All Posts Tagged With: "quebec"
Quebec ups oversight
The Quebec government has appointed an overseer to bring the finances of one of Canada’s top teaching hospitals under control in the face of a staggering deficit.
Government experts have tabled a report that says the McGill University Hospital Centre is headed toward a $61 million deficit by next March that could balloon to $115 million by adding non-recurring deficits to the total.
That deficit — larger than that of all other Quebec hospitals, combined — is only the latest bad news to hit the scandal-plagued institution.
The hospital has responded in a statement, saying it agrees with the findings and points out that it is in a period of transformation.
The devastating report cites risky real estate transactions that that were done without approval from the provincial Health Department or Montreal’s health and social services department.
Worst-ever Gangnam parody, gun control & pub trouble
1. “This Gangnam Style parody made by high school students in New Holland, Pennsylvania, is so terrible it’s destined to outlive the original music video,” writes The Albatross. That may be going a little far, but there’s a reason this kooky video has a million clicks already. It’s hilarious!
2. A “possible abduction” at York University on Wednesday turned out to be just a prank, say Toronto Police. The pranksters had said they saw a person forced into a van by two men near the Fine Arts building. “Police have investigated the incident and spoken with the people involved. It has been revealed it was a prank played between the people involved,” they write.
3. Quebec’s universities say they were blindsided by a cut of $124-million to be implemented during the current school year. This comes as universities scramble to make up for revenue lost after tuition hikes were cancelled in September by the new Parti Québecois government.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois gets 120 hours of community service
A prominent figure in Quebec’s student protest movement has been sentenced to 120 hours of community service for a contempt of court conviction following the rowdy events of the so-called Maple Spring.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who was the spokesman for the militant CLASSE organization during protests against proposed tuition increases, was punished for urging supporters to defy a court order.
He remained defiant Wednesday. Nadeau-Dubois promised to carry through with his plan to appeal the earlier contempt verdict that drew Wednesday’s sentence.
“It’s not over,” he said on his Twitter feed. “Remember that my sentence will only apply if the Court of Appeal upholds the original decision. Hearing on January 22.”
More Quebec protests, oil debate & democracy at U of T
1. It’s that time of the month again. Several thousand students marched in Montreal Thursday to demand free tuition, despite already winning frozen tuition from the Parti Quebecois government. The demonstration was supported by the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, whose now-disbanded CLASSE wing was considered the most radical student group during the protests that shut down campuses earlier this year. Speaking of shutting down campuses, some students blocked certain entrances to the Université du Québec à Montréal on Thursday, reports the Montreal Gazette.
2. The University of Toronto Students’ Union’s annual general meeting drew a lot of angry voters who refused to approve the agenda at the beginning of Thursday’s meeting. While most AGMs are poorly attended, students waited in line for hours to get in to this one. Sam Greene, who heads of Trinity College, urged members to not approve the agenda unless the UTSU considers electoral reforms. Corey Scott, vice-president internal for UTSU, told The Varsity that the way students vote showed their “privilege.”
3. There is support among some of Canada’s premiers to ship Alberta oil to Eastern Canada. Two men whose provinces don’t have much oil themselves, Manitoba’s Greg Selinger and Nova Scotia’s Darrell Dexter, say they are interested, and Alberta’s Alison Redford and Quebec’s Pauline Marois agreed Thursday to examine the benefits and environmental effects of such a project.
Tuition freeze likely
The Parti Quebecois government appears to be challenging the notion that the province’s universities are under-funded, a tactic that could hold significant implications it prepares to hold a highly anticipated summit on education.
The government has promised to host a symposium in February aimed at finding a long-term solution to the challenge of university funding, an event that stems from a key PQ election pledge to cancel previously planned tuition hikes.
But it is now sending signals that universities might not actually require a financial boost.
Members of the government including Premier Pauline Marois have in recent weeks been repeatedly challenging the premise that the province’s universities are under-financed. On Thursday, the government even leaked a report to the media challenging that oft-repeated notion.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois faces community service or prison
One of the most prominent figures in the Quebec student revolt that gained international attention and contributed to the defeat of Jean Charest’s government has been convicted of contempt of court.
Justice Jacques Denis wrote in his ruling handed down Thursday that Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the charismatic spokesman for the hardline CLASSE group, had advocated anarchy.
The case stems from allegations that Nadeau-Dubois encouraged students to ignore a court injunction obtained by student Jean-Francois Morasse that allowed him to return to class at Laval University in Quebec City.
Nadeau-Dubois said on television on May 13 that it was legitimate for protesters to form picket lines to keep students who had obtained injunctions from getting to their classrooms.
Happy Movember, #BaldforBieber & Save the Wesmen
1. Movember, one of the most popular fundraisers on Canadian campuses, began today. Perhaps taking a cue from Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, who challenged his fellow premier Robert Ghiz of P.E.I. to a grow-off, students at the University of Regina’s Carillon student newspaper are asking readers to bet on who can grow the best mo. $5 to vote. Proceeds fight cancer.
