By Sarah Krichel
Over 40,000 students have signed a petition that will be presented today to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, calling for free education and action on student debt, according to the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario (CFS-O).
The list of demands includes a reduction and elimination of tuition fees for all students, conversion of student loans into non-repayable grants and the elimination of interest on student loans. The petition speaks for all students, including part-time and international.
According to Gayle McFadden, the national executive representative for the CFS-O, tomorrow’s National Day of Action will be taking place all over Canada, in 30 different cities. Tens of thousands of people are expected to participate across the country.
“It really shows that although in Ontario we’re paying the highest tuition fees in the country, this is a Canada-wide problem with next to no federal leadership on post-secondary education,” said McFadden.
For the last few weeks, thousands of pledges across the country have been collected by Fight the Fees campaigners for the petition. Tomorrow at Queen’s Park, 3,000 students are expected to show up to the National Day of Action, said Rajean Hoilett, CFS-O spokesperson.
“We want to see a conversation start about free education. For too long there’s been this silencing around free education. It’s been presented as this lofty ideal,” said Hoilett.
He said that there is a lack of political will in the country to act on free education.
“We’re here to put free education on the table, to demand this government, have constructive conversations, not about if we’ll deliver free education, but how we can deliver [it] to make sure we are seeing a system of post-secondary education is truly equitable and accessible,” Hoilett said.
McFadden said that following the Day of Action, they’ll continue to keep up the pressure for demands.
“Free education is one piece of accessible education, and we need to keep that fight going much after Nov. 2.”
The National Day of Action will take place tomorrow at Queen’s Park at 2 p.m.