Education and Social Justice

AVEQ believes that the core mission of the student movement goes beyond the critical issue of defending the accessibility and quality of education and extends to ensuring that our voices are heard on all of society’s most important issues. For years now, the situation in Quebec has been worsening. Since 2013, the government of Quebec has imposed hundreds of millions in cuts to the university network, threatening the quality of education across the province. At the same time, the level of student debt is reaching staggering proportions, with 40% of students finishing their studies with more than $25,000 in debt. This situation is even more serious when considered in the context of an unremitting series of austerity budgets. In reality, it is the entire Québécois model of society that is under attack by the government’s ideological blindness. As a result, all of the advances that have been made over the previous decades are being undermined, whether women’s rights, workers’ rights, gains for families, or others.

In the face of this constant degradation of education and of our living conditions as a whole, it is critical for students to unite their voices and be heard, as much for ourselves as for future generations.

Inclusion and Feminism

The student community, as a reflection of society, is a mosaic of identities. Far from being a problem, that diversity is in fact a great strength, one on which the student movement must be built. Unfortunately, the recognition of gender and cultural equality is still far from won. Even today, hateful discourses against marginalized groups continue to find an echo in our society at large. Overcoming discrimination remains a battle that must be fought daily if we are to resolve issues such as pay gaps, rape culture, and the under-representation of women in positions of power. The student movement must act to ensure that it is always at the forefront of feminist practices and in the fight against discrimination of all types, whether it be based on ethnicity, language, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or other impairments, or religion. We need to make sure that our academic environments reflect our ambitions for the transformation of society as a whole.

This is why AVEQ is committed to defending social inclusion both politically and within its own practices. This document, written in gender-neutral language, is one small part of that. Every individual must be free to express themselves and to live without discrimination.

In the same way, AVEQ seeks to ensure that all student associations are able to participate fully in its associative life as equals. For that reason it is placing itself at the forefront of the struggle against any geographic or linguistic marginalization that regional and Anglophone associations may live. AVEQ wants to put an accent on the place that these associations, which have been at the heart of its creation since the beginning, hold. AVEQ is committed to defending a diversity of opinions and social realities, from one end of the province to the other.

Environmental Sustainability

If we had to choose only one issue to discuss for the next hundred years, it would be the environment. This debate is more urgent than ever due to the different transnational pipeline project underway and the development of the Plan Nord. The Saint-Lawrence Seaway is one of the most important bodies of water in all of North America, and it represents the source of potable water for nearly half of all Quebecers. Serious concerns about the development of different oil and gas installations along this unique ecosystem can be found among students all the way from Montreal to Rimouski, passing through Trois-Rivières. The ecological disasters that arise from a laisser-faire developmental policy can have massive human and economic consequences, as we have too often seen in the past. It is therefore critical for all sectors of civil society to have a voice in the discussion over all such projects.

That is why AVEQ, as part of its goal of representing students from every part of Quebec, promises to bring their environmental concerns up to the government. After all, we are the ones who will have to live the disastrous consequences of today’s irresponsible environmental policy.