Ontario Students to McGuinty: Investing in education is the key to economic stability

    TORONTO, Oct. 22 /CNW/ - Students delivered over fifty thousand petitions
this morning demanding that the government reduce tuition fees. The signatures
were collected during the first month-and-a-half of school at institutions
across Ontario and they continue to pour in.
    The presentation was made just hours before the release of a revised
Ontario budget that has been promised to address the current economic downturn
which faces the province.
    "Now is the time for our Premier to invest in the economic well-being of
Ontario. Now is the time to drop fees," said Shelley Melanson, chairperson for
the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Increasing access to
post-secondary education is the key to building a strong economic foundation
for Ontario. It's a simple formula," she said.
    Students unwound thousands of petition sheets on the lawn of Queen's Park
in Toronto and presented tens of thousands of petitions to the constituency
office of Premier Dalton McGuinty in Ottawa. The petitions were signed by over
50,000 students calling for a greater investment to be made in Ontario's
colleges and universities.
    Statistics Canada data released on October 9 indicated that tuition fees
in Ontario increased at the highest dollar amount in Canada. This has pushed
Ontario's tuition fees for an undergraduate degree to the second highest
across the country.
    "In uncertain economic times, people are feeling the pain of high
personal debt amounts. There's no logic in saddling a generation of students
with debt while at the same time looking to these students to help solve the
economic crisis of the future," said Melanson. "Education needs to be
affordable if Ontario is going to have a chance competing in Canada's
knowledge-based economy," she said.
    On November 5, students from across Ontario will demonstrate their
opposition to these fee hikes and call on the government to develop a plan to
replace McGuinty's Reaching Higher plan for tuition fee increases with a
concrete strategy to drop fees

    The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000
college and university students at 35 students' unions across the province.

For further information:

For further information: Shelley Melanson, Chairperson: (416) 925-3825
or (416) 882-9927 (cell); Seamus Wolfe, Student Federation of the University
of Ottawa, (613) 816-7483 (cell); Joel Duff, Ontario Organiser: (416) 925-3825
or (416) 707-0349 (cell)

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