As students wage a massive strike in Quebec, over proposed tuition hikes that will nearly double rates in a few years, and with police responding like violent fascists—blinding the eye of one young student only two days ago—it seems an apt time to reflect on the hierarchy of values, matched by the hierarchy of spending, that the federal and provincial governments of Canada extol.
Federally, the Conservatives want to increase the cost of education through privatization whilst earmarking billions for weapons and machines of war and building scores of unwanted and un-needed prisons. Provincially, war manufacturers have representatives sitting on the Boards of Governors at Quebec universities like Concordia and the Quebec government has done little to stop the commercialization and corporatization of education in the province. The links between education and war run deep – from representation at the decision-making level of higher education governance, to ads for the Forces in washrooms, to recruitment on campus (illegal, but it happens), to research in engineering and the sciences, war benefits every time the value of getting an education for education’s sake goes down. Higher tuition fees are but one aspect of that equation.
And if anyone out there can suggest a great documentary on the corporatization of education or the links between war and education, please let us know.