14 March 2012

Anglo students transcend old divisions

Anglo students transcend old divisions

The student strike has revealed an important generational divide within Quebec anglophone communities.

There is an ideological divide as well.

 The only Quebec we've ever known is post-Bill 101, and we don't have the same baggage and hangups as those from past generations - the people who represent the anglo community in the media, at city halls, and at the National Assembly. 

No angryphones to be found there. Accommodationists prevail.

We're bilingual and bicultural, we have both anglo and franco friends, and we live our lives not on one side of a solitude, but constantly in between.

Like most anglos under 40.
My student association has been on strike for over a week, joining associations representing more than 130,000 students. 

The minority of students in Quebec (over 400 000)

At our general assembly, I spoke and voted in favour of the strike, seeing it as our responsibility to do our part to fight a destructive government that from Day 1 has attacked public services and placed the interests of its wealthy friends ahead of those of the general public.


I've been disappointed (though not surprised) to see the uniformly negative, even condescending, coverage that the student strike has received in the English-language media. In editorials, letters to the editor, news stories and talk radio, the middle-age, middle-class, Liberal-voting West-Island resident machine took it upon itself to try to take down those young people who dare to stand up and defend themselves against the powerful.

 Not uniformly so. You must have read Matthew Hays' pro-strike piece last Friday, just for example.

 I was happy to learn that Concordia students have decided to join their colleagues in this movement, the first students at an English institution to do so. 

A minority of eligible voters bothered to vote 'yes' in the General Assembly, in an unfree and unfair show of hands.  The McGill Arts Undergraduates Students voted 'no'.

While the old generation has largely decided to line up behind a tired and discredited government, many of my generation share the same concerns as francophones do. We have decided to put our foot down.

Many, but not all (see above).

No comments: