Students reaffirm demand for reversal of “Student Choice Initiative” following dishonest PC fundraising email

CBJ Newsmakers

TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ontario’s largest student organization is demanding that the Ford Government reverse its plan to attack independent, democratic students’ unions in wake of a deceptive and incendiary PC fundraising email.

“This shoddy email tries to discredit students’ unions because the PC’s can’t honestly articulate why they have taken this ham-fisted, anti-democratic action in the first place,” said Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “Students and young people overwhelmingly hold progressive values and believe in a more equitable future. We are a threat to Doug Ford’s power, that is why students and their students’ unions are being singled out”. 

On January 17, 2019, the government announced its far-reaching move to make democratically voted on students’ union dues optional. In a fundraising e-mail sent from Premier Doug Ford to PC supporters yesterday, Ford presented a cringe-worthy defense of the widely-condemned “Student Choice Initiative”, by saying “I think we all know what kind of crazy Marxist nonsense student unions get up to.”

Students, faculty, labour unions and post-secondary education experts have spoken out against the “Student Choice Initiative”, warning that it will destroy valuable services and programs on campus. Students’ unions serve students in a number of significant ways, including:

  • Running essential support services such as peer support, equity centres, sexual violence support centres and food banks;
  • Promoting advocacy campaigns such as “Consent is Mandatory”, “Fairness for International Students” and “Fight the Fees”
  • Fund departmental students’ associations and student clubs;
  • Providing academic support and advocacy services;
  • Creating volunteer and good job opportunities for students;
  • Operating non-profit commercial services, such as book stores, restaurants, cafes and food services.

“Ford’s true motivation behind this regulatory change has become blatantly obvious,” said Alideeb. “His inner circle is ideologically opposed to the type of support services students’ unions run, like pride centres and Indigenous student centres, and our advocacy campaigns that promote causes like accessible education and consent.”

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the largest student organization in Ontario, representing over 350,000 college and university students.

For more information contact:
Ian McRae, Government Relations and Policy Coordinator: (office) 416-925-3825 or (cell) 306-852-0128
Nour Alideeb, Chairperson: 416-925-3825

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