By Andrea Maclean
The Canadian Forces are searching Ryerson’s halls for new recruits, and some students want them out.
Opponents say the Forces, who enlist students at campus career fairs and advertise in Ryerson’s washrooms, are targeting students in financial need. The Forces offer recruits subsidized tuition and provide benefits such as health and dental coverage.
“We were hoping to educate as many students as possible about the priorities of the federal government for military spending as opposed to lowering tuition,” said Ryerson Students’ Union President Nora Loreto.
Loreto and about 10 others picketed the Force’s booth at the April 3 Grab-a- Grad fair in the buisiness building.
Demonstrators wore shirts with fake blood stains and handed out thousands of anti-war flyers and buttons with messages like “education not occupation” and “drop fees not bombs.”
“I had a student come up to me and say, ‘I left my home country because I was being drafted’ so having these people here is a problem,” Loreto said.
However, school officials expect the Forces to return to future career fairs. “They’re pretty consistent in terms of coming back and recruiting,” said Ian Ingles, Ryerson’s employment services coordinator who runs the career fairs.
A Forces recruitment officer who attended the career fair said that the Forces have been coming to Ryerson for as long as he could remember. “It’s very effective for getting recruits,” he said. This wasn’t the first time that he had to deal with demonstrators protesting. “We had the same thing happen at York University,” he said.
According to Ingles, the Forces representatives had no problems with the demonstration.
“It was done in a respectful manner. At the end of the day they accepted it, there were no hard feelings. It was done appropriately,” he said.
Ingles said the demonstrators conducted themselves suitably. “There wasn’t any shouting or destruction of property. They have the right to protest and they did it appropriately.”
Still, Loreto said they received a lot of support.
“I think it was extremely effective. It’s been a while since I’ve had an overwhelming response from students.”