By Adrienne Bernstein
Poutine: the classic Québécois dish of french fries, gravy and cheese curds. University of King’s College students added a fourth ingredient on March 22 – solidarity.
Action King’s, a society at the university for social justice and community involvement, showed support for the recent student strikes at Quebec universities by serving up the dish in the King’s quad.
Students in Quebec are facing a 75 per cent tuition hike. “It’s $325 a year for five years,” said Anna Bishop, former King’s Students’ Union Communications Vice President, at the rally.
The increase means students in Quebec will see $1625 added to their tuition by 2017. “It may not seem like a lot of money to us because we pay six grand a year, but for people in Quebec, it’s a big deal,” Bishop said.
Related story: Poutinerie brings Québécois cuisine to Halifax
The event was also a reminder to Nova Scotia students about their own rising tuition fees. Even though tuition remained capped in 2011, King’s student and Action King’s member Taylor Saracuse says students here should be worried. “It’s happening here too, not in such an extreme way, but it is happening.”
The event was publicized through Facebook and word-of-mouth. The advertisement was simple: eat free poutine to show solidarity with students striking in Quebec.
With record breaking heat for the middle of March, poutine wasn’t exactly a refreshing treat in the afternoon.
When noon arrived, however, a long line promptly formed in the quad.
“We figured a good way to get people out and spread the word was offer a little free poutine, in an awesome Québécois manner,” said Saracuse.
|interview with action kings
Taylor Saracuse talks about Action King’s support for Québécois students.
Action King’s also handed out little red squares – the symbol students in Quebec have adopted in their fight against the province.
As for the poutine, it may not have had traditional squeaky cheese curds or double fat-fried potatoes. But after the food was gone in half an hour, the message was clear: King’s students will stand together (and scarf down) for any tuition hikes.
King’s students talk about eating poutine in solidarity with their counterparts in Quebec.