Wednesday, November 2, was the National Day of Action across Canada.
Hundreds of enthusiastic students and supporters gathered downtown at Queen’s Park to “Fight the Fees” of post-secondary education.
There were multiple speakers of varying backgrounds: indigenous leaders, advocating for the right to free education; students of colour talking of their struggles with the systemic discrimination of academia; people from the Ontario Federation of Labour, speaking of their solidarity with students.
This is the type of education that most won’t see outside of the classroom-an education gathered from real life action, putting theory into practice.
Because it’s true. Education is a right. Exorbitant fees, rising disproportionately from today’s economy, is inherently classist and ableist.
One student spoke of the four jobs they have to work (two of them don’t even pay!) just to pay for school. What if you are not physically able to work a minimum-wage job, most of which require an able body to be employed? Where is the justice in an exclusionary system?
We are the generation crumbling under the burden of piling debt. The current leaders of Canada never had to pay the tuition fees we have to, even adjusted for inflation. They had to jump over a hurdle; we have to climb an insurmountable wall.
Furthermore, we live in a socialized environment that presents post-secondary education as necessary. Early on, we are inculcated with the notion that a degree is job security; yet, we are increasingly excluded from this participation through the barriers of high fees.
It’s easy to adopt a defeatist attitude in the face of challenge. But this Wednesday, we were fighting. We were angry. We were loud. Now, let’s see if people listened.