Students protest tuition hikes

Members of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario protested against tuition increases on April 6 at the constituency office of Glen Murray, the provincial minister of training, colleges and universities.

Picketers were posted along roadsides at 514 Parliament St., displaying orange signs and asking for support from drivers and passers-by. Car horns honked in response.

Although the Easter holiday was right around the corner, the students said they were anxious to have their voices heard.

One member of Ontario and Quebec Students for Free Education, Andrew Ursel, was very vocal about what he said are Ontario’s ever-rising tuition fees.

“They hiked up tuition by five per cent a couple of days ago. So this would be the seventh tuition fee increase they’ve done,” he said, and referring to Murray, added: “We figured we’d make him talk to us and let him understand that there are a lot of students out there who really don’t like the fact that tuition fees are going up. Not a lot of people are going to stand for this after a while. We’re just giving them an early warning. It (the protest) is just a one-day thing but hardly the only action we are doing. We went in to occupy their office and a lot of their staff just left or gave up.”

The protesters said that tuition in Ontario is currently the highest in Canada and rates have been increasing by five per cent over the past six years. According to a news release they posted on the Canada Newswire website, students in Ontario collectively owe about $9 billion in student debt. The Canadian Federation of Students would like to see a tuition freeze for the 2012-2013 school year.