prohibits school teachers, principals, or any public workers in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols. 

First announced in 2019 the bill was unusual in its preemptive use of the notwithstanding clause. The clause gives parliaments in Canada the power to override portions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when passing legislation. Because Québec used the clause before the bill was even challenged it raised brows to the fact that they knew it was going to be contested by the groups that it limits.

Dr. Saul Carliner, Chair of the Department of Education at Concordia said that this bill is unnecessary and limiting a province already struggling with finding enough teachers. “We also have to live with one another, and one of the beauties of diversity is […] it’s a lot easier to be tolerant of other people when there’s someone you come in contact with everyday.” 

Carliner grew up during the Martin Luther King Riots in the United States. During this time, the schools utilized forced–busing, which meant they would bus kids in from afar to achieve a more diverse population. He attributes his understanding of justice and the situation at the time to his classmates that came from racialized communities. 

“If you’re gonna live in any major or even intermediate sized city in Canada or really even the world, they are very diverse places,” said Carliner. “Imagine you’re a kid who’s from a visible minority and all of your teachers are not. It’s like, where do I fit in here?”

We reached out to the sponsor of Bill 21, Member of the National Assembly Simon Jolin-Barrette to hear his take on the Court’s decisions. Unfortunately, an interview was not possible but he did offer to answer questions via email. 

“In effect, Bill 21 allows all religions to coexist in society with one another peacefully and in an equal manner,” said Jolin-Barrette’s office. 

He continued to say “The bill on state secularism does not aim in any way to alienate religious minorities or to protect people of Christian faith. On the contrary, it is a vector of rights and equality.” 

As for the status of Bill 21, currently there is a high likelihood that it will be passed up to the Supreme Court of Canada where it could potentially be knocked down.


Concordia takes Quebec Attorney General to court over tuition hikes

Quebec government challenged over tuition hikes for out-of-province and international students.

On Feb. 23, Concordia applied for judicial review by the Superior Court of Quebec over tuition hikes for out-of-province and international students. The university feels it has “no choice but to pursue a just outcome through legal action,” according to a message by Concordia President Graham Carr. 

In the application, Concordia highlighted the main issues with the proposed tuition increases; they contradict the responsibilities of the Minister of Higher Education, they disregard the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by restricting mobility rights of Canadians, and they could worsen the Quebec university system’s pre-existing funding problems.

The application also lays out a clear timeline of events, including key communications between Minister Déry or subsequent representatives of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government and Concordia concerning tuition fee structure. 

Beginning in and around April 2023, the CAQ started to probe and question Quebec’s English-language universities about their out-of-province students. According to the application, Minister Déry said that “non-resident students at English-language universities were not staying in Québec, that the government’s funding policy on non-resident students gave an advantage to English-language universities.” (Lawsuit, 180)

Discussions like the one in April were followed up continuously throughout the year until the announcement of tuition hikes for out-of-province and international students to the universities on Oct. 10. This was just three days before they were formally announced to the public in a press conference held by Déry and the Minister of the French Language, Jean-François Roberge.

Throughout months of discussions with Déry, the Québec government never provided data to back up their claims that out-of-province and international students contributed to the decline of French in Montreal.

Concordia’s lawsuit argues that the Québec government has disregarded many norms of practice, responsibilities and legally binding documents.

Déry only notified CCAFE that the government was seeking advice on the tuition fees for out-of-province and international students on Dec. 14, 2023. As the Minister of Higher Education, Déry has a responsibility to consult with the Advisory Committee on Financial Accessibility of Education (CCAFE) before implementing changes to tuition fees per Section 88 of the “Act Respecting the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie.” English-language educational institutions are not represented in this committee.

CCAFE responded on Jan. 19, 2024, that there was a lack of data provided by the Minister, that tuition fees for out-of-province students in Quebec was already higher than in other provinces, that universities would take on the loss of revenue due to the new grant structure, and that the tuition structure would “create significant financial barriers for students.” (Lawsuit, 180)

The application also claims the decision will restrict the mobility rights of Canadians since the new tuition structure would contradict Section 6.(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which states that “every citizen of Canada […] has the right […] to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.” The Charter indicates that this includes discriminating against a person based on their province of present or previous residence. 

In the application, Concordia also brought up sections on equality rights as well as minority language rights as the new tuition would limit the freedoms of out-of-province students as well as disproportionately affect the English-language post-secondary institutions of Québec.