2. The 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings are finally here! The 132-page guide includes stories on class size, the viral videos phenomenon, expensive textbooks and, of course, the rankings. Who took home the gold may not surprise you, but the performance of schools like the University of Northern British Columbia, New Brunswick and Trent probably will.
3. A false rumour on Twitter that Justin Bieber had cancer caused a number of fans to shave their heads and tag them under #BaldforBieber. Rachel Herscovici of the Queen’s Journal disapproves.
4. More than 800 people have “liked” a Facebook page called “Save the Wesmen.” The University of Winnipeg is considering changing the name of its Wesmen athletics teams to be more inclusive.
UBC change room creep, Windsor fashion police & iPad Mini
1. Police at the University of British Columbia are looking into whether there is a link between a man charged with secretly recording nudity in a women’s change room at the Osborne Centre gym on campus and other complaints received both at UBC and at an institution across town, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Jay Forster, 42, was recently charged after women reported him in the shower area of the gym at UBC, reports The Ubyssey.
2. In Italy, six scientists and one government official have been sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter after failing to properly predict the L’Aquila earthquake in 2009, which killed 306 people. Unsurprisingly, the decision is sending chills though the scientific community.
3. Queen’s University’s Alma Mater Society may reconsider a 78-year-old ban against members joining fraternities or sororities, reports The Queen’s Journal. The issue is whether the ban is supported by students and whether it’s enforceable, considering there’s is already at least one frat.
Ontario is second
Quebec companies are by far the most heavily taxed in Canada and the United States, even after accounting for generous financial assistance from the province, according to a new University of Montreal business school study.
The HEC Centre for Productivity and Prosperity’s 2012 report said Wednesday that Quebec companies paid 26 per cent more in taxes than the Canadian average and face almost double the tax burden of U.S. companies.
Taxes represented 5.1 per cent of the gross output of Quebec businesses, compared with 4.1 per cent for Canada and 2.9 per cent for the United States, according to a Statistics Canada survey of 2008 data.
Ontario was the second least competitive province in terms of taxes at four per cent of gross output, followed by Alberta (3.9), B.C. (3.8), Nova Scotia (3.7), Manitoba (3.7), Newfoundland and Labrador (3.4), P.E.I. (3.1), Saskatchewan (3.0), and New Brunswick (2.6).
A fake medical student, a fake gun & Dalton McGuinty
1. After nine years as premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty stepped down last night and prorogued the legislature. By 9 p.m., the newspapers had stories suggesting he’ll run for the federal Liberals against Justin Trudeau. Paul Wells writes that he would be astonished by that. “But then, McGuinty has already astonished me once tonight,” he adds. Wells explores the Teflon Premier’s legacy and examines a (possibly) telling recent speech.
2. A man rejected from medical school at New Zealand’s Auckland University decided to go anyway. He spent two years attending classes, labs, and hospital placements and was only caught when a classmate put his name on a group assignment.
3. A 28-year-old woman who was walking to the University of Windsor Monday was told by a man carrying a fake gun to hand over a computer bag. The woman described the gun as “two sticks taped together.” The University of Windsor Campus Police arrested and charged a 21-year-old.
Lack of national news doesn’t meet licence mandate: study
A long-standing complaint concerning Quebec navel-gazing by the CBC’s French-language news service has been revived as the national broadcast regulator considers Radio-Canada’s licence renewal.
Sen. Pierre de Bane, a former Liberal cabinet minister under prime minister Pierre Trudeau, commissioned an exhaustive research study that suggests Quebec television viewers may be getting an “unrepresentative image of the Canadian reality.”
A scientifically vigorous sample of 2010 newscasts on Le Telejournal, taken by a Carleton University researcher, found that 42 per cent of the coverage focused on Quebec, a third dealt with international news and just 20 per cent covered Canadian “national” news.
A Bieber fan attacked, James Franco & #RIP Amanda Todd
1. A Vancouver Justin Bieber fan had her night nearly ruined. Simran Mann wrote her name inside a heart with a Bieber reference on a pillar outside Rogers Arena. The problem was that pillar was a memorial for Canuck’s player Rick Rypien. Hockey fans tracked her down on Twitter and unleashed a fury: “Please hang yourself, so I can destroy your grave,” wrote one. Ouch.
2. Speaking of the Canucks, Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin will play a charity game at UBC on Oct. 17. Both men are angry that sold-out tickets are being re-sold by scalpers on Craigslist.
3. Canadians are standing up against bullying with the hashtag #RIP Amanda Todd, in honour of the 15-year-old B.C. girl who killed herself after releasing an anti-bullying video on YouTube.
Cop who pepper-sprayed students faces new accusations
A notorious police constable has been suspended after she was involved, once again, in an aggressive exchange captured on video.
The officer best known in Montreal as “No. 728,” in reference to her badge number, will be temporarily sidelined pending a disciplinary investigation, the local police chief announced Thursday.
Const. Stefanie Trudeau first rose to local prominence earlier this year when video surfaced of her generously pepper-spraying a crowd of student protesters who appeared to pose no threat last May.
