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By Anne Jones

Ryerson Students’ Union thinks the premier of Ontario has been shoving his hands too deep into the pockets of students, and they’ve dramatized it for the world to see.

The union’s new YouTube video campaign against the high price of tuition launched last week. The eight videos being released daily are a take on Capital One’s popular “Hand in My Pocket” commercials.

They are being broadcast in anticipation of next Wednesday’s National Day of Action, a protest fighting the provincial government’s thawing of last year’s tuition freeze. The first video, posted on Jan. 24, features a man dressed up as Premier Dalton McGuinty rifling through the coat pockets of Ryerson students.

The following ads stay loyal to the Capital One commercials and feature the same grim-faced McGuinty impersonator trailing students. The RSU promised the mysterious man under the mask that his identity would be kept a secret. Nora Loreto, RSU’s vice-president education, promises the funniest videos are yet to come.

“The campaign is a way for us to engage students in a way that’s a little out of the ordinary,” she said. On the day it launched, Loreto spoke about the campaign on CBC Radio One’s program Here and Now last Thursday.

Loreto said YouTube seemed the most logical avenue to promote the cause to 20,000 students. Tait Simpson, communications officer for Liberal leader Stéphane Dion said YouTube isn’t the tool of choice for his campaigns, but the medium is successful for younger audiences. “For national campaigns, the numbers show more people get their information from traditional media sources, but we’ve put a lot…into our party website,” he said.

YouTube also features a variety of video produced by the Canadian Federation of Students.

Jesse Greener, the CFS’ Ontario Representative, thinks the RSU’s campaign is great. “Anything that gets students engaged in a fun and innovative way is already a good thing.”

The Ontario government cancelled the tuition fee freeze in March 2006, which sent fees climbing between four and eight per cent. Students have submitted more than 50,000 petition signatures to the Ontario legislature since September protesting the increase.

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