It remains to be seen if the CAQ will use the notwithstanding clause to shield the tuition increases from the scrutiny of the Charter. The CAQ has previously used this clause to defend Bill 21 as well as Bill 96 in the bill’s expansion of the investigative powers of the Office Québécois de la Langue Française (OQLF).


What does it mean to decolonize Concordia’s pedagogy?

As Concordia seeks to Indigenize its pedagogy, some loud voices push back on Concordia’s innovation.

On Sept. 8, 2023, Concordia announced the launch of a five-year plan to decolonize and Indigenize the university’s curriculum and pedagogy. This comes three years after the Indigenous Action Plan was first published in 2019. Since then, the action plan continues to evolve and reshape Concordia’s approach to the Indigenous community. 

The five-year plan, however, has faced criticisms from an opinion piece written on Feb.12 by a known associate of Jeffery Epstein, speculating that with this plan Concordia is “a place to avoid if you’re hoping for a serious education.” Some Concordia tenured professors also bashed the plan on Twitter/X, while controversial figures such as Jordan Peterson ranted about their opinions on their social media platforms. 

Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf, director of decolonizing curriculum and pedagogy at Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) hopes that this five-year plan will make a strong impact on the next generation of students and be an example for other higher education institutions.

“I don’t want my nieces or nephews to go into higher education and still not see themselves being validated in the curriculum at a university level,” Goodleaf said. 

“So we have a collective responsibility together as educators to make sure that we don’t make the mistakes that have occurred in past history with regards to the history of residential schools, for example.”

For Goodleaf, Indigenizing pedagogy means “incorporating our diverse theoretical perspectives in a respectful and meaningful way.” It also means to have faculty attempt to include the diverse Indigenous knowledge in their course outlines. Programs at the university are encouraged to come to the CTL and work with Goodleaf to reevaluate their pedagogy in order to find ways to incorporate Indigenous knowledge in it. 

Some programs that are currently undergoing such revisions are engineering and communications. Both have started working with Goodleaf on the decolonization process in their respective programs.

Monika Gagnon, a full-time professor of 25 years and former chair of the communications department, said that the process has been ongoing since her time as chair in 2020. Gagnon worked with Goodleaf and the communications department to see in which courses they can incorporate indigenous views, voices, and histories in their outlines. Decolonizing the curriculum will also expose students to the truth about Canada’s history. 

“I feel like we’re hearing something very different from our upcoming generations of students that are wanting to learn the truth of our own histories and relationship to indigenous colonial histories that we have,” she said.

The department took aspects from Concordia’s Action Plan as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commision of Canada: Calls to Action, the latter’s focus being Call to Action #86, which calls upon journalism and media schools to educate students on the history of Indigenous peoples.  

Sandra Gabriele, vice-provost of Innovation in Teaching & Learning, agrees with Goodleaf that disciplines should not be static in the way that they address world events. With this belief in mind, Gabriele believes that changes to the curriculum and new approaches to world views are crucial. 

“What the university experience should be offering its students is this exposure to a variety of different kinds of ideas and different world views and different ways of understanding a particular problem,” she said. 

With Concordia wanting to be the next-generation university, Gabriele feels that by continuing to use traditional Western views in the curriculum, students and the university as a whole won’t grow. The Indigenous Action Plan and the five-year plan continue to make consistent efforts in promoting the university’s educational growth and celebrate the Indigenous community within the university. However, there’s still work that needs to be done to ensure Concordia commits to their mission. Goodleaf and Gabriele will not allow any critics’s opinions and views to hinder their work, instead they’re focussing on the positive effects they’re bringing to the university.

“Whenever something is good, of course you’re going to experience resistance no matter what that is. The key here is to not let that keep you stuck in that, but to move above it and to move forward and be better than what’s out there,” Goodleaf said.

“Because for me this work is so important, it’s about creating a society where we can peacefully coexist with each other as humans and with the natural world. That’s the philosophy of this work. That’s the vision of why I do this work here at Concordia.”

In addition to the help and guidance offered by Goodleaf and the CTL, there are also other in-depth resources for students and faculty. Check out the links below to familiarize yourself with the Indigenous community!


Get to the Indigenous staff:

Indigenous Directions:

Ostenhàka Student Centre:

Kaié:ri Nikawerà:ke Indigenous Bridging Program:

Indigenous Directions Leadership Council (IDLC):

Pîkiskwêtân Learning Series:


How would less international students affect Concordia’s student associations?

With international students under attack by tuition increases, international student associations have mixed reactions.

