October 5, 2011

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The October 5, 2011 edition of the Omega

Transcript of October 5, 2011

  • The megawww.theomega.caThompson Rivers Universitys Independent Student NewspaperOct. 5, 2011

    Field study opportunity in Central America 4

    WolfPack Sports 11

    Future of Kamloops transit explored 6

    PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIES

    The CBC and Canada: a celebration of identity 3

    PHOTO BY TREVOR CHALIFOUR

  • October 5, 20112

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    Opinion

    MONTREAL (CUP) Hey stu-dents, have you read? Quebec has its own Tea Party: student activists.

    At least, thats what seasoned edi-torialist Henry Aubin opined in The Gazette when he wrote A taste of the Tea Party in Quebec on Sept. 6.

    Militant members of these student organizations will recoil at being com-pared with the Tea Party, that far-right crusade south of the border, he wrote.

    The students will see Tea Partiers as stodgy, old and doctrinaire the reverse of their own cool, youthful, broad-minded selves. Yet the two movements have much in common.

    While its true that I recoil at the notion of grassroots education activ-ism being compared to the Tea Party and will admit to having a cool, youthful, broad mind I take issue with the tenuous links Aubin makes between us and them.

    Tea Partiers demand lower taxes, while students are demanding lower tuition. His argument ceases to make sense beyond the surface financial similarities.

    Yet the difference between our pro-spective governments, he writes, is a nuance.

    But one group is adamant that they are taxed enough already putting their own short-term financial inter-ests ahead of the long-term needs of the many while the other is saying

    that affordable education is vital to the economic future of the whole prov-ince.

    Aubin also comments that the Tea Party is similar to students because both groups are electorally minded and have played the political system astutely.

    But have they really? Astute is not a word I would choose when describ-ing Tea Party talking heads like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann or Glenn Beck.

    These people also incorporate ho-mophobic and Islamophobic elements into their campaigns, and their dislike for Obama often comes off as little more than thinly veiled racism.

    So give us some credit, please; there is clearly more than one glaring differ-ence between both groups and their goals for society.

    Aubin seems impressed that student groups are going to try something extra and flaunt our new political sophistication this year by pressuring elected officials in target areas to start thinking seriously about public edu-cation that is funded through a more progressive taxation system.

    But he goes on to write that this agenda will eventually weaken soci-ety.

    Students, he argues, could even be responsible for bringing the university and provincial governments to fiscal crisis if we continue our political ag-gression of ragtag demonstrations and war path tactics.

    As Obama told his Tea Partying

    critics when the American economy was on the brink of default, We need to tighten our belts in an intelligent way.

    So do we. Were talking about access to edu-

    cation here; can our government make spending cuts in other areas?

    Access to education is a human right; whats more, everyone benefits from an informed and well-educated labour force.

    And though $13,000 in student debt might seem like some paltry sum to a man who has a salary, he should take a hard look at the job market, rising in-flation, austerity measures and many other realities facing university stu-dents as they exit or fight to afford an entrance into higher education systems.

    Mr. Aubin, education is our only real chance in the real world, or the real job market, which is why weve become vocal and more politically savvy to stay in school.

    Investing in universities, in educa-tion, is an investment in growth.

    These ideals do not make us the Tea Party!

    Aubins piece has shown a lot of students another side of the tuition de-bate, but comparing our movement to the Tea Party is unfair and verges on willful ignorance.

    If we are going to have any real dia-logue, we have to keep our hyperbole in check.

    Theres a word for wanting to hang onto acquired privilege, said Aubin at

    the end of his piece. The word was reactionary. Its an

    interesting word, and one you could also use to describe the most basic premise of his piece, which seems to stem from a fear on the part of older, middle-class citizens that if students dont foot the bill, they will.

    But if university attendance drops significantly, or if future generations of young people are all graduating with unmanageable debt loads, every-one loses.

    Deepening the divide between the generations and making inflamma-tory comparisons will not solve the problem of tuition funding.

