Quebec’s Criminal Students

Last night, a video was brought to my attention that shows a Concordia University classroom taken over by students on “strike.” (And this is not the only one!)

(“Strike” is in quotations because student associations, as the corporations that they are, do not have that legal right, but that’s a topic for another day.)

This is a clear case of people substituting their view of what is right for the view of others. Some students believe that the proposed tuition hikes in Quebec (that will become law in just a few days) merit going on “strike” and not going to the classes that they paid for. They believe that it is smarter, wiser, and more mature to skip these classes, thereby not getting credit for them, and then taking them again in a future year where the cost for the same class will be higher. If this doesn’t make sense to you, you’re not alone. This completely illogical, childish decision is reason enough that this juveniles should get their asses back to class and get their learn on.

That I disagree with the strike action, despite my logical backing, does not make me right. Students have the right to not attend their own classes, even if they paid for them, if that is their wish. However, as a great quote rightly notes, “one person’s freedom ends where another person’s freedom begins.” These students do not have the right to prevent others from going to class, learning, and getting value for what they paid for.

So, what should be done about instances like the one shown in the video? Well, these kids (a term I believe appropriate given their behaviour) believe that it’s okay to shock and be loud to make a statement. I think we should shock them, loudly, to make a statement of our own. I propose that the police be called in to arrest each person who participates in preventing a fellow student from learning in a classroom. Arrest them, you ask? What law did they break?

A simple reading of the Criminal Code of Canada shows a clear violation of the theft statute. Have a read:

322. (1) Every one commits theft who fraudulently and without colour of right takes, […] anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent

(a) to deprive, temporarily or absolutely, the owner of it, or a person who has a special property or interest in it, of the thing or of his property or interest in it;

By barging into a classroom in session and preventing fellow students from participating in classes they paid for, not only are these demonstrators guilty of extreme selfishness and horribly bad judgement, the above statute clearly shows that they are guilty of theft, as they are depriving, even temporarily, the owner of the right to an education of their interest in that education.

So come on, Montreal Police and Crown Prosecutors, you have arrested people on crazy, creative charges in the past, the difference this time is that the law actually supports you here. So use the clear video evidence, identify the education-thieving perpetrators and arrest them immediately so that the smarter, more mature students can get what they paid for and what we as society need them to have, an education.

Real world lessons for students

On Thursday, November 10th in downtown Montreal, thousands of loud students marched the streets blocking rush hour traffic in protest against proposed $325 tuition hikes for the next 5 years, despite the fact that currently, Quebec is home to the lowest tuition fees in North America (by far), and will remain close to the bottom even after the hikes.

The protesters had their say today. Now I get mine.

Dear student protestors: Your hypocrisy disgusts me. You pretend that tuition hikes will “prevent access to education” and then form picket lines at your school to prevent your fellow students from having access to their education.

Worse, if your education means as much to you as you claim, why did you skip school today?

If my employer had not made other plans for me, I had planned on being at the protest carrying a sign that would have simply said : Tuition before iPhones, beer and cigarettes. Student protesters, your misplaced priorities disgust me. If you can afford a smartphone (and its monthly plans); if you go out drinking at least twice a month; if you buy a coffee every day; if you are a smoker (!!!), if you have gone away for Spring Break – anywhere – then you can afford tuition. Tuition first, then luxuries. Smarten up!

If you want a free ride, earn it through hard work and get a scholarship. Do not expect the public to continue paying your way to the detriment of our education system. I didn’t take university as seriously as I might have, but at least I didn’t expect you to pay for my bad habits. If you want to be a hypocrite, have your priorities backwards, or act like an entitled, spoiled brat, do it on your own dime.

Stop the drama and get back to class. It’s time to pay your fair share. This is the real world. You would be wise to start preparing for it.