Thomas demands answers on colleges' presence in Saudi Arabia

TORONTO, Jan. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - As more facts come to light on Algonquin College's questionable presence in Saudi Arabia, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is seeking answers from Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Reza Moridi.

"Each passing day brings more troubling revelations about Algonquin's business dealings in Saudi Arabia. I first wrote Premier Kathleen Wynne on this matter 10 months ago. I'm still waiting for an answer. In fact, there hasn't been one word from this government about its colleges' deals with the Saudis.

"No doubt, the Liberals have been crossing their fingers that this would all blow over so they could just carry on starving community colleges. But with their federal cousins determined to sell arms to a regime that beheads its opposition, the inconvenient question of doing business with Saudi Arabia isn't going away."

Jack Wilson, Vice-President of OPSEU Local 415 and a professor at Algonquin, noted that the international conglomerate Pearson TQ had already pulled out of three campuses for financial reasons. "It makes you wonder why a publicly funded institution thinks it can make a go of it, when a for-profit can see the writing on the wall."

Thomas said it's high time the government broke its silence. "It appears that Algonquin failed in its due diligence. What about ministry staff? Did they ask the pertinent questions? Did they inform the minister of the Saudi deals? Who gave the green light?

"What will Minister Moridi do now? Will he tell Algonquin and Niagara to shutter their doors in Saudi Arabia? Will the Liberals stop forcing Ontario's colleges to seek revenue sources through offshore boondoggles? Or will they adequately fund our colleges so they can focus on providing the skills that bring jobs and prosperity to the province?

"How many mass executions will it take to bring our college faculty back to Ontario?"

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: Jack Wilson, 613-727-4723, ext. 7716

RELATED LINKS
http://www.opseu.org

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