    Perhaps Aubin should show up to the planned province-wide Nov. 10 protest against tuition and speak to a few students on the ground floor of life.

    Maybe then hed see that were most certainly not like our Get the government away from my Medicare friends to the south.

    Not our cup of TeaThe Cord (Wilfrid Laurier)Laura Beeston

    Some comparisons have been made between student activists looking to lower tuition rates and the Tea Party movement in the US, which some think is ludicrous. (Image by Paku Daoust-Cloutier/The Link)

    Demanding lower tuition: not the same as demanding lower taxes

    While it is reasonable to be offend-ed by the insinuation that the student-driven movement towards lowering tuition at post-secondary institutions in this country is comparable to the Tea Party movement happening south of our border, I think the main question we need to examine is why do we draw these comparisons in the first place, and why should we even pay attention when they are drawn?

    And while it is true that these are two completely separate issues Ms. Beeston has hit the nail on the head in her assertion that if university atten-dance drops significantly, or if future generations of young people are all graduating with unmanageable debt loads, everyone loses, and that there is a significant difference between Tea Partiers demanding lower taxes

    and students demanding lower tu-ition I think the assertion that they are similar isnt really worth the time it takes to argue about it.

    I also cant help but wonder why we as Canadians are so focused on these American movements when they clearly are not applicable to our circumstances up here especially in regards to the focus we should have on our access to education or the expense of that endeavour.

    These movements come about be-cause of a need real or perceived which causes people to rise up to take matters into their own hands, so to speak.

    The Tea Party movement down south as far as I can discern is mainly about taxation. Specifically, the people want less of that but are not willing to give up any of the things that are provided to them be-cause of that taxation.

    Let me say before anyone starts in

    on me that I am in no way an expert on any of this, nor do I clam to even have gone so far as to do any research into the matter.

    Thats kind of my point, though.American political movements

    dont even hold enough interest for me that I would even bother to look into them in order to properly incor-porate them into an article to be pub-lished in a reputable news source (if I might be so bold).

    So reacting to the comparison made by Mr. Aubin just seems silly to me.

    Let him keep his ill-conceived notions of what the students of this country are trying to achieve, and let us focus on what theyre actually try-ing to do.

    They are trying to better their own futures by gaining an education.

    In doing so they hope that society as a whole will benefit by having a more well-educated workforce.

    They are trying to make it so that more people have access to better educational opportunities.

    All of these concepts make sense to me.

    So while I disagree with the idea that education is somehow a basic hu-man right, I certainly dont disagree with the notion that more availabil-ity and accessibility to education is something we should strive for.

    What we shouldnt be striving for are comparisons to the US govern-mental systems, policies and move-ments or arguing with people that are obsessed with making those com-parisons where they really dont have any merit.

    In giving those people more cover-age, we really give them more than our rebuttals take away from themand yes, I am completely aware of the irony of that statement as I type this.

    So lets focus on ourselves and the movements we believe in up here,

    and leave those who dont to their own devices and interests, shall we?

    And after all I could make all kinds of comparisons that dont make any sense.

    Watch.The Canadian education system is

    like a Ferrari it looks pretty and it works really well, but its damn expensive and it tends to bottom-out when it encounters any bumps in the road.

    Oops, I made a good one. Let me try again.

    The Canadian education system is like a poorly built house its a shitty place to live and it smells like mould.

    There.Is anyone going to argue that com-

    parison with me, or will you just look at it and realize it doesnt make any sense?

    I kind of thought so.

    Why are we even talking about the Tea Party here?Editor-in-ChiefMike Davies

  • publishingboardEDITOR-IN-CHIEF * Mike DaviesBUSINESS MGR * Natasha SlackINDUSTRY REP * Mike YoudsFACULTY REP * Charles HaysSTUDENT REP* Sadie Cox

    letterspolicyLiterary and visual submissions are welcomed. All submissions are subject to editi