International students have long been an integral part of the academic appeal of Concordia, contributing not only to the university’s global outlook but also to the local economy. 

International student associations, such as the African Student Association of Concordia (ASAC) and the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), are key organizations representing the interests of students from around the world. Through outreach initiatives, support networks, and collaborative efforts with university administrations, the associations seek to empower their members and amplify their voices. 

Iman Kande, the communications executive for ASAC, said: “We try with the resources that we have […] to make people’s voices heard.” Kande said that since ASAC is not an official group, it is difficult for them to help students in every capacity. However, if someone comes to them with a problem, they will be able to point them in the right direction.

According to Kande, ASAC sees a lot of African students approaching the association and encourages others to come to their events even if they are not African themselves. 

“It’s our way to spread our culture, […] we were taught that a stranger becomes family and that’s kind of our goal,” Kande said. 

With approximately 11,000 students coming from outside of Canada, Concordia has a lot of international students, many of which contribute to their respective international student groups. Now with the implementation of the tuition increases for international students, many are wondering how international student groups will survive?

“In terms of social media, in September we had 1,900 followers and today we have 2,400, in the span of like 6-7 months,” Kande said.”For example, when we host events, there’s more people than there were last year and every year, it just grows and grows.” 

She attributes the growth of the association to the exposure that international students are receiving due to the tuition increases. 

There still is a large negative aspect to the tuition increases for international students. Mathieu Gonzales, president of LASO, said: “It’s scary to know that maybe LASO was going to cease to exist further down the line, or it’s not going to be as important as it is now.” 

“I do know certain people that are still debating whether or not it’s the right decision for them,” he added. Gonzales mentioned that members of LASO know that loved ones back home are looking more into options like the U.S. for their education “now that the tuition is going to increase” in Canada.  

Gonzales said that it is difficult for people to afford to come to Canada to study since the cost of living is so high. Adding higher tuition on top of that would be a huge barrier for a lot of students coming from Latin America. 

But with Concordia’s other student associations striking and picketing classrooms against tuition increases, some international students have felt ostracized from their in-province peers who pay a lot less per class. 

International student associations like ASAC and LASO want to see more international student groups included in the discussions surrounding striking. 

“It would have been nice to be included in that because it affects international students especially. So obviously, if they wanted to have a better result with the strike, it would have been smart for them to contact us,” Gonzales said. 

Gonzales stressed that if students were part of the strikes, the associations cannot help them if they got into any trouble: “LASO cannot be responsible or can’t protect anyone, even if it’s the good cause.”

Kande from ASAC also wished the strike organizers had reached out to international student groups such as theirs.  “If our voices were more heard, I think more impacts would or could have been made,” Kande continued.  

Kande said that individually, ASAC supports the movement against the tuition fee increases, but ASAC has not adopted the stance officially. With more strikes set to happen in March, and Concordia taking the Quebec government to the Superior Court, international students will be paying attention. The next strike dates are March 11 to the 15.


Breaking: Concordia files lawsuit against the Government of Quebec

Concordia and McGill file lawsuits for the Quebec Government’s implementation of damaging tuition increases for out-of-province students.

Concordia University is taking on the Attorney General of Quebec in the Superior Court over the tuition increases for international and out-of-province students. 

On Feb. 23, Concordia University filed a lawsuit where it aims to “quash the decision of the Minister of Higher Education” to significantly raise tuition rates of students living outside Quebec, regulate tuition fees of international students and require francization of non-resident students

In the 47-page lawsuit, Concordia calls out Pascale Déry, the Minister of Higher Education of Quebec, for basing the “decision on stereotypes and false assumptions about the English-speaking community of Québec and its institutions.” 

The lawsuit also calls out the “underlying mobility rights of Canadians,” according to Michael N. Bergman, the lawyer for the Task Force on Linguistic Policy.

“All Canadians are equal. All Canadians have mobility rights, meaning all Canadians can travel without restriction,” Bergman said. 

Limiting mobility rights directly goes against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. According to the lawsuit, the tuition increase directly “engages the [Charter] values underlying equality rights, in particular, as they relate to discrimination based on language.”

Bergman believes that Concordia has “a very reasonable chance in succeeding in their lawsuit.” Since this directly contradicts the Charter, they have a strong case but the results of which remain to be seen.

As it currently stands, McGill University is asking for an immediate injunction, which is a court order to suspend the tuition increases. If the injunction is granted, the tuition increases will be lifted until further examination through the courts, Bergman said.

Along with Concordia, McGill also filed a lawsuit against the Quebec Government for their tuition increase for students living outside of Quebec. 

More to come on this developing story.


  • In a previous version of this article, in the second to last paragraph “As it currently stands, Concordia is asking for an immediate injunction, which is a court order to suspend the tuition increases,” we indicated that Concordia asked for an injunction. This is not correct. McGill is the university asking for an injunction. We acknowledge the mistake and apologize to our readers.

Concordia is on strike, but what do international students think?

International students speak up on the tuition hike, current strike, and their concern for what’s to come.

Nearly 11 thousand of Concordia’s students went on strike last week to protest the government’s increase of tuition costs for out-of-province and international students, but the decision to picket classrooms left some international students feeling left out of the discussion.

Last October, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) announced that it would be raising tuition for out-of-province and international students. After back and forth between the universities and the tabling of a petition with over 33,000 signatures, the CAQ lowered the proposed tuition increase for out-of-province students from $17,000 to $12,000. Yet, the decision to maintain the doubling of tuition for international students remains firm. Further, 80 per cent of students from outside Quebec must achieve Level 5 French by the time they graduate. 

Thirteen student associations from Concordia picketed the entrance to classes from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.. The three-day strike polarized the student body, with some students  remaining unaware that their Member Associations (MA) even had a General Assembly (GA) to decide on striking and picketing terms. 

Stikes get voted on by the MAs for specific programs during their GAs. At these GAs, there is a minimum threshold of members, called a quorum, that is required to be present in order to pass motions. For example, the Political Science Student Association’s Constitution states: “Quorum is twenty-five (25) or 1.5 per cent of members, whichever is higher.” 

“As much as I agree with what the strike stands for, I can’t give myself the luxury to not go to class,” said Catalina Abello, a third-year international student from Colombia. “For me, one lecture costs almost $300.” 

For full-time international students such as Abello, , this winter semester amounted to $11,000, and for international students in JMSB, up to $14,000. This means that while, at the moment, average yearly tuition is between $20,000 to $30,000, it is estimated to rise up to roughly $60,000 under the new policy. 

According to several announcements by Concordia, the tuition hikes will not affect current students, but it will affect any student applying for fall 2024 or any student who switches majors or minors, “I´ve fallen in love with Montreal, I’m almost fluent in my French, and I was really looking forward to doing a graduate degree [in Montreal], but now I’m not sure what I’m gonna do,” said Abello. 

Another international student, who wishes to remain anonymous, emphasized the importance of solidarity and dialogue in addressing the underlying issues driving the strike.

“I just find it ironic,” they said. “I completely agree that the rise in tuition is devastating and students have the right to speak up, but no one is putting into consideration my opinion as an international student.” 

They suggested that for something this concerning, protesting outside of the university would’ve gotten more attention from the government. “Striking wouldn’t be my choice of action because I’m losing all that money that I’m fighting for at the end of the day,” they said. 

Vannina Maestracci, Concordia’s official spokesperson, gave the The Concordian the following statement when asked about the strike: 

“While we respect the freedom of students to peacefully protest and to express their views, we made clear before and during the strike that students who wanted to attend class should be able to do so.”

Maestracci showed her concerns about how this will affect the university. “We were saddened that the strike took place in our buildings, affecting the university, which has not made the decisions regarding tuition fees that were being protested but, instead, has clearly stated throughout the fall its disapproval of the tuition measures and has worked, and continues to work, hard to reverse them,” she said.

Despite the efforts, on Feb.2, the government announced that the tuition hike is still going forward. As the situation develops, the international student community in Concordia will be closely watching the impact of the strike and the ongoing discussions surrounding the laws proposed by Premier François Legault. The outcome will not only affect these students’ immediate academic futures, but it may also impact future immigrants arriving in Montreal in hopes of receiving better education. 

The next strike being planned by ASFA against the tuition hikes will be a five-day strike taking place from March 11 to 15.


Concordia University Press hosts the best of the best in Book, Jacket, and Journal design show

The Concordia University Press wins three spots in the AUPresses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what the AUPresses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show is all about. 

With three books winning a spot in this year’s show, Concordia was eager to host the final stop in this year’s show. All 83 of the best designed book and journal jackets and covers from university presses around the world were on display at Concordia’s 4th Space on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Alongside all selected winners on display, the Concordia University Press was also excited to host a panel with award-winning designers, Sébastien Aubin and David Leblanc, designers in cover design and typography respectively.

