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Geopolitics

Why Are The Strikes In Quebec So French?

L'ACTUALITÉ.COM (Canada)

As talks between the Quebec government and student unions on university tuition hikes continue in Montreal, recent figures on the number of striking students per university show a deep Anglo-French divide. The student bodies in Quebec's English-speaking universities are much less active in the protests.

On his blog for L'Actualité.com, Anglophone writer and filmaker Josh Freed cites several reasons for this discrepancy in the bilingual Canadian province. First is what he calls the "McGill factor." McGill university is one of the best universities worldwide, and it "needs to put in place higher tuition to stay competitive with other Canadian universities that are much richer," he writes. And the McGill students are happy to be part of this elite.

But there are also a set of underlying cultural reasons that can help explain the gulf between the French and English attitudes. According to surveys, Anglophone students are more attached to university degrees than Francophone ones, which may explain why they are reluctant to strike on class time.

They also consider themselves lucky, because they have stronger links with other Anglophone areas of Canada where tuition is much higher (approximately $5,000 for the University of Toronto, compared to only $2,519 in Quebec). Anglophone students have weaker ties to French ideals like free higher education, whereas the Francophone community strongly identifies with France's traditions of social rights struggles.

In the end, only the heavily criticized law 78 restricting demonstration rights in Quebec might unite Anglophone and Francophone students, writes Freed.


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Economy

Why More Countries Are Banning Foreigners From Buying Real Estate

Canada has become the most recent country to impose restrictions on non-residents buying real estate, arguing that wealthy investors from other countries are pricing out would-be local homeowners. But is singling out foreigners the best way to face a troubled housing market?

Photo of someone walking by houses in Toronto

A person walks by a row of houses in Toronto

Shaun Lavelle, Riley Sparks, Ginevra Falciani

PARIS — It’s easy to forget that soon after the outbreak of COVID-19, many real estate experts were forecasting that housing prices could face a once-in-generation drop. The logic was that a shrinking pandemic economy would combine with people moving out of cities to push costs down in a lasting way.

Ultimately, in most places, the opposite has happened. Home prices in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand rose between 25% and 50% since the outbreak of COVID-19.

This explosion was driven by a number of factors, including low interest rates, supply chain issues in construction and shortages in available properties caused in part by investors buying up large swathes of housing stock.

Yet some see another culprit deserving of particular attention: foreign buyers.

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