OTTAWA, June 27 /CNW Telbec/ - As the G8 and G20 Summit weekend draws to a close, students are left questioning the value of the meetings given the incredible cost and the failure to achieve any substantial progress on numerous issues.
"Globally coordinated policies that invest in people and the planet are critical to the world's future," said David Molenhuis, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Unfortunately Canada's G8 and G20 Summits fell billions short on necessary financial commitments for maternal and child health or progress on addressing climate change nor did they justify their billion dollar price tag, or prove why these elite clubs need to exist."
On the eve of the Summit weekend, students' organisations from around the world, representing more than 150 million students, released a statement calling for a commitment to education and public services. The statement contains a set of principles centred on the importance of education and other public services in building global equality and economic prosperity, and the responsibility of all countries to work together to uphold them. The statement calls on G8 and G20 leaders to propose bold action to: combat global poverty, make real progress to prevent global warming, and transform the global economic and financial system to create a fair and sustainable world.
"Students are highly critical of the Summit's massive security costs and the sweeping powers granted to police in an unprecedented and unjustified intrusion on civil liberties," added Molenhuis. "The $1.3 billion dollars spent on the Summits could have turned every dollar that will be loaned to students through the Canada Student Loans Program next year into a non-repayable grant."
While many believe that the cost of the summits will top $2 billion, the final tally is not yet known. It is expected that security will have cost at least $1 billion. By comparison the Canada Student Loan Program expects to loan out approximately $1.2 billion in the coming year. Prior to the summits, the Government of Ontario granted wide sweeping powers to police. During Summit weekend over 500 people were arrested, including at least two journalists, many of them for exercising their legal rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
The global student statement on the G8 and G20 is available for download at www.cfs-fcee.ca/g8g20statement.pdf
Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's oldest and largest students' organisation, uniting over one-half million students from all ten provinces.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students
For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact: Noah Stewart, Spokesperson (Toronto - G20 Media Centre), 613-889-7395 (cellular); David Molenhuis, National Chairperson (Ottawa), 613-232-7394 (office)