Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Political Season Begins

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Political Season Begins

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Political season begins

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An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published Aug. 2:

It's going to be a great few months for political watchers as the U.S. presidential campaign kicks into high gear, with the warmup act being the Sept. 4 election in Quebec called on Aug. 1 by Premier Jean Charest.

The Quebec election isn't just for political nerds, however. The outcome could have massive national implications that will be felt even here in northern B.C.

Let's start with the students.

The raucus student protests dominated the headlines during the spring and garnered unwanted international attention on Quebec. Even though Quebec students pays significantly less for post-secondary education than their counterparts in other provinces, that didn't stop them hitting in the streets in the thousands for increasingly disruptive protests.

In case you blinked and missed it, Prince George is now a student town, with about 4,200 UNBC students and about 5,000 CNC students, mostly based in Prince George but also scattered in the regional campuses. While the area's post-secondary student population has never flexed its political muscles, that doesn't mean it couldn't ever happen.

The estimated involvement of Quebec's student population during the height of the spring protests were about half. If half of the local students took to Prince George streets, their numbers alone would give them the resources to shut down businesses and streets, while overwhelming the resources of the Prince George RCMP to do much about it.

And that's if the protests were peaceful and law-abiding.

Even if Quebec's student activism wouldn't migrate across the country, it still has the potential to disrupt the upcoming provincial election and overshadow major issues facing Quebec voters, such as government and industry corruption, the never-ending sovereignty question and northern development.

Like B.C., Quebec's sparsely populated north is loaded with valuable natural resources. …

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