Prof. Heather Munroe-Blum
Feb. 26, 2013, delivered at Quebec's Sommet sur l'enseignement supérieur
We salute the advances that have been made, notably indexation and ancillary fees. We salute the implementation of “chantiers” that will enable us to attack complex files. And the fact that they will be handled by competent people gives me a great sense of confidence.
At the end of this discussion process, however, we cannot remain silent about 10 years of under-funding. This is the thorn in our side.
We cannot act as if the quarter-billion dollars in cuts we’ve been asked to make won’t lead to cuts in staffing and student services.
The cuts are real, and the people who will lose their jobs are real people. Cuts are not just abstract numbers – they mean that real services will no longer be offered to students.
While we have made progress on certain files, we will have to eliminate many programs that have taken us years to build, and most of all we will have to live with the real impact of the cuts.
At the risk of repeating myself, the quality of education and research in Quebec is at risk. Our economy is also at risk.
Our ability as a nation to deal with global issues like aging, innovation, climate change – I could go on and on – is at risk.
Once again, my colleagues and I are asking the government to find a solution to the drastic cuts being asked of universities that are already under-funded.
What I’ve seen since yesterday leaves me feeling optimistic that we can move forward and that dialogue is well and truly underway.