Volume 94, Issue 54

Tuesday, December 5, 2000


City welcomes new mayor at meeting - DeCicco sworn in

UWO plans for core campus

York students might sue admin

Tim Hortons opens as strike finally ends

Vandals paint Saugeen in act of mischief

CFS protest draws attention to Bill 132

Queen's votes down de-regulation

Corroded Disorder

CFS protest draws attention to Bill 132

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

"Tory, Tory, Tory, out! out! out!"

A ringing cry of protesters could be heard, as students gathered last Friday afternoon to protest at the Waterloo Street constituency office of Dianne Cunningham, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

The protest, organized by Rick Telfer, deputy chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students' National Graduate Council, was done in opposition to Bill 132, which would allow private universities to operate in the province of Ontario.

"Private universities mean one system for the rich and one system for the rest of us," Telfer shouted to a crowd of approximately 15 supporters gathered in front of the office. "Education is a right."

Telfer said if the government was serious about increasing access to post-secondary education, they should work towards freezing tuition fees, ending de-regulation, developing a system of need-based grants and re-investing in public institutions.

The Tories have promised no public funding will go to private universities, Telfer said, adding American private universities have a history of siphoning money from the public system in the form of shared library resources, tax incentives and research funding. He said the Tories have maintained that the Ontario Student Assistance Program is the only type of public funding which will be made available to the new private institutions.

"It is evident the Tories haven't done their homework on this bill," said Nicole Nelson, a second-year Western scholars electives student who attended the protest.

Deb Matthews, a Western graduate student in Sociology, also involved in the protest, said private universities would create an educational system of haves and have-nots. "I think two-tier education is just as damaging as two-tier health care and now is the time to make out voices heard," she added.

Kerry Kinkaid Delaney, spokesperson for Minister Dianne Cunningham, said a committee on Bill 132 will report in front of the legislature today, adding the bill could then be ordered for its third reading.

Delaney stressed that although the bill may be ordered today, it may not necessarily be called and voted upon. "I can't clarify when that will be."

Despite any negative attention the bill has received, Delaney said the Ministry has received some positive feedback. "Many, many positive comments have come through the Ministry. But, the people who don't like it don't like it a lot. The Minister knows Bill 132 is controversial, but we want to develop a range of choice for working students and students with families, who are trying to upgrade their education."

Telfer said the Canadian Federation of Students will continue to build a student movement against privatization. "Today we stand for equal opportunity in an unequal society," he said.

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