Students give Colleges and Universities Minister Bentley the "pink slip"

    TORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ - College and university students gathered at the
downtown office of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities today
to mark the anniversary of the McGuinty government's cancellation of the
tuition fee freeze with a rally to express their anger and frustration.
    The students in attendance delivered over 5,000 "pink slips", stuffed
into ballot boxes, to Minister Chris Bentley, declaring him "fired" for
failing the students and parents of Ontario. "Students are giving Minister
Bentley the pink slip because we are fed up with not being represented by this
government," said Jesse Greener, Ontario Chairperson of the Canadian
Federation of Students. "By increasing college and university tuition fees up
to 36% over the next four years, Bentley is eliminating opportunities for many
young people.
    "The Ontario Liberals got elected on a platform promising to make higher
education more affordable," said Hamid Osman, Vice-President External of the
York Federation of Students. "By replacing the tuition fee freeze with
dramatic fee increases, they broke their promise to voters and are driving up
student debt."
    "Ontario students are already paying some of the highest fees in the
country," said Emily Shelton, Vice-President External of the University of
Toronto Students' Union. "Minister Bentley and Dalton McGuinty are hell-bent
on increasing law tuition fees at the University of Toronto to over $20,000 a
year. That's a price-tag that only rich people can afford."
    The "pink slips" delivered today also included a pledge, signed by
students, to vote in the October 10 provincial election only for candidates
who commit to reduce tuition fees. Through these pledges, students' unions are
collecting names, phone numbers and email addresses to create a phone and
email bank to help pull out the student vote this fall.
    "If Minister Bentley is going to continue to ignore students and public
opinion then we have no choice but to put all of our effort into holding him
accountable at the polls," said Nora Loreto, Vice-President Education of the
Ryerson Students' Union.

    The Canadian Federation of Students, Canada's national student
organisation, unites more than one half-million students from coast to coast,
and nearly 300,000 students in Ontario. On February 7, 2007, tens of thousands
of students across Canada participated in a nation-wide Day of Action to
reduce tuition fees.

For further information:

For further information: Jesse Greener, Ontario Chairperson, (416)
925-3825, or (416) 301-5747 (cell); Célia Jutras, Ontario Francophone
Representative, (416) 828-0476 (cell); Joel Duff, Ontario Organiser, (416)
925-3825, or (416) 707-0349 (cell)

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