November 18, 2014 — The government is doing harm to Quebec and its population by cutting $31.6 million from the university teaching budget. The Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU) was forced to come to this difficult conclusion in light of a series of rash and irresponsible decisions on the part of the government.
“The decision to blindly impose these new cuts on universities is completely absurd,” said Max Roy, President of the FQPPU. “Universities have long been underfunded, and this has previously been acknowledged by all of the stakeholders, including the Liberal Party.”
The announced cuts will have harmful effects on sustainability, university program quality, and the value of degrees. To make ends meet, university administrations will inevitably and unfortunately have to cancel courses, and reduce educational support and student services. This will ultimately impact the size of Quebec’s skilled workforce and have serious consequences on our collective capacity for innovation.
For many months, the FQPPU has been working to propose documented, realistic solutions, based on credible, tested, verifiable data, to Minister Bolduc and his team, but the government has chosen to ignore them. To cut costs, the FQPPU maintains that exerting tighter control over university bureaucratization and closing the gap that allows universities to fund capital property within operating funds would free up some of the resources needed to adequately fund teaching and research.
In addition, the centralizing provisions of Bill 15, which was recently tabled, and the imposition of an excessive accountability process will lead to more university bureaucracy. Too many resources are already devoted to these activities, which do not lead to greater efficiency, as the Bissonnette-Porter report showed.
The FQPPU must therefore conclude that the government’s action plan for higher education is improvised and poorly thought out, and will render our public institutions ineffective. With its indifference, as well as its lack of vision and awareness, the government is prompting another impending crisis. It needs to be held responsible for the social and economic losses that will result from the ill-advised decisions that it is currently making.