Nova Scotia Students Seeking Federal Leadership on Education

Canadian Federation of Students

Students from Nova Scotia are in Ottawa this week meeting with Members of Parliament and Senators to call for a high-quality and accessible system of post-secondary education in Nova Scotia and across the country.

Students from CFS Nova Scotia protest the NDP government’s tuition increases in Winter 2011

“In Nova Scotia, we’ve seen our government make consecutive cuts to funding for higher education, which have been passed on to students and their families through increased tuition fee and student debt,” said Zac Quinlan, Executive Vice-President of the Mount Saint Vincent University Students’ Union. “We have come to Ottawa to call on our federal government to take meaningful steps to ensure students have access to affordable, high-quality post-secondary education.” Continue reading

CFS Report: “Public Education for the Public Good”

Last year, the Canadian Federation of Students completed and issued a cross-Canada vision for education.

Students protesting against high tuition fees, a long-running campaign of the CFS

Entitled “Public Education for the Public Good,” it is a coherent summation of the current state of post-secondary education and how easy it would be, but for a lack of political will among the powerful, to establish free post-secondary education in Canada.

Red Hammer is proud to provide a link for our readers: Continue reading

Statement from the YCL Central Executive Committee

Young Communist League of Canada

Education is a right, not a privilege!

The unity and militancy of the Quebec student struggle has begun to shake the rest of Canada. Across the country, the youth and student movement has been inspired and emboldened by the struggle in Quebec. Many have correctly concluded that the best form of solidarity is to step-up a united fight back at home.

The Young Communist League of Canada supports this growing mobilization, made stronger by work like the Casserole Night in Canada protests that heard post banging from Antigonish, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia; and here in Ontario, by solidarity tours like that organized by the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario and the Toronto student strike workshops which drew in over hundred eager participants.

Now is the time to start building a broad, militant and united fight back for accessible education, which is in crisis in our province:

• fees in Ontario are 23 higher than the cross-Canada average
• college tuition has outstripped inflation by 378%
• university tuition has outstripped inflation by 509%
• students graduate with an average debt of $37,000

The McGuinty Liberal government has just announced dangerous plans to compress four year degrees into three. In Canada and around the world we are seeing a new kind of education system where we pay more and learn less. As all students scramble to find work and pay our bills in an economic crisis of capitalism, indigenous peoples, women, and racialized communities face growing barriers to post-secondary education. International students are exploited as ‘cash-cows’. Continue reading

Study Highlights Provincial Tuition Fee Disparities

Canadian Federation of Students

Growing disparities between provincial tuition fee rates are leading to significant differences in public post-secondary education access across Canada, according to a report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“Without national standards for public post-secondary education, provinces are free to set tuition fee rates at whatever levels they see fit,” said Adam Awad, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Canada needs national standards for access, enforced by a post-secondary education act similar to the Canada Health Act.”

Continue reading

Quebec Movements Face Election Challenge

by Johan Boyden, Montreal

The community of Trois Pistoles along the northern banks of the St. Lawrence river is known for its picturesque beauty and historic links to Basque whalers, who travelled there hundreds of years ago from Spain. Now it has become a symbol of the pre‑election polarization and fear‑mongering going on in Québec.

A student protester in Quebec

An ecological festival in the town, put on by community activists including some who have been fighting high‑risk shale gas development in the region, wanted to invite student leaders to speak at their event.

A storm of controversy erupted. Mayor Jean‑Pierre Rioux met with organizers and threatened to withdraw all funding. “Around here, people think that [student leader] Gabriel Nadeau‑Dubois is […] like Maurice `Mom’ Boucher” one festival organizer said.

Mom Boucher is, of course, the convicted rapist, drug dealer and murderer who leads the Montreal Hells Angels. Continue reading

Students-Labour-Environmentalists Unite for “Quebec Spring”

by Marianne Breton Fontaine and Johan Boyden, based on a presentation given by Marianne, leader of the YCL in Quebec, to YCL student activists

After almost eighty days of protest, the Québec student strike is entering a record 11 weeks. After 250,000 students and their allies from community and labour groups flooded downtown Montreal with a river of people on March 22, another enormous demonstration was held on Earth Day, April 22.

Close to 300,000 people were in the street ‑ students, environmentalists, labour activists and others from diverse backgrounds. The rally, linked explicitly with the student struggle, showed the unprecedented mounting public anger against with the Charest Liberals and strong support for pro‑people and pro‑nature policies and a “Québec spring.”

Making History

The Québec student strike is one of the longest student protests in North American history and has seen some of the biggest mobilizations in Canadian history. Continue reading

Communists Condemn Austerity Budget in Ontario

People’s Voice

The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) has condemned the Ontario Budget, delivered March 27, as a massive attack on working people and the poor that will destroy tens of thousands of jobs, drive down wages, pensions, incomes and living standards. Combined with the austerity measures in the federal budget, it could push the province into another deep economic recession.

Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) leader Elizabeth Rowley

The Executive of the CPC (Ontario) also warned that the threat of legislated wage controls is a dangerous attack on free collective bargaining and on civil and democratic rights.

“There’s not much air between the Liberals and Tories when it comes to bashing workers and the poor, and restricting their rights. They both unerringly deliver the goods to Big Business, the banks and financial sector, and transnational corporations like Vale, US Steel, Caterpillar, Rio Tinto ‑ the source of the crisis in Ontario” said CPC (Ontario) leader Elizabeth Rowley. “Everything that falls in the way of bigger and bigger corporate profits is under acute attack.” Continue reading