By Julie Williamson
Thousands of Canadian students are signing a nationwide petition to attract government attention to student debt, but Ryerson somehow missed the call.
The petition, circulated by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), requests reform to student aid programs and emphasizes courses of action such as a national work study program.
The signatures from students at universities across Canada were presented to federal Finance Minister Paul Martin and federal Human Resources Minister Pierre Pettigrew in Ottawa last Tuesday. CASA declared Feb. 2 National Student Debt Day.
Ryerson student representatives were not informed about the petition, which Harrison said has been circulating since June.
“I haven’t seen any kind of petition,” said RyeSAC president Angelo DeLuca. “I haven’t talked to anybody about that.”
Ryerson belongs to the Canadian Federation of Students lobby group, which has more than a million members. CASA represents 200,000 students across Canada.
“We like to support our own group as much as possible,” said DeLuca, “but if they wanted to talk to me about the petitions, I would be pleased to look at them.”
Even though Ryerson does not have a CASA branch, Harrison said it and all Canadian universities were invited to participate.
“We’re trying to bring the voices of students directly to politicians in a manner that has an achievable goal,” said Hoops Harrison, national director of CASA.
Demonstrations such as last week’s Student Day of Action may attract media attention, said Harrison, but do not have the political effect of petitions.
“We think this is the most productive way of having your voices heard.”