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Jean-Pierre Lord, in translation

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

In a comment after the clip of J-P.Lord's 20 May 2012 interview, someone asked for an English translation.  Here's one (unauthorized):


Good resumé of the student conflict. 3 min (en francais)

The interviewee wrote, “I have to say that I did this interview on adrenaline… this is more precisely the thread of my thoughts, in writing":

Students will not let the Liberals sabotage our social gains so easily.

Tell me, in what world do rising prices result in higher demand?

Only 17% of students receive scholarships. This means that 83% of students will be more indebted.

Considering that a loan of $28,000 paid back over 10 years will cost the student $42,563, federally chartered private banks are cashing a profit of $14,563. The plan to make repayment proportional to income will, certainly, let students pay less each month, but we know that the longer it takes, the more interest accumulates on the student debt.

The banks must salivate at the idea of this new niche for securitization of commercial paper backed by student loans that they cannot dispose of even if they are bankrupt, and are guaranteed by the government. For the banks, no risk, higher profits!

Conversely, a public investment of $28,000 will cost the state tax revenues by $28,000 (no interest here). Actually, for taxpayers, the higher tuition fees are equivalent to 1¢ per taxpayer per day (without wanting to laugh at Mme. Beauchamp).

If we go to the liberal period from 1990 to 1996, when costs increased considerably from $563 to about $1300, one can estimate the decline in school attendance due to increased costs as 7000 students per year. This means if we do not increase costs, 7000 students will remain on the benches of our universities.

Over 25 years, then, this is 175 000 students (engineers, filmmakers, social workers, nurses, agronomists, geographers, historians, philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, industrial designers, etc.)

Nevertheless, human life is not just accounting. Considering that the social value of education is still young and fragile among Quebecers (90% of the population was illiterate in 1963 when we built our educational system, today 40% of the population is functionally illiterate), it’s to be expected that few among us have yet gone there.  

I am the first in my extended family to reach university. At the University of Quebec in Outaouais, 70% of students are the first in their families to attain higher education.  So it’s permissible to say we must be vigilant about our social gains.

That said, we can still be proud of our education system. And as noted by Guy Rocher, on April 11 in Le Devoir [to the question] Is free access possible in the light of globalization? “It's true we live in a world of expanded competition, but there are other countries who live in the same world as we do, who have adopted very different policies,” he underlines, referring to Scandinavia where free access is a more widespread idea. "I have the impression Finland has read the Parent report and has applied it!" he concludes[1].  Speaking of world competition, Quebecers are in "second place in the Western world in mathematics, after Finland; 13th in the world in science; 6th in the world in reading and understanding (2nd in the West, also after Finland) "[2].

For me, education being public rests on a sacred pact between the generations. Namely, older ones pay by their taxes for the education of the younger ones, who in their turn will allow them to have a pension and adequate social services in the end of life.

For me it’s a matter of solidarity and social justice.

Jean-Pierre Lord

Social work student - UQAM

President of the local association of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques PQ / SMSJ.PQ / jeanpierre.lord


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