Dawson College Expansion Project faces ‘severe setback’ as province changes course – Montreal | The Canadian News

Dawson College suffered a “serious setback” in its expansion plans after a “hastily called” meeting with the province’s higher education minister last week, the Montreal-based institution said in an internal memo.

Diane Gauvin, the director general of the English-language CEGEP, wrote in a letter issued on Sunday about the meeting.

She said Danielle McCann, minister of higher education, last Friday “informed the college that its infrastructure project was not continuing”. Gauvin said she was “extremely disappointed” with the decision.

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“The government has chosen, in her words, to prioritize ‘francophone’ students,” Gauvin wrote. “She encouraged Dawson to explore other options, such as leasing.”

McCann spokeswoman Valérie Chamula confirmed the higher education ministry met with college officials last week and asked them to work on “alternative options”. A final decision on whether to expand the extension will be made in the spring, she added.

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Dawson College, located in downtown Montreal, has plans to build a new pavilion due to a lack of available space. According to the institution, the expansion has been underway for about seven years.

In 2020, Prime Minister François Legault introduced a comprehensive infrastructure bill to revive the province’s economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill aimed to accelerate several projects, including Dawson’s expansion.

However, the project was a source of controversy within Quebec’s political sphere. The Parti Québécois questioned why that money was made available to develop the college while it could be used to strengthen French-speaking CEGEPs.

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Gauvin of Dawson College, however, argues that the CEGEP educated Quebecers “from every background” in the course of its existence.

“The college will analyze its options and determine the best course of action,” Gauvin said in the internal memo. “We will keep the Dawson community informed as the situation develops.”

“Completely upset”

Shirin Hinojosa Violante, vice president of services and sustainability at the Dawson Student Union, said there is a need for additional space at the college.

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“We absolutely need it, to be honest,” she said of the proposed expansion.

Getting from class to class during peak hours can be difficult because there are so many students, she explained.

“Have you ever seen American football? “There is someone with the ball and they all have to tackle differently just to get to the other side,” said Violante. “It’s about what happens every time you try to get out of class to another one.

“If you want to get anywhere at all, you have to get out early first, because there is no way you can rush anywhere. As soon as everyone leaves the class, there is a big, big traffic jam. ”

Click to play video: 'English CEGEPS talks about Bill 96'

English CEGEPS talks about Bill 96

English CEGEPS talks on Bill 96 – 5 October 2021

The Quebec Community Groups Network, an organization that advocates for English-language rights in the province, said it was “completely upset” at the government’s decision to change course.

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The organization’s president said the “new facility is critical to significantly improve the learning environment for students” at Dawson College – and called on the county to reconsider.

“The cancellation of this project represents another example of the Legault Government’s persistent and relentless attack on the viability of Quebec’s English – speaking community,” said Marlene Jennings.

with files from Global News’ Anne Leclair and Gloria Henriquez

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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