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CFS holds National Day of Action to drop tuition fees

THE CANADIAN FEDERATION of Students (CFS) and its member schools will see thousands of students rally against high tuition fees across the country, including University of Ottawa participants who plan to march to Parliament Hill to make their message heard on Feb. 1.

“The day of action is a concentrated student action day that happens in the context of this campaign,” said Roxanne Dubois, CFS national chair, about the Education is a Right campaign. “The education system, as it is now, is becoming more and more challenging for students. We’re making a call toward an accessible, well-funded education system in Canada.”

Dubois said lowering tuition fees to make education accessible has always been one of the CFS’s goals, but the decision to hold the National Day of Action  originated at the CFS annual general meeting held in May of last year.

“We chose a day to focus [on] specific events, draw attention to all the issues we’re dealing with as students, and what we’d like to see in Canada to give everybody a fair chance to get an education,” said Dubois.

Paige Galette, vp communications of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), said recruitment began as early as September, and has continued throughout the year.

“Now that we’re in the new year there’s been an even bigger response,” she said. “I don’t think we could have asked for a better response so far.”

The SFUO have put up posters and promoted the event through social media to attract student participation. Galette said they also staged a flash mob in the Unicentre and the SITE cafeterias to promote the cause.

“There was a song that was created it was ‘One Day More’ from Les Miserables and we changed it to ‘One Debt More’,” said Galette. “From there, it was a flash mob around the song.”

On Feb. 1, students will gather on the Morisset Terrace before marching to Parliament. University of Ottawa students will be joined by participants from Carleton University, Algonquin College, La Cité collégiale, and Dawson College in Montreal.

“Some of the other demands are an increase to post-secondary education funding, as well as removing the two per cent cap that’s put on funding for First Nations and Aboriginal students when it comes to their post-secondary education,“ said Galette.

“The goal is to engage students,” said Dubois. “[To show] what it means to pay high tuition fees and what it would be to have lower tuition fees in every province. It’s also to engage communities and get that support in Canada for affordable education.”

To find out more about the National Day of Action or register to participate, go to Educationisaright.ca

—Jane Lytvynenko