Telegraphed Gazette. 9 February 2013
Hello and welcome to the Telegraphed Gazette for the 9th of February 2013. My name is Vince, bringing you the last round of select stories from Montreal, the games industry, and (insert other topic here). You can leave suggestions for future editions in the tab at the top of the screen, or in the comments section below. In the headlines this week: The opposition in the National Assembly says that the Parti Quebecois has no mandate to promote separation, CEGEP professors will boycott the education summit, and university underfunding threatens Montreal’s status.
The Montreal Gazette this past Monday published a short little piece detailing the opposition parties in the national assembly’s frustration over the PQ government’s plan to promote sovereignty. Minister’s Pierre Moreau – the intergovernmental affairs minister under the previous liberal government – and Moreau both came out publically to criticize Alexandre Cloutier at committee hearings on spending estimates. Now I had a read through of another article done by the gazette related to this topic – the link will be posted below – which details just how the separatist support has been stamped at 30% and holding, neither rising, nor falling. The piece also makes a valid point in that a minority government should primarily be focused on survival, not totting around radical ideas in which could spell the end of their term of office. Now I am certain most of my readers are aware of what is going on, but for those of you who are not, I will bring you up to speed. The PQ government under Marois announced back in January a new sovereignty agenda, which is going to promote the benefits of an independent Quebec, and “display” just how wonderful this new separate country is going to be. This sort of action – especially given the fact that the PQ only has a minority – has upset the opposition parties; all of whom have come out publically to voice their outrage. Adding to the issue is the fact that the PQ government is doing all of this on the public’s dime, with little consideration for other provincial affairs. The situation with the healthcare system in Quebec, as well as the shortfall in funding for post-secondary institutions in Quebec has been largely ignored by the PQ government, who is only interested in independence, and the promotion of independence.
First thought: well great, they are doing exactly what Spain is doing with Gibraltar, in that they are using political games to divert public attention away from more serious problems. The PQ government probably has little to no hope in finding solutions for the issues the province faces, so they simply go into the conference room, whip out the political board game, and start to roll the dice. Second thought: great stuff guys, you are spending public dollars on promoting an ideological agenda when you should be spending the money on other elements like infrastructure, education, and health care. The province of Quebec has some very real problems, and while other provinces fight to keep themselves afloat, Quebec seems to drink away the cash, and then proceeds to hold out its’ hand to ask for more. Now I am all for transfer payments and the idea that all provinces should chip in towards a greater cause, but good lord; Quebec’s provincial government is spending public dollars on political games. The Taxpayer is already struggling with the current economic situation, and will therefore have little to no patience when dealing with a provincial government who decides to invest what little funds they have on petty politics and useless campaigns promising a better future IF you listen and agree with them. It is said over and over in this gazette: this sort of politics is a common occurrence in Quebec, and it is understandable that this is happening now. Yet I find myself constantly wondering: how much longer before we can move past the old wounds? How much longer before I can look at Quebec, and be hard-pressed to find any hardcore PQ nutcase running about?
The answer to that is probably sometime when I am 50, I hope. Here’s hoping that the PQ government gets overturned, and the moderates within the party come into play. Hopefully from that point onwards, we will see Quebec repair itself from the damages done by the PQ government, and move on into a better, brighter future. The links to the topics is located in the addresses below.
Professors teaching at CEGEPs in Montreal plan on boycotting the education summit set to take place near the end of February. According to the Montreal Gazettes article published Wednesday; the professors are upset over the Quebec government’s withdrawal from a previous deal to pay for the hiring of 180 additional teachers across 13 CEGEPs. The proposal to boycott the higher education summit came into view after the Quebec government announced it would not pay for the entire endeavour, and instead only pay half of what was promised. Now the back and forth comes into play in that the government stated that the deal had yet to be ratified, and was therefore subject to change. In contrast to their statement, the group representing the CEGEPs stated that the deal was agreed upon before hand, and that it was all set and ready to go. Now the additional teachers are being hired on due mostly to the disturbance caused by the student protest back in 2012; in other words the classes missed are now being “repaired” by the additional sessions. Now here is the interesting part: the PQ offered to subsidize the universities and CEGEPs in place of a tuition hike, thus prompting them to gain a fairly sizeable support base from the student body. However once they were in power, before the holidays they axed the tuition subsidy, and then opted to further decrease the portion of the budget normally allocated towards higher learning.