“It was terrific that we could host the show at the same time that we had three mentions in the same year,” said Ryan Van Huijstee, the acquisitions editor at the Concordia University Press. Van Huijstee has dreamt of hosting the show for more than a decade now. Having worked in scholarly publishing for 17 years, he really wanted to show off the great work that the industry does. As a traveling show, the AUPresses design show makes stops at various member institutions all around the world, this year Concordia was lucky enough to host.

As a relatively new press, launched in 2016, it meant a lot to Van Huijstee that the Concordia University Press had three mentions in this year’s best book jackets and covers out of 83 of the almost 14,600 published works annually. 

With the new press “still trying to find [their] place within the larger industry,” Van Huijstee explained what they will focus on going forward: playing to the strengths of the institution it resides in, with a strong commitment to visual arts and social sciences.“I think that was very clear from the beginning when it was founded by Jeffery Little and our colleague Meredith Carruthers. They were very keen to ensure that the press had a distinct visual style” said Van Huijstee. 

One book from the press that ties in both elements of the press’ ethos is Canada’s Place Names & How to Change Them by Lauren Beck. Beck’s book won the best cover design award with Sébastian Aubin and his studio, OTAMI-ᐅᑕᒥ’s, interpretation of two 17th century maps that are referenced in the book. 

Original map of Wendake drawn by Jesuits in 1631, which inspired Aubin’s interpretation for Beck’s book cover. Archive from Library of Congress

In this interpretation Aubin and his team flipped the map of Wendake drawn by Jesuits in 1631, Description du pais des Hurons, originally detailed by Jean de Brébeuf and altered the colors with the purple representing wampum beads. Its simplicity and electric use of color were noted by the jurors. 

Along with the Concordia University Press’s commitment to visual arts, they also were founded on the commitment to being open access. Most other corporate or university presses are built around making as much profit as possible. However, Concordia University Press is “making an important contribution to our own history where it wouldn’t be necessarily served by a larger publisher,” according to Van Huijstee. As Concordia’s press is the second university press founded on open access following Athabasca University in Alberta, they are setting an example for others to follow.


Concordia’s Ski & Snowboard Club is ready for their upcoming season

The club doesn’t have to ask icely if you want to come skiing.

With ski hills already open, Concordia’s Ski & Snowboard Club (CSSC) is ready for another exciting winter season of hitting the slopes.

Kicking off their 2023-24 season on Nov. 30 with a Reggie’s bar night, CSSC will be going on their first ski trip on Dec. 3 to Mont-Tremblant.

The club has about 2,000 members and welcomes all levels of skills, from beginner to advanced. Day trips, weekenders, and bar nights are some of the ways to socialize with peers in the club.

CSSC also boasts major sponsorships from the likes of RedBull and Burton, among other smaller apparel sponsors from Montreal. Members have access to discounts up to 25 per cent at Burton on a wide variety of gear.

For CSSC president Ajay Weinstein, giving more to members is his main goal for acquiring sponsorships. “Skiing is a ridiculously expensive sport,” he said but the club’s main goal is to make the sport a little more accessible.

The CSSC works with brands, mountains, and resorts to make it possible for students to participate at a lower cost. Day trips with bus and lift tickets cost between $80 to $100, and weekenders around $350—with everything such as lodging included. Trips can vary between 100 to 160 skiers, who leave from SGW campus at 6 a.m. to get first tracks. 

Weinstein also suggested students check out Poubelle de Ski on Saint Laurent for cheap seasonal ski rentals. It comes out to around $200 for a whole season, with skis and boots. 

The club’s skill inclusivity is the one thing that Weinstein is “most proud of.”  With about half of the participants just starting out in skiing and snowboarding, CSSC has been excelling in getting people into these sports.

If there is one trip that you shouldn’t miss out on, according to Weinstien, it’s the Jay Peak weekender. Three days of skiing and partying, plus a whole rented-out water park, in Jay Peak at the end of the season is sure to be remarkable..

The CSSC also has an active Discord channel for members to share information, connect,make friends and even carpool in case of if they missed the bus to a venue. If you were looking for updates they post most of their news through their Instagram for members to follow trip ticket drops and news about what is going on in the club. 

With 13 ski trips planned for their 2023-24 season, the CSSC has their hands full. With 11 day trips and 2 weekend trips, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Check out their website for trip calendars, and to get tickets for upcoming trips. 


