Students Say: "Bob Rae is a Disaster for Affordable Public Education"

    Urge Toronto Centre Liberals not to Nominate Bob Rae

    TORONTO, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - Bob Rae, a champion of higher tuition fees and
deeper debt for Ontario's students, is an unpalatable candidate for the
Liberals in the riding of Toronto Centre, according to the Canadian Federation
of Students. Both George Brown College and Ryerson University have campuses in
the riding and many students from Toronto's eight colleges and universities
live in Toronto Centre.
    "Bob Rae has been a disaster for affordable education," said Jesse
Greener, Ontario Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students. "His
record as Premier speaks for itself and his most recent campaign to deregulate
tuition fees hasn't won him any friends among students and their families."
    "As Ontario Premier, Bob Rae ushered in a decade of unprecedented tuition
fee increases that out-paced the rate of inflation more than five times over,"
said Greener. "Rae increased tuition fees every year he was in office, even
increasing fees twice in the same year."
    Rae also eliminated all non-repayable, need-based grants in Ontario,
making it the only jurisdiction in North America and Europe without government
grants for low-income students. During the fifteen years that followed,
Ontario's students had to rely on loans as their only means of financial aid.
As a result, average student debt for a four-year program tripled to over
    "More than 80% of Canadians think tuition fees are already too high and
it's clear that Bob Rae's plans for higher education are out of touch with the
vast majority of voters," said Greener. "At a time when access to
post-secondary education is crucial for the economic success of our country,
Bob Rae would be a disaster representing any university riding."
    In 2004, Rae was commissioned by the Ontario Liberal government to review
post-secondary education. His Review fell into controversy from the outset
when Rae made public statements indicating his desire to see unregulated
tuition fee increases before even beginning consultations.
    "Rae has only ever had one conclusion on his mind, so it was no surprise
that he has consistently ignored student and community input and implemented
an elitist vision for post-secondary education," said Greener. "We're putting
Bob Rae on notice that students will go door-to-door, if that's what it takes
to stop him."

    The Canadian Federation of Students, Canada's national students' union,
unites more than 500,000 college and university students from coast to coast,
and 300,000 students in Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Jesse Greener, Ontario Chairperson at (416)
925-3825 or (416) 301-5747 (cell); Joel Duff, Ontario Organiser at (416)
925-3825 or (416) 707-0349 (cell)

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