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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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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

When Did Putin "Turn" Evil? That's Exactly The Wrong Question

Look back over the past two decades, and you'll see Vladimir Putin has always been the man revealed by the Ukraine invasion, an evil and sinister dictator. The Russian leader just managed to mask it, especially because so many chose to see him as a typically corrupt and greedy strongman who could be bribed or reasoned with.

Putin arrives for a ceremony to accept credentials from 24 foreign ambassadors at the Grand Kremlin Palace on Sept. 20.

Sergiy Gromenko*

-OpEd-

KYIV — The world knows that Vladimir Putin has power, money and mistresses. So why, ask some, wasn't that enough for him? Why did he have to go start another war?

At its heart, this is the wrong question to ask. For Putin, military expansion is not an adrenaline rush to feed into his existing life of luxury. On the contrary, the shedding of blood for the sake of holding power is his modus operandi, while the fruits of greed and corruption like the Putin Palace in Gelendzhik are more like a welcome bonus.

In the last year, we have kept hearing rhetorical questions like “why did Putin start this war at all, didn't he have enough of his own land?” or “he already has Gelendzhik to enjoy, why fight?” This line of thinking has resurfaced after missile strikes on Ukrainian power grids and dams, which was regarded by many as a simple demonstration of terrorism. Such acts are a manifestation of weakness, some ask, so is Putin ready to show himself weak?

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However, you will not arrive at the correct answer if the questions themselves are asked incorrectly. For decades, analysts in Russia, Ukraine, and the West have been under an illusion about the nature of the Russian president's personal dictatorship.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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