Central Committee, YCL-LJC
This June, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) - National General Assembly voted in favour of a Day of Action on November 2nd, the first day of action since 2012. The Young Communist League - Ligue de Jeunesse Communiste (YCL-LJC) supports the call for a Pan-Canadian Day of Action on November 2nd and calls upon student militants, with the support of labour, to build momentum towards this date, and beyond, for free education and a Federal Post-Secondary Education Act.
Public education is under attack across Canada. The government in Newfoundland and Labrador has ended the freeze on tuition fees and reintroduced student loans instead of grants, while making cuts to Memorial University in its recent budget. In Nova Scotia, increases in government funding to Post-Secondary Education are capped at 1% (well below inflation), and universities are now allowed to increase tuition fees by more than 3% a year, with the excuse of making “market adjustments.” In Ontario, the Liberal government is committed to a Funding Formula Review, that will be disastrous unless students mobilize in a province that already has the highest tuition fees in the country. In Quebec, tuition fees are increasing with inflation while the Liberal government there cuts funding to university and CÉGEP education. In BC, where tuition fees were doubled in four years after they were deregulated a decade ago, the cuts have continued with per student funding remaining far below 2001 levels.
Meanwhile in Ontario, the Liberal government is proposing “free education.” Activists in Ontario must reject the blatant lie that providing inadequate grants to students from poor families can be classified as “free education.” Public grants given to students to later hand over to universities still act as part of private tuition fee revenue that further privatizes universities. The call for universal, free education cannot be sidetracked by support for inadequate grants. Let’s use the Liberals’ false promise of “free education” to agitate and mobilize for actual free education!
The list of attacks on public education continues in every province, with most provinces facing yearly increasing tuition fees. All governments, alongside their friends in the senior administration of colleges and universities, are pushing for academic and learning environments to be increasingly tied to the interests of big business.
The Trudeau Liberals have also continued colonialism in education by underfunding the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, forcing Indigenous students to not receive their treaty right to free education.
A Federal Post-Secondary Act, would enforce standards for public education to be set in all provinces. It would make private education illegal, meaning educational institutions could not accept money from private tuition fees or private donations. This act, must also respect the rights for Indigenous nations, Quebec, and Acadia, to have self-determination over their own management of institutions and curriculum of education, while providing adequate public funding.
We have seen pockets of important mobilizations across Canada. Recently, students showed solidarity with teaching assistants and sessionals on strike for a living wage at UofT and York, the I Am a Student Movement at UBC built momentum against increases to residence fees and international student fees, the Quebec student movement alongside CÉGEP teachers has been combatting budget cuts, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, a mass movement is growing against austerity, with students playing a key role.
However, free education and a Pan-Canadian Post-Secondary Act can only be won from the unity and militancy of students in a Pan-Canadian student movement, with students in Quebec, Indigenous students, and students from English-speaking Canada working in solidarity with one another’s struggles, while respecting the self-determination of each nation over the direction of their struggle. The YCL-LJC supports and encourages coordination between the Canadian Federation of Students and the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ) in Quebec to build a strong student movement across Canada.
Students are a strata of the people, coming from different class backgrounds. But the majority today face unemployment and underemployment upon graduating in debt, due to high tuition fees, and governmental austerity measures rooted in the crises ridden capitalist system itself. The YCL-LJC fights for the end of capitalist exploitation and for working class power. We struggle to build socialism, where the right to a job, to peace, to health care and education, and to a sustainable environment can be fully realized.
This is the time to gain momentum through struggle. It's time to build a student movement that has the strength to win, not from a narrow focus on small-scale media stunts or lobbying, but from building a militant and democratic movement that is united in escalating mass action.
To learn more about the November 2nd Student Day of Action, check out the main website here.
The YCL-LJC Student Commission has produced these postcards to be distributed across-Canada:
Join the 25th Che Brigade!
Since 1993, the Ernesto Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade has offered hundreds of Canadians the opportunity to join an exciting and informative 2-week tour of Cuba. Volunteers are afforded a first-hand view of the gains and victories of the Cuban Revolution through both a tour of significant historical and political locales of Cuba and by working alongside ordinary Cubans. The next Brigade leaves in Spring 2017.