Concordia student associations move to strike against tuition increases

Mobilization against tuition hikes continues with multiple student groups moving to strike on Nov. 30. 

The Geography Undergraduate Student Society (GUSS) moved in unanimous support to block access to classrooms in accordance with a “hard picket” on Friday, Nov. 30 against the tuition hikes for out-of-province and international students.

Another student protest is set to happen on the corner of De Maisonneuve and McKay at 12 p.m. on Nov. 30. The movement is currently supported by the CSU, ASFA and the McGill student associations.

The tuition hikes will raise tuition for out-of-province students from around $9,000 to $17,000. For international students, the government will charge universities $20,000 per international student outside of France and Belgium. Concordia has now started a page for FAQs and the implications of the tuition changes

In a general meeting open to all members of the geography undergraduate program on Nov. 17, GUSS moved to block the entrances of geography classes on Nov. 30 as an action of hard picketing. They will be accompanied by a number of other student associations including the Fine Arts Student Association (FASA), the Urban Planning Association (UPA) and the School of Community and Public Affairs Student Association (SCPSA) among other MAs in defiance against tuition hikes. 

“I found a program here that I really like, and I’ve found a community and a city I really like,” said Max Neumann, a student on the GUSS mobilization committee.

Neumann is from British Columbia and was looking to pursue a masters degree in Quebec, but will not be able to because of the tuition increases. She said that Concordia’s opportunities for geography students are unique to the university and that many students will be pushed into programs in Ontario because of the tuition hikes.

Some students have expressed concern with what they will potentially lose out on by not attending the classes that they paid to attend, but GUSS is lobbying to make sure that the effects of the hike on the students will not be detrimental. 

Jackson Esworthy, a GUSS executive, said that a lot of the faculty informally supports student action against tuition hikes since this will affect the faculty and Concordia will see cutbacks in funding. They have not seen information from Concordia on which will be the most impacted programs nor any specific reports per program. 

Students have a long history of successful student strikes in the province of Quebec. Esworhty added that GUSS was one of the first student associations in the province to lead the strike against the increased tuition. “That [strike] started at Concordia on the MA level,” Esworthy said about the 2012 “Red Squares” strike against the increase of tuition. 

In 2012, students across Quebec mobilized against tuition increases posed by Jean Charest’s Liberal Party at the time to increase tuition by $325 every year from 2012 to 2017. Thousands of students across Quebec took to the streets to participate in the longest general unlimited strike in Canadian history. 

As for the current tuition increases, weekly meetings are held with Concordia’s student groups as well as groups from other universities across Montreal including McGill and UQAM to maintain a front of solidarity and to work together to hold student strikes.

UQAM’s ASFA equivalent, Association Facultaire Étudiante des Sciences Humaines de l’UQAM (AFESH), told The Concordian that they “offer solidarity to student associations of English universities,” but offered no comment about whether they were participating in the strikes on Nov. 30.

The strikes on Nov. 30 will not be the last. The ASFA is moving to host a three-day strike from Wednesday, Jan. 31 to Friday, Feb. 2. 


Punk’s not dead even if it’s underground

 From down under to right here in Montreal, punk music is far from dead. 

Music blared into the old concert hall, black denim-clad fans shouted back at the stage and the mosh pit was going wild right in the center of it all. Amidst the chaos in the pit, someone passed out on the floor and everyone backed away in an instant. She got up after a few seconds and went right back into the mosh. That was a perfect example of who made up the largely misrepresented punk community: they were there to have a good time and make sure you were too, no matter who you were.

A blend of young and old came together for the three-set show earlier in October with The Schizophonics, Cosmic Psychos and the headlining Chats. With crowd surfing right at the first opener, this was one of the best concerts Daniel Racette had ever been to. Surpassing The Weekend, The Pharcyde, Travis Scott and Lil Yachty, Racette said The Chats had the best energy out of any concert he’d ever been to.

The punk scene currently has a huge age gap, with the older generation still in it from the beginnings of punk to the newer 18-25 age range. Punk’s popularity has seemingly skipped a generation and now is gaining huge popularity in the younger age group. 

With anti-establishment hues and inclusivity at the top of the order, the community is diverse. Different characters from all sorts of backgrounds are all united by punk.

I have wanted to see The Chats ever since I had Australian guests staying over at my house a little while back. They had put me on to The Chats and ever since then, it has been a deep dive into Australian punk. From The Chats and Amyl and the Sniffers to Private Function, Australia boasts one of the world’s most thriving hotbeds for punk rock. 

