OTTAWA, Nov. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Federation of Students is raising the alarm following annual Lobby Week efforts on parliament hill this week.
"We're worried that our federal leaders are not taking student issues seriously," said Jessica McCormick, the Federation's National Chairperson. "We presented three clear policy recommendations to over 120 MPs and senators, and with few exceptions have received zero commitments to fix our higher education system. While lawmakers claim to be focusing Canada's economic recovery we have not seen a strategy to address some of our core issues such as youth unemployment, underemployment and crippling debt load."
The Federation took to Parliament Hill this week armed with new polling data demonstrating overwhelmingly that Canadians are in support of accessible public education. In a recent Abacus Data survey, 62 per cent of respondents said the federal government isn't doing enough to ensure that qualified students have the chance to attain a post-secondary education. The same poll indicated that 61 per cent of respondents want the federal government to set conditions on transfer payments to ensure provinces use education money as intended.
Further, 72 per cent of Canadians said young people take on too much debt to get a post-secondary education and that 77 per cent oppose increases in tuition fees, and of those, 40 per cent support a reduction from current levels.
"The survey speaks for itself. Canadians are looking for bold, decisive action on post-secondary funding," said McCormick. "With a federal election on the horizon Canadians need to hear that their federal government cares about Canada's long-term economic health and understands that education and training are a vital part of the equation."
This week's meetings together with the Federation's new campaign, itsnosecret.ca, are two ways the organization is educating Canadians ahead of next year's election. A new focus has been placed on identifying and mobilizing voters and ensuring that post-secondary funding be included in party election platforms.
"It's critically important that all Canadians understand the major issues facing students of all ages and that 15 years of neglect has taken its toll on the Canada's higher education system," McCormick said. "Unemployment, skyrocketing debt loads and underfunding aren't only student issues – they affect all Canadians."
The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organization. It is composed of over 75 university and college students' associations with a combined membership of over one half million students in all ten provinces.
Polling results are taken from an Abacus Data online survey conducted October 2 to 7, 2014, among a random sample of 1,140 adult residents of Canada. The poll was commissioned by the Canadian Federation of Students. National results are considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students
For further information: Media contact: Caitlin Kealey 613-818-7956; Regional representatives available upon request.