Quebec shelves Dawson College expansion project

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative
Quebec shelves Dawson College expansion project

Triggers backlash from English-speaking community

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government was met with outrage from the English-speaking community after it was revealed that the province is moving on from a longstanding expansion project at Dawson College in Montreal.

Quebec Premier François Legault was asked about the government’s decision during question period of Monday’s COVID-19 update press conference. He told reporters that there are too many projects right now, and there’s a limited capacity to building new infrastructure.

“We have to remember that only 50 per cent of students at Dawson are Anglophones, so I think that if we have to choose a priority it’s better to expand French colleges before adding capacity to Dawson,” Legault said, adding there are many projects going on in other colleges.

However, the CAQ government promised to support the Dawson College expansion project back in 2020. The project, which was approved by the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP) government in 2018, was supposed to help the college address its crowded campus.
In an internal memo to the Dawson community, Diane Gauvin, the college’s director general, said the “long-planned and long-delayed project” was a dealt a serious blow late in the afternoon on Jan. 28 after a “hastily called meeting” by the minister of higher education.

“The minister, Danielle McCann, informed the college that its infrastructure project would not go forward. The government has chosen to prioritize, in her words, “francophone” students. She urged Dawson to explore other options, such as leasing,” wrote Gauvin.

Dawson College is the largest cegep in Quebec, but it has suffered a space shortage for several years. According to Gauvin, the college would need another 11,200 square metres to accommodate its students, or “the equivalent of more than 10 typical office floors.”
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