A crowd of over a thousand students marched in Halifax as part of a National Day of Action for lower tuition fees. Students from The University of King’s College, Dalhousie, Mount Saint Vincent, Saint Mary’s and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design gathered at Victoria Park then clogged main downtown streets.
The Canadian Federation of Students organized rallies across the country today. From Vancouver to Toronto to Church Point, NS, students called for increased post-secondary education funding and lower tuition fees.
At the rally, Chris Ferns, the president of Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers said the teachers he represents feel for students who are forced to pay such high tuition.
“University isn’t just about knowledge, it’s about values,” Ferns said. “And quite frankly, speaking for faculty, our values are offended by a situation where policy makers like Darrell Dexter, all of whom had access to an affordable education, see it fit to impose policies that ensure their children’s generation pay 5 or 6 times as much as they did.”
Laura Penny is author of “More Money Than Brains: Why Schools Suck, College is Crap, and Idiots Think They’re Right” and she teaches at King’s. She echoed Fern’s sentiment when she addressed the crowd. “It is wrong and absurd that you have to beg and fight and march for what your parents and high school guidance councillors encouraged you to do,” she said.
“This is about a lot more than tuition fees… This march, I think, is about the disturbing feeling that your future has been cancelled because we don’t have the budget for tomorrow.”
KSU President Gabe Hoogers capped off the opening speeches sketching a picture of a different funding structure for Nova Scotia schools.
“We march for a vision of Nova Scotia. One that recognizes the economic importance of an adequately funded system but also the inherent good in educating people. Our Nova Scotia is not one that impoverishes students for decades but one that enables us to learn and grow and give back to our communities.
“We will not stop marching and chanting and embarrassing our government until we see our vision through,” Hoogers said.
And then the students marched. Despite the cold and later the rain, they chanted and cheered, with mitten-clad fists gripping bright placards and thrusting them into the air, down Spring Garden Road, Barrington Street, finishing at NSCAD University. For a brief while, the students stopped traffic and brought the attention of the city to the rally.
Nova Scotia Premiere Darrell Dexter, a King’s alumnus, did not meet the crowd, despite the fact that he was a stone’s throw away. As the students marched toward the legislature, Dexter ducked down another street. See video of when The Watch’s Evan McIntyre spotted him here.
To replay our live coverage today, including pictures, click here.