Canadian students protest against tuition fees

November 6th, 2008 - 9:46 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Nov 6 (IANS) Thousands of students in Toronto and a dozen other major cities put down their pens and took to the streets Wednesday to seek end to tuition fees.They also marched to the provincial assembly here to give a petition to the government.

Calling on Premier Dalton McGuinty to drop tuition fees, students took out rallies in Toronto, Ottawa, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Mississauga, London, Guelph, Peterborough, Hamilton, Scarborough, Kingston and Windsor in Canada’s biggest province of Ontario.

“Since McGuinty took office 2003, tuition fees in Ontario have gone from fourth place to second highest in Canada,” said Shelley Melanson, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students in Ontario.

She said, “Students are fed up with McGuinty simply paying lip service to accessibility and we are demanding concrete action to drop fees.”

The government cancelled a popular tuition fee freeze in 2006, replacing it with an 8 percent annual or 36 percent four yearly hike in tuition fees after 2009.

However, the deadline looming, students submitted a memorandum signed by 60,000 to the government last month, urging it to drop fees, and expand grants.

“At a time when McGuinty is announcing an economic downturn in Ontario, he is allowing tuition fee increases to outpace inflation while average graduating student debt rapidly approaches $28,000,” said Melanson.

“Seventy percent of new jobs require a post-secondary education and the best way for Ontario to invest in new opportunities is to invest in a knowledge-based economy,” she said.

“We are hoping that the demand to drop fees, coming from thousands of protestors and tens of thousands of petition signatories, is impossible to ignore,” she said.

The Canadian Federation of Students is the national body of more than 500,000 college and university students.

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