Whether it’s the heat or the remnants of Britain’s castaway disorderlies, Australian punk is on the rise. The Chats are the biggest success from down under, releasing their first album in 2016 and then exploding onto the big stage in 2017 with their Get This In Ya album song “Smoko.” 

Right here in Canada, we also have a thriving punk scene playing in small underground shows. Montreal’s home for punk is Traxide, formerly known as Fattal. Located in the St-Henri borough, punk bands from all over North America come to play in the two-story venue. But the exact location is only given when you ask a punk.

The Canadian punk community gathers mainly on Facebook through the Punk Canada page to discuss upcoming shows and bands. There, they also share new Canadian punk bands like Autonomous Apes, Television Supervision or Sonic Souvenir. 
To hear more Canadian punk, check out the Blackmarket playlist New Punk From Canada, a compilation of punk from Canadian bands, all released in 2023.


Tuition increases loom over English Universities; Legault stands firm

English universities struggle to see what their future will be without diversity in registration.

Montreal is the diversity hub of Quebec, and the provincial government’s latest blow to its universities has led to uproar from all sides of the city.

“It feels terrible. Very like… have your cake and eat it too,” said Dyan Solomon, renowned restaurant owner in Montreal and once out-of-province student, on the topic of the tuition increases set by the government of Quebec. 

On Oct. 13, the Quebec government implemented measures beginning at the start of the next fall term to “rebalance” the university network in Quebec and protect the French language. To do so, the Quebec government will be increasing tuition for out-of-province students from $9,000 to $17,000 and charging universities $20,000 for every international student. This move would make Quebec universities the most expensive in Canada for out-of-province students.

Students who are currently enrolled in an English university in Quebec will be grandfathered in at their current tuition rate. 

“I’ve been paraded around a lot by the Quebec media,” she added. “It’s very charming, the anglophone who learned how to speak French.” Her overall experience with  francophone Quebec media has been positive, but she questions why she is being used for tourism in Montreal while supposedly being a threat to the culture.

Graphics by Carleen Loney / The Concordian

Solomon hails from Kingston, Ontario. She moved to Montreal to study English literature at McGill. Now, Solomon has gone on to open up three renowned restaurants; Olive & Gourmando, Un Po’ Di Più, and Foxy. She employs over 100 people and is a massive contributor to the culinary culture of Montreal. Her cafe/restaurant Olive & Gourmando was the first business to breathe life back into Montreal’s Old Port. So, being described as a threat to the French language did not sit right with her. 

She also spoke about many of her colleagues in the restaurant industry who have come from away and forged a life here in Quebec navigating the difficult life of entrepreneurship here as an Anglophone.

Since the tuition hikes were announced, she has been using her platform as an influential Montrealer on Instagram to share her story as a former out-of-province student. She quickly accumulated a lot of responses from other remarkable Montrealers who have come from away and decided to gouge out a life in Quebec. 

Being here during the referendum of 1997, Solomon felt the high  expectation of learning French as an out-of-province student in the 90s. “When you came here you had the responsibility to speak French,” she said. “This is what you do–get with the program.” 

Students who are currently enrolled in an English university in Quebec will be grandfathered in at their current tuition rate. 

In a press conference, Jean François-Roberge, minister of the French language, and Pascale Déry, higher education minister, presented the new tuition framework as a way to promote the French language in Montreal as well as redistribute funds in the under-funded Quebec university system. 

When asked if there is too much English being spoken on the streets of Montreal, Jean François-Roberge said: “Of course.” This has sent Quebec’s three English universities, McGill, Concordia and Bishops, into a frenzy, as they account for the largest population of students from outside of Quebec.

In the same press conference Pascale Déry stated that they are looking to “put an end to funding Canadians” by introducing this tarification model. She said that most of these students leave after their studies, and asked why the Quebec tax payer should foot the more than $110 million a year bill for these students. This number has yet to be proven in documents from the government.

Bishops University, with a student population of just 2,500 students, 30 per cent of which are out-of-province and 15 per cent international, will feel the biggest impact of the tuition increase. This new framework threatens to force the closure of the small liberal arts college in the Eastern Townships. 

As an out-of-province student from Alberta, Bishops’ student body president Sofia Stacey believes the measure will make out-of-province students feel unwelcome in Quebec. “Students are fearful, stressed, frustrated, but most of all angry, because they feel that they’ve been told whether they won’t be affected or not, that they don’t belong here,” she said and continued by saying that maybe there just isn’t a place for them in Quebec anyways. 

