McGill feels charter impact

McGill principal Suzanne Fortier
Angelica Montgomery/CJAD

McGill's principal says she's already hearing of professors and employees who are planning to leave the province in the wake the secularism charter debate.

The university addressed the subject last night during a regular public debrief it presents to a National Assembly committee once every three years.

"We're hearing already people wondering if they should find employment elsewhere, or students in recruitment wondering whether they should come to Quebec," says principal Suzanne Fortier.

She told the committee that some employees plan to look for work at other universities during the Christmas break.

McGill also polls its professors on whether they plan to leave. "We saw this year a larger number of professor who've indicated to their deans the possibility that they are thinking of leaving," the executive principal Anthony Masi.

The Parti Quebecois' Daniel Breton noted that nearly every body and group at McGill is practically unanimous against the charter, while there is debate elsewhere.

"I can't stop my self from being surprised that in a intellectual university environment, there's unanimity," he said.

He later added that McGill adapted well to bill 101, and he can't help but have the same reflection when it comes to the charter.

At its limit

McGill also told the committee that its financial elastic is being stretched to its limit, and it said another wave of cuts would be disaster.

"The walls of McGill are cracking, and that's as true in the real sense as in the figurative one," said Fortier.

The university is already cutting expenses by 45 million dollars for 2014. And, it had its credit rating drop, which has a financial impact on the cost of the university's loans.

The principal also mentioned that all other universities in Quebec, except Concordia and McGill, are able to gain extra government funding through "particular missions."

The PQ is promising to put billions more into the system in the years to come.
Fortier wants to be able to increase tuition for out-of-province students.

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