February 23, 2016

Bringing Students’ Plan to the Decision-Makers

Bringing Students’ Plan to the Decision-Makers

On Wednesday March 19, I had the opportunity to share our recommendations with members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. I was so excited to sit before our decision-makers and make the case for eliminating tuition fees.

We have shown en masse that students are engaged in our democracy. We have done our research and built a plan to eliminate tuition fees. We have brought this plan to more than 180 MPs and Senators.

Our budget recommendations focus on how to make education more affordable for students and address mounting student debt in Canada. As students we know that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to gain access to the services and.

The campaign promises of the Liberal Party are a great first step, responding to many of the short-term proposals of Canada’s students. Students know that fixing twenty years of underfunding will need a bolder plan.

You can watch the video here! I present at the 12-minute mark.

After presenting our recommendations, I took questions from members of parliament on the costing, research and development and the long-term viability of the elimination of tuition fees. It was clear that members around the table had heard our message loud and clear during Lobby Week, the groundwork was already laid.

MP Guy Caron showed interest in research funding. We know that this country spends more than almost any other OECD on corporate tax credits for R&D, but our businesses are on the bottom of the list for following through with that spending. Some of that funding needs to be redirected for peer-reviewed public research because our graduate students and universities will drive innovation in this country.

I was happy to hear MP Raj Grewal state his support for all Canadians to have access to education, and grateful for the opportunity to respond to his questions, outlining the shortfalls of the current patchwork of inefficient tuition related tax credits and savings schemes.

As Budget 2016 gets closer, and we hear the growing support for access to college and university and the recognition that education is a right, I am encouraged for what lies ahead.

I am so proud of the work of Canada’s student movement in the gains we have made this past year and am excited for how we can continue to show our politicians, administrators and friends that students, united, can change this country.

Bilan Arte, National Chairperson