Montreal Limbo

Mid-November feels like a strange time of year in Montreal these days. The weather feels like it’s not quite Fall-ish yet not quite Winter-ish. Do you wear a spring coat with layers or just go for the all out winter jacket? Time keeps marching on nonetheless and to keep things exciting, we have several interesting developments taking place in and around the city.

  • A looming transit strike that will no doubt cause countless tales of grief but is such a recurring event in this city that I no longer have the gusto to even launch a tirade against it. I am resigned to coping with it when it comes and so battle worn that I am ready to say just give them what they want. Meanwhile, I’m saving up to purchase a car in the spring time.
  • Those anglos are stirring up the political pot again with the emergence of the new and controversially named Office Quebecois de la langue anglaise. Nothing like a little tension between the two solitudes to liven up the party.
  • Students are demonstrating again against tuition fees. This brings out the ol’ In my day, I had to walk 3 miles to school in the snow…without shoes! part of me. I guess it’s age and the old 9-5 wearing me down. I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of students walking around with laptops, cell phones, ipods, starbucks coffee, wearing really nice duds. I’m not sure how $50 a semester is going to put a dent in their pockets. Of course, there are legitimately poor students out there but heck, if I could get an education on loans and bursaries in the cheapest province for world class education, anybody can.
  • Don’t even get me started on the Reasonable Accomodation hearings – the Jerry Springer-like freak show circus touring the province.
  • I think I’ll just curl up with a nice hot cup of chocolate and wait out this lunacy limbo period. Meanwhile, don’t forget to head downtown and catch the annual too-early-to-be-happening Santa Claus parade taking place today.

    4 Comments so far

    1. Leif Thande (unregistered) on November 17th, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

      Concerning the debate around tuition fees, first it’s not 50$ per session, but 50$ cumulative. In 5 years, a student will pay 500$ more per session, an increase of 30%. Now, the impact of 500$ against 50$ on a budget of around 10 000$ for an average student is substantial.

      As for the “wealthiness of the students”, I’m sorry but it doesn’t represent the majority of us. Sure there are students that have a lot of cool stuff, but are your sure they are in university in the first place ? I bet a lot of them are in CEGEP or not studying anymore. Having a computer now is almost mandatory, some programs even require that you have a laptop.

      But most of all, it’s the global attitude of the government (and society in general) towards education that is problematic. « if I could get an education on loans and bursaries in the cheapest province for world class education, anybody can. » Don’t you remember that just 2 years ago, in 2005, the government tried to cut loans and bursaries by 100 M$. Most of the students are ready to pay a greater share for their tuition, but not at the expense of the accessibility for the poorest of us, and right now the governement is not showing that it is an important concern for him.


    2. Malek (unregistered) on November 17th, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

      Leif,

      Come on, 50$ even cumulative is nothing. You do realize that low fees favor the middle class and rich instead of the poor right?

      By increasing grants to students who really need them by an equivalent amount, the middle and upper classes are the ones really footing those 50$ a semester.

      You have to face it, the only ones demonstrating are doing it out of principles and not because they can’t afford it. And those principles (free tuition) have very litte echoe in society at large, in Québec free lunch is a thing of the past.

      Cheers!


    3. Dareen (unregistered) on November 19th, 2007 @ 10:47 pm

      I apologize, but this is the only way I could contact you. I’m a journalism student at Concordia University and I have a television project where I need to report on the existence of lead in the tap water of some areas of the city. I read your blog and you made some wonderful points!

      I was wondering if I could ask you some question about the situation. How you found out? How it felt when you first found out? and so on. (Basically all that you’ve written already).

      I apologize for contacting you this way, but I am having a hard time finding people to ask because I don’t know anybody living nor any connection to any people living in the areas affected. I was hoping you could contact me via email: d.awwad@yahoo.com and I could explain my project in more detail.

      Thank you very much!
      Dareen.


    4. Marla Comm (unregistered) on November 23rd, 2007 @ 11:03 am

      November was always a depressing month: dark, grey, cold, stormy and as Laiya said, a limbo between fall and winter. With winter finally announcing its arrival with an ice storm, the worst of all worlds, I went into a total shutdown. I get panic-like attacks during all the freezing rain storms and am unable to do anything but nervously stare out the window, sit by the phone searching for someone to talk me through the ordeal and sit vigil in front of the Weather Channel display hoping the temperature will make it just one degree above zero and turn the ice into ordinary rain.

      Even without ice storms I spend most of my spare time during the winter months sleeping. If I’m really not up to facing the day, I call sick. It’s a wasted life, but my only escape from the agony of cabin fever, restlessness and the horrendous cravings that make it impossible to think of anything other than food. Without my bike I’m a lost soul. I can’t get around and don’t get any exercise. The cold saps my motivation and makes me feel like a zombie. I can’t interest myself in anything but the dream of winning a lottery and leaving this misery for good.

      I’m miserable all winter, but November is especially tough because I know I have the whole thing ahead of me and wonder how I’ll make it through without going insane.

      -Marla Comm



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