Stacey fear the news of the proposed tuition hikes will steer incoming students away from Quebec. “That’s heartbreaking for those who have contributed, not just to the economy, but to Quebec society and the culture,” she added. 

On Nov. 6, Quebec Premier Francois Legault refused a historic proposal put forth by English universities to significantly increase their French language education for students. This proposal included plans to help out-of-province students integrate into the French job market after they graduate.

After the announcement of the measure in October, Concordia University spokesperson Vannina Maestracci said in an interview that Concordia was not consulted on the new framework, but was notified two days before the announcement. 

She added that Concordia was looking into what the total effects of the tuition increase will be on smaller programs like creative arts with a large affected population of almost 50 per cent of out-of-province students. 

Graham Carr, president of Concordia University, shared the financial ramifications of the new framework in a letter to the Concordia community. With the added effects of the tuition increases on out-of-province and international students, the university will see a $62 million loss in four years, when the grandfathered tuition wears out. 

Quebec Liberal education critic Marwah Rizqy has been the loudest MNA against the tuition hikes and said Minister Dery needs to “find some common sense” when it comes to the new tuition increases. 

Many out-of-province students come here to learn French and experience the vast and diverse cultures of Montreal. Concordia student Semira Kosciuk from Toronto said she came here for the “culture and for the opportunity to learn more French by immersing myself in it.” Even if she did not speak enough French to complete a degree at a French university, Concordia was the next best thing to learn the language.

ASFA academic coordinator Angelica Antonakopoulos spoke after the Blue Fall Protest on Oct. 30, encouraging students to sign the petition sponsored by the Quebec Liberal Party to force the issue to be debated in Parliament. 

ASFA is currently working on other demonstrations in partnership with other institutions to bring out more students later in November. 


Students in protest: Blue Falls protest takes to the streets of Montreal

University students from across Quebec gather in protest against the doubling of tuition for out-of-province students.

Hundreds of Quebec university students took to the streets of Montreal last week to protest against the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ)  tuition increases for out-of-province and international students studying in anglophone universities.

Tuition at Quebec’s English universities for Canadian students outside of Quebec will almost double from $9,000 to $17,000 dollars starting in September 2024. The CAQ also raised the minimum tuition for international students outside of France or Belgium to $20,000. The proposed framework came as a surprise to everyone especially the English universities administration as they were not consulted. 

This will not apply to currently enrolled students, who will be able to finish their enrolled degrees at their current tuition rate, but if they make changes to your degree, they might not be grandfathered into their current rate. If they take longer than a five-year period to complete their degree, like many students enrolled part-time, their tuition will increase.

The protest started at Dorchester square and traveled past Concordia’s Hall building, ending at the Rodrick gates in front of McGill, where speakers of various backgrounds addressed the crowd across the street from Premier Francois Legault’s office.

Concordia University English professor Nathan Brown was one of the speakers. Brown approved of the protest in an open letter saying that this is an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and administration to resist together against the egregious policies of the provincial government. 

The protest organisers Noah Sparrow and Alex O’Neill, an out-of-province student from McGill, and other Concordia professors displeased with the provincial government’s actions against English higher education in Quebec also gave speeches.

The protest organisers, McGill political science student Alex O’Neill and Concordia creative writing student Noah Sparrow, put the event together in 12 days.

“We are trying to maintain access to education and we’re trying to preserve Montreal’s diverse student body and culture,” Sparrow said.

“An attack on one is an attack on all in regards to that,” O’Neill added. “We’ve received support from the unions at UQAM, Concordia and McGill, and we are working together to make sure that the student body is enfranchised.” 

Graham Carr, the president of Concordia University, said in an internal message to Concordia University community that the tuition hikes for out-of-province and international students will cost Concordia around $62 million. This number makes up around 10 per cent of the school budget. He also stated to the Canadian Press that this new measure could potentially cut out-of-province enrollment by 90 per cent.

Many non-student anglophone Montrealers were in attendance, along with several other professors and members of Parliament, denouncing the new tuition framework. They urged Quebecers to sign the petition that would force the issue to be debated in Quebec parliament.  Despite the backlash, the CAQ has yet to make a comment on the changes. On Oct. 25, the five French language universities in the province wrote an open letter that was published in La Presse to denounce the government’s actions against Quebec’s English universities.

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