This week new video surfaced of a forceful, profanity-laced arrest during a dispute that started with a man drinking a beer outdoors.
After the incident she was recorded unleashing expletives and derogatory comments about artists, protesters, musicians and dwellers of a certain downtown Montreal neighbourhood and she described the people on the scene as, among many other things, “rats.”
Cancellation of hike isn’t enough for them
One Quebec student group says that with tuition hikes officially off the table, it will now champion the idea of free education.
The new Parti Quebecois government scrapped a controversial increase in post-secondary tuition fees this week and a hardline student group is now turning to free education as its long-term goal.
CLASSE, which speaks for 100,000 Quebec students, says free education is entirely achievable and used a march attended by several hundred people on Saturday to highlight the issue.
“Our struggle for accessibility to higher education is not yet over,” said Jeremie Bedard-Wien, a spokesman for CLASSE.
Free education is not a position that is shared by the province’s two other major student associations and with the proposed hike by the former Liberal government formally cancelled, Quebec has the lowest tuition in the country again.
Price will return to $2,168
The tuition increase that triggered such social strife in Quebec was cancelled Thursday during an action-packed first full day in office for the Parti Quebecois government.
The new government repealed the fee hike, by decree, in its first cabinet meeting less than 24 hours after coming to power.
Student leaders cheered the news.
“Together we’ve written a chapter in the history of Quebec,” said Martine Desjardins, head of the more moderate university student association.
“It’s a triumph of justice and equity.”
Freshman 15, politics in the classroom & anger at OCAD U.
1. Yesterday there was a flash sale from Chartwells at the University of Prince Edward Island during which poutine was 50 per cent off for a few hours. Cadre reporter Josh Coles took on the breaking news assignment: “This poutine was weighty. Heavy. Thick. I would compare its weight to that of a litre of chocolate milk,” he wrote.
2. The poutine and chocolate milk diet seems like evidence for that legendary Freshman 15 weight gain, but another study suggests the weight gain isn’t really 15 pounds. Researchers from Auburn University in Alabama showed that the Freshman 15 is really more like the Four-Year 12. After four years at the college, students in the study had gained an average of 11.7 pounds.
3. Homecoming will likely make a homecoming next year at Queen’s University after students finally behaved in public with just 12 arrests over the weekend compared to 124 in 2008. In an email sent Monday to the Queen’s community, Principal Daniel Woolf wrote that he’s working with “various members of our community, including alumni, to plan for the potential safe return of fall reunions in 2013.” The University Council asked Woolf to reinstate the tradition, which was barred after many years of alcohol-related arrests. See The Perils of Drinking on Canadian Campuses for more.
No arrests so far
Quebec’s anti-corruption squad is searching the offices of the McGill University Health Centre in downtown Montreal this morning.
A spokesman for the unit says around 10 investigators from the department’s Hammer Squad are looking for signs of illegal activity.
Squad members are interviewing witnesses during the operation.
There are no immediate reports of arrests.
Quebec introduced Operation Hammer in late 2009 amid a flurry of corruption allegations that shocked the province.
The squad has been involved in a number of arrests since its inception.
PQ says it will index tuition to rate of inflation
Quebec student leaders are ready to face off against any plans the newly elected Parti Quebecois may have to increase tuition fees.
Students claimed a cautious victory after premier-designate Pauline Marois promised to reverse tuition increases for college and university students.
Less than 24 hours after the PQ won a minority in the Sept. 4 election, Marois announced she would undo the hikes introduced this year by the Liberal government of outgoing Premier Jean Charest.
For now, the near-daily protests in Montreal have come to a halt.
The downtown park where hundreds, and often thousands, of protesters gathered nightly for marches over the past few months has gone quiet. Classes have resumed at Quebec’s junior colleges and universities.
Premier-designate will cancel tuition hikes by cabinet decree
Premier-designate Pauline Marois says she will do her best to push ahead the more contentious parts of her campaign platform despite her minority-government status.
Marois, whose Parti Quebecois won 54 of the province’s 125 ridings on Tuesday, conceded the difficulty of the task ahead given that the Liberals have 50 members and Francois Legault’s Coalition party has 19.
In an indication of her political limitations, Marois never once referred to an independence referendum during her post-election news conference and no reporter bothered asking about one.
She said she will try to make progress on the more divisive parts of her platform — those dealing with language, culture and federal-provincial relations — but will need to seek consensus from the other parties.
Quebec Liberal premier lost own seat in last night’s election
Jean Charest has decided to put an end to a stormy 28-year political career, including the last nine as Quebec premier.
Charest, a staunch federalist who served as federal Progressive Conservative leader before becoming Quebec Liberal leader in 1998, spent a good part of his announcement Wednesday praising Canada.
”We are all blessed to have been born in this country,” Charest told reporters at the national assembly.
But the longtime premier also hailed Quebecers, who elected him premier in 2003, 2007 and 2008.
”We are a people of dreamers but also builders,” he said.
Charest’s resignation will take effect in a few days when the Parti Quebecois officially takes power after its minority victory on Tuesday.