Canada in brief: Oct. 20, 2010

Student groups unite against Quebec tuition increase

MONTREAL (CUP) — Quebec students won’t take the newest provincial budget cuts to education and social services without a fight.

On Oct. 13, Concordia University’s students’ union hosted a panel discussion on alternative ways to keep education costs accessible in Quebec. Members of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, the Quebec Students’ Roundtable and Free Education Montreal discussed the dangers of an end to the tuition freeze in 2012. Together, the four organizations represent the interests of over 200,000 post-secondary students in the province.

Concordia’s panel session to encourage participation in the student movement gathered a meagre 50 students. A common criticism of the campaign to keep tuition frozen is that Quebec already has the lowest fees in Canada. Incidentally, it also has the highest registration rates.

Irina Gaber, the Link

Alberta has lowest post-secondary participation rate

EDMONTON (CUP) — Alberta has the lowest post-secondary participation rate of all provinces in Canada, with only 17 per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds enrolling in 2009.

The Advanced Education and Technology annual report published the numbers, also saying the government is creating a “culture of learning.” However, according to Donna Chovanec, an associate professor with the University of Alberta Department of Educational Policy Studies, the government has not made accessibility to education a priority.

Alberta’s boom-and-bust resource economy has a significant impact on participation rates, with the lure of high wages in jobs that don’t require post-secondary education. The transition rate from high school to post-secondary, measured ten years after students enter grade 10, is only 68 per cent, meaning that many students choose to enter the work force and not enter post-secondary at all.

Mike Dickson, the Gateway

Groups demand UBC disclose animal-testing practices

VANCOUVER (CUP) — Stop UBC Animal Research Now has submitted a letter calling on the University of British Columbia to “fully disclose information about its animal research program.”

The letter, signed by 60 animal advocacy groups from Canada, the United States and Europe, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Animal Alliance of Canada, the Vancouver Humane Society, the UBC Social Justice Centre and the UBC Veggie Club, was sent to university president Stephen Toope on Oct. 11.

In a letter to the Vancouver Sun, Clement Gauthier of the Canadian Council on Animal Care said that UBC “was recently assessed by the council’s external peers, including public representatives and was in compliance with council standards.”

He also argued that, in general, animal experimentation has been decreasing substantially.

Arshy Mann, the Ubyssey

School nurses could have prevented gay suicides: prof

MONTREAL (CUP) — Deborah Dysart-Gale is urging school nurses to take more of a role in preventing bullying, saying they have a responsibility for the mental wellness of students. In the case of the American teenagers, the administration did not know how to handle the situation, she said. That is where school nurses can come in and provide the schools with expertise along with a staff member who is available to the students.

Renee Giblin, the Concordian