TORONTO, March 26, 2012 /CNW/ - On the eve of the Ontario budget, Ottawa students have occupied Dalton McGuinty's constituency office demanding the government follow through on its election promise and reduce tuition fees. Earlier this month, the government announced that tuition fees will increase by 5% for the seventh consecutive year - or 71% since 2006 - even though Ontario is already the most expensive place to go to university or college. This is particularly difficult for aboriginal students - whose land all our campuses and McGuinty's office are on - where federal funding has been capped at 2% increases and in the face of a completely shameful lack of provincial assistance or even aboriginal PSE access strategy.
Every election, the Ontario Liberals make an encouraging post-secondary education (PSE) promise, implement a half-hearted version, only to quickly revoke it - and students have had enough! While the government recently implemented a tuition fee rebate, it is only available to less than 30% of students and comes along with an elimination of their last election PSE gimmick, the 'Textbook and Technology Grant', as well as the elimination of $42 million in graduate student research funding. Moreover, this latest vote-buying ploy is high on Don Drummond's list to be cut or reduced and students have no reason to believe it won't be.
In Quebec, students have stood firm in the face of regressive tuition fee policies. Ontario students are in wholehearted solidarity with the Quebec student strike and draw inspiration from the creativity and resolve of all those involved. There is an understanding that now, more than ever, students need to support each other in defending public education that is accessible and of high quality.
The students occupying Premier McGuinty's office demand the Ontario budget include:
- An immediate implementation of the promise of a 30% tuition fee reduction for all students
- The creation of a provincial aboriginal PSE access strategy, produced jointly with aboriginal student representatives
- A re-establishment of graduate post-residency fees and all cut research funding
- The extending of OSAP eligibility to part-time students
- An improvement to Ontario's last-place student-faculty ratio by hiring more tenure-track professors
Supporters, join outside to show support or call: 1795 Kilborn Avenue Ottawa, ON
For further information:
Media: Taiva Tegler 613.600.5602