The Concordia Student Union (CSU) has endorsed plans to hold a student strike on Oct. 31. that is being held on university campuses across North America to protest the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
In a meeting held Oct. 9, the union decided to support the planned strike, which will coincide with the opening of the FTAA meeting in Ecuador.
During the byelections two weeks ago, Concordia students that voted were in favour of striking in solidarity with demonstrators across the Americas.
“It is all voluntary, the hope is that students just won’t go to class,” explained Yves Engler, CSU VP communications and one of the event’s organizers. “From a CSU standpoint, we are organizing a general assembly on the morning of Oct. 31. In a democratic manner, students will vote on whether they want to go on strike.”
Organizers believe it is important for students to get involved and realize how the FTAA affects Canadian universities.
“The FTAA increasingly empowers corporations and wealthy individuals who own corporations to demand lower taxes from the government,” said Engler. “The result is that the government has less money to devote to social programs, including the subsidizing of university education, which affects tuition.” “Since 1989 tuition has sky-rocketed across Canada. The statistics say that in Quebec it [tuition] was about $689 in 1989 and now is about $2,000,” added Engler.
A conference was held last weekend in Montreal to organize the specifics of the strike. Delegates from every CEGEP and university in Quebec were in attendance, as were many delegates from Ontario universities.
Students from across Quebec will strike together in Montreal on Oct. 31. For the thousands of students and supporters expected to attend, Concordia will be the rallying point.
It was chosen as the place to start out of support for the university’s students, staff and faculty and the issues they are facing with the administration such as the moratorium on events related to the Middle East conflict.