Volume 94, Issue 51

Wednesday, November 29, 2000


Privatization bill takes another step

Internet introduces new domains

Students angry as Bell changes rate without notice

Campus Briefs

Virus' bark worse than bite - Lovebug briefly reappears on campus

Privatization bill takes another step

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

The Tory government is edging closer to finalizing its plans for allowing private universities into Ontario.

Next Tuesday, Queen's Park is set to hear the third reading of Bill 132, which would allow private educational institutions to gain entrance to the province.

The implications of the bill have sparked resistance among student movements such as the Canadian Federation of Students and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Association.

Kerry Kinkaid Delaney, spokesperson for Dianne Cunningham, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, confirmed the bill will likely be ordered for its third reading on Tuesday Nov. 5, but added the bill may not be called on the same day.

"The Minister herself has said she knows the initiative is controversial, but the government also knows it's critical to make the system more responsible to the needs of the students," she added. "The students need more choice and accessibility within the system."

Erin George, president of the Canadian Federation of Students, said the CFS is encouraging students to picket Cunningham's London office on Friday, as well as the legislature on Tuesday.

"With privatization, we will see the end of publicly funded, accessible post-secondary education," she noted. "There will be one for families who can afford $40,000 tuition and an underfunded public system."

George urged students to get informed about the privatization issue. "We need to fight the idea of private universities until it's gone."

Rick Telfer, vice president of the Western Society of Graduate Students, said various locales of the Canadian Federation of Students, have decided to seek further ways of protesting and picketing the government over the issue, including the planned picket of Cunningham's office this Friday.

"I'm not sure about the numbers for this Friday, but it's important to bring this issue to the media and the public," he said.

Telfer also said he expected some form of protest in Toronto, during the reading of the bill on Tuesday. "Students will take action in one form or another on Tuesday at Queen's Park. We're not going to back down."

Telfer said other student groups in the province have already given up the battle and adapted to the government's policy by promising to hold the Tories accountable to student interests when private universities enter the province.

"Post-secondary education is always harder to sell to the public," he added. "We're hoping to send the message that this government isn't accountable. We need to make this [privatization issue] one more brick in the wall of putting the Harris government out of power."

Ryan Parks, OUSA president, said his group is working to ensure that no public funding goes towards private institutions in the form of operating funding, tax breaks or land grants.

"Our first principle is we oppose private institutions, but by saying we'd like to minimize the damage does not mean we condone it. We need to look at ways to solve the problems. Lobbying is a very different approach. It can be frustrating because we don't see immediate results, but it's the most pragmatic approach in dealing with the government we have right now."

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