This sort of back-peddling happens in politics sadly, and with the whole fight over university finance still going on, the PQ government ought to smarten up if they wish to remain in office until the end of their term. Presently the PQ government has sought to promote a sovereignty agenda, all the while slowly walking away from various deals that had previously stated they would endorse: increasing subsidization for post-secondary institutions is the prime example here. Unfortunately, the PQ government is unwilling to switch gears and move towards fixing this issue as they are too dedicated towards promoting what the PQ specialize in, and what they ultimately hope to achieve. The most difficult aspect of this truth to swallow is the fact that a large portion of university and CEGEP students are caught right in the middle of all of this. Canadian students from outside the province wishing to attend any of the universities in Quebec, should either look to ones who focus less on research, and may therefore be more affordable, or avoid the province completely. This sort of instability is unhealthy for academic work, and as a student the main priority would be to complete the program of choice, and hopefully build a resume at the same time. Yet one cannot prevent those deeply committed to the idea from going, so here’s hoping that the problem will at least be somewhat patched before the fall of this year. Otherwise we could see yet another cohort of students fall into the mess that currently exists, which could delay their studies, further increasing the loan amount withdrawn. Oh what a painful endeavour that would turn out to be: you go to another province to experience the culture and get an education, but instead due to the political climate, you wind up with – quite literally – a mountain of debt. The link to this story is located below this paragraph.
Underfunded universities could damage Montreal’s reputation as Canada’s education center according to a group of university representatives at a meeting between Montreal’s nine universities. The article published on the 4th of February by the Gazette, explains that Montreal’s universities receive the most funding for research, and that if they are to continue on this road of underfunding by the provincial government, their reputation as a leading city in Canada could be damaged. Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the board of trade, stated that this strength cannot be taken for granted, and that the universities are important for the society of Montreal. Ultimately what the article is getting at is the nine universities within Montreal are fearful that they will soon lose their status as a university metropolis: similar to Boston or Oxford.
Well this is nothing new to be honest: the provincial government has already stated that it would no longer add additional subsidization, and that they would also reduce the portion of the budget intended for post-secondary education on grounds that the sky-high deficit needs to be reduced. The sad reality will be that Montreal’s universities will have to dig in and hope for the best when the summit rolls around. Now I must be frank, I have little idea off the top of my head of what the summit is actually intended to do, or what is the motive for its existence. Now these representatives can preach and cry out all they like, but if the provincial government is not being pressured from within the national assembly, then it will do what it pleases for the time being. Campaign promises – sadly – are most often just words, and can be retracted should the situation warrant such action. That is the problem with elections in general: it is a popularity contest, and one that has serious repercussions. The Parti Quebecois never signed any document stating that they “had” to increase subsidization in lieu of a tuition hike. Ultimately what this means is whatever the universities do – for now – is futile. Now most of the universities in Montreal are research universities; I would like to see how Bishop’s University is doing, likewise the CEGEPs.
The reason why I mentioned Bishops in particular, is because they are primarily an undergraduate-focused university. This means that while they conduct research here and there, their focus is to teach, thus reducing the need for additional funding to be allocated towards massive research projects undertaken by various faculties. Yet it must be stated that these are simply theories, with little to no evidence base to prove that it is a gross misallocation of resources that is partially to blame for the sudden shortfall in funds. There is little hope in sight for this situation as the PQ government has seemingly retreated inward towards the citadel of politics, so to speak, and is hell-bent on striking forth with a renewed campaign for Quebec independence. All the while they are ignoring what goes on beyond their high walls and ramparts, which ultimately means that the universities will have to either cut back on the amount of projects they take in, or they will have to do what the students fought so hard to prevent: raise tuition. The money has to come from somewhere, and like it or not, it is not coming from the provincial government this time. You can read the article in the link below this paragraph.
There you have it folks, another week of select news topics from the games industry, and Montreal. Funny however that the statement is somewhat false, given a lack of games industry news this week: again there is a lack of decent stories to write on. I swear January and February are the worst months for games journalism, and it really hits hard if you rely on this to make a living. Now there are “stories,” however most of them are predictions for tech shows, or release numbers for certain titles that really are not appetizing so to speak. Hopefully next week there will be somewhat more stories to choose from, and in turn I can return to a “normal” pace. Again I realise that this piece came out a bit late: I have been engaged in ten hour days, with my remaining days occupied with various university committees. I have stated this in the past and I will state this again, this blog is a hobby of mine: I receive no monetary reimbursement for my time. Thus while I try to keep to a strict schedule when it comes to publishing, life may not give me the luxury to do so as it has many other duties in store for me. I really do hope that you – my readers – understand this fact, and will bear with me as I try my best to bring you these pieces on Saturdays. Circumstances may arise whereby it will be on Sundays that the piece appears, or sometime very late on a Saturday, Pacific Standard Time. Nevertheless, I really do hope you will continue to support this blog; as I am quite happy writing these pieces and sharing it with you folks. It gives me great pleasure to see people enjoying my works, and it also means that my written English skills are somewhat up to scratch. Anyways thank you all for reading this week’s Telegraphed Gazette: tune in next Saturday for another weekly round-up of news, and comments. My name has been Vince, and I will see you next time.