King's Briefs News

BRIEF: "The Game's Rigged" rally

Nova Scotian weather can’t seem to help but get in on student demonstrations. As with the blizzard-stricken Day of Action two years ago, the rain was out in full force for a rally on government funding last night.

Some of the crowd in front of the World Trade and Convention Centre. (Photo: The Watch)

Referred to as “The Game’s Rigged”, headed up in part by Sarