While some political parties are more responsible for instances of blatant racism than others, no political party has committed to action on combating racism in Canada. Aboriginal and racialized realities of being heavily surveilled, unfairly carded in the streets, and higher rates of violence remain fringe issues.
We're not waiting for parties to take us seriously, we're going to the polls to show them we're serious about electing candidates who make postsecondary education a priority in a meaningful way. We need to hear of plans for reduced tuition fees, increased access to grants and forgiven student debt. This election, students know the stakes. Students don't need to be convinced to vote for an abstract reason -- the truth is as a student, you must vote this election because if you don't, you're giving our next government permission to continue ignoring you and your future.
Universities have, on occasion, intervened and exercised their power to withhold money from student unions acting against the wishes of their membership. Student union executives typically respond with a sad attempt to take the moral high ground, repeating variations of the following: "student unions should have autonomy over their own affairs." A novel idea: How about returning power to the students?
The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), a national organization composed of campus student unions, purports to organize students on a "democratic, co-operative basis." When Guelph students wanted to hold a referendum to exit the CFS, they served the CFS with a petition asking for a referendum to be held to decertify. However, the CFS refused to schedule a referendum. Guelph's Central Student Association (CSA) took the CFS to court.
Whatever happens in Quebec happens in Quebec; it is beyond our control here in Ontario. What is alarming however, is that, as of this past weekend, Ontario students have begun to petition to bring the movement to their province. And all in the name of that often-used, deflated word "solidarity." This would be disastrous.