|trouble (trouble) wrote,|
@ 2010-11-26 02:05 pm UTC
Many things at last's night "talk" about how students are basically a horrible drag on society that should not be supported by tax payers (given by a man who paid $700/year in tuition fees and could pay that from his summer job) wasn't exactly eye-opening, but it crystalized a lot of my issues. Tax Payers and Students are not two separate groups of people. As I've said before about people with disabilities, students pay taxes. Even if they don't pay a dime of income tax, they still pay sales tax on the goods and services they purchase. We contribute to Halifax and the other towns our universities (Nova Scotia has eleven) are located in. The staff and faculty of the universities we support with our numbers and with our tuition dollars also spend money, pay taxes, and support the local economy. But O'Neill kept positioning students and tax payers as being two separate groups, kept saying that supporting students - students who spend money, who pay taxes - in a direct way was requiring people to pay to support things they would never use and have no benefit to themselves.
Gentle readers: I pay taxes. Some of my provincial sales tax and provincial income tax goes to pay for roads which I will never use, that people in places like New Glasgow (where I've never been) and and Cape Breton (where I have never been) use to go to hospitals that I will never take advantage of. They go to pay for the salaries of provincial employees that in no way directly support myself or my educational goals. In fact, the province and my Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA - provincial government) often work directly against things that are of benefit to me, by doing things like putting money into a large convention center rather than into making Halifax wheelchair accessible, just for one example.
We were told, explicitly, many things last night. We were told that none of us had made a single argument that could convince Dr O'Neill to reconsider any of his recommendations. Of course, we were limited to short questions while he was given 40 minutes to speak, but obviously this indicates that we have no idea of the true strength of his proposal. We were told, explicitly, that he was doing us a favour by coming and lecturing at us. We were told, explicitly, that if we didn't like tuition fees going up, to leave. But obviously high tuition fees were in no way deterring students from moving to Nova Scotia, because the majority of students were coming from Ontario or further west. A number of Nova Scotia's students, by the way, are going to Newfoundland.
If we don't like the tuition, then why are we here? He asked that, and then didn't like the answers we gave.
I'm here because I invested myself in Halifax, in Nova Scotia, before I realised I didn't like it here very much. I know some of my not liking it here is situational. We don't drive. We can't get out of the city. We can't get to places within the city. Don's cancer and the subsequent long-term health problems (MRI on Monday) have poisoned Nova Scotia for us. It's a beautiful city, Halifax, but I wouldn't recommend living here.
I certainly wouldn't recommend sending your students here. We're not contributing enough.
Do not come to Halifax. We don't want you, or your money, or your tuition dollars, or your investment, or any of the work you might do here, or the jobs you might take here supporting our tourism industry. You, from Ontario, do not come here. Do not. You, apparently, are the reason why our tuitions are the highest in Canada, and why Nova Scotians are moving to Alberta and Newfoundland.
In the end, we were told explicitly to leave, so I did. So I am. As soon as possible. As soon as I can get my adviser to approve my move.
I'm taking with me my spending: my money spent on rent, on food, on useless trumperies. I'm taking my volunteer work, my activism, my passion. I'm taking my research, because if Nova Scotia does not value research, then why should I research here? I'm taking my small business plans, my independent bookstore shopping, my desire to make the world a better place for people with disabilities, and I'm taking them all to any other province in Canada.
There is nothing for us here, and we are unwanted.
When Jorge Cham came to Halifax to give his presentation on procrastination in graduate school, he said that you will get your thesis done because something - job opportunity, pregnancy, family, death - will make you sit down and do it.
This is my thing. I am going to finish this as quickly as possible, and then I'm not coming back. I can't get out of here fast enough.
But if you read nothing else, read this: Do not come to Nova Scotia for university. The government considers your decision to come here as proof that they can raise tuition however much they like, as proof that they do not have to consider student voices in anything. There are other perfectly nice universities you can go to. I hear Guelph is lovely. I didn't like UofA but it is amazing if you're a science student, and Saskatchewan has an awesome program for Engineers. Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria are all effortlessly beautiful areas, so you can skip our horrible winters and our desire to tear down as many historic buildings as possible. I still look with nostalgia upon Winnipeg. Go someplace else. They do not want you in Nova Scotia.