After CAQ government refuses to meet, Dawson places hopes for expansion in public petition

Refusing meetings with power, Dawson College pinned its hopes for its canceled expansion project on the public.

He’s collecting thousands of names in a petition, hoping to prove – just before provincial budget time – that voters aren’t happy.

More than a month after the CAQ government suddenly shelved the long-term expansion plan, saying it now prefers to send funding to French-language colleges, Dawson hasn’t even had a chance. to arrange a meeting with a provincial official.

It’s “always ‘no’ to a meeting,” Dawson spokeswoman Christina Parsons said.

The college has therefore advanced the deadline for its formal petition to the Legislative Assembly by almost a month, which will allow it to present the final petition before the budget is set in stone later in March, in the hope for a change of heart at the eleventh hour.

Originally, the deadline for petitions was set for April 11, but the province is expected to table the budget well before that.

“The deadline has been extended to March 15 so that the petition can be presented to the National Assembly on March 17 before the budget is tabled on March 22,” Parsons explained.

“We hope the government will listen to the thousands of people who signed the petition and include our infrastructure project in the budget.”

So far, about 12,000 people have signed the petition and Dawson hopes to have more by next Tuesday’s deadline.

Two days later, next Thursday, the college plans to send a delegation of students to Quebec City to help present the latest petition and plead, once again, for the expansion.

Westmount MLA Jennifer Maccarone will also present the petition to the Legislative Assembly that day. According to her, it is currently the most popular petition among the official provincial petitions.

Parsons said the Dawson delegation’s plans for Thursday were not yet fully defined and she could not yet say whether they would be able to hold private meetings with politicians, outside of their press conference. planned.

The cancellation of the expansion angered many Anglophones in Quebec, especially given the blunt reason given.

“Premier François Legault explained that he was canceling the project because Dawson offers education in English and that he would prefer to invest in CEGEPs that offer education in French,” the college said in a press release on Friday.

Dawson students are missing nearly a third of the space they are entitled to under government standards, which the Department of Education has acknowledged, the school wrote.

It would have housed a community clinic and all of Dawson’s seven healthcare programs, adding more than 11,000 square meters of space. It had taken seven years of preparation when it was shelved.

The college said that although the government has refused its requests for a meeting, it has been buoyed by public support since the news broke in late January.

“Quebecers have rallied around Dawson College following the Quebec government‘s cancellation of the new health pavilion,” the college wrote in a statement Friday.

The petition was opened on February 22. Student leaders, not just school administration, also contributed.

“This is the last call to add your name and show your support for current and future Dawson students and the English-speaking community in Quebec,” Dawson Student Union President Alexandrah Cardona wrote in a statement. “We are also Quebecers!”

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