The Fredericton Young Greens hosted a Green Party rally to abolish student tuition and debt at St. Thomas University on Oct. 7.
The rally drew approximately 60 students and professors to the lower courtyard to hear remarks from federal Green Party candidate Mary Lou Babineau on the issue.
Babineau said Canadians believe that hard work and education is the key to achieving dreams, but financial struggles are holding students back.
“I have been watching, over the last 20 years, government funding plummet,” she said. “As tuition goes up, student debt also rises… we have an entire generation of young people who are graduating and have so much student debt that it’s very difficult for them to move ahead and to engage in the economic and social fabric of their society.”
Babineau told the crowd that the Green Party has a plan to make tuition free for all post-secondary students by 2020.
The rally also included speeches from Fredericton Young Greens president Adam Mahoney, president of the Fredericton District Labour Council Alex Bailey, president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers and STU professor Robin Vose; Fredericton South MLA David Coon, as well as multiple high school and university students.
Emily Smith, a local high school student who attended the rally, said she believes abolishing student debt is important, possible and effects society as a whole.
“I would say that if they abolish student debt that more people would go to school and there would be more doctors, more nurses, more positions,” she said. “I do think [the Greens] can make it happen because they don’t just care about students. They care about everybody.”
In her closing remarks, Babineau said she and the Green Party believe that everyone deserves to have access to education regardless of financial status or family history.
“Education is one of the great opportunities we have to equalize the playing field for everyone,” she said. “Do not be convinced that this is unreasonable. It is reasonable and it is possible and we can have something better for your generation and for your children.”
Originally written for a class at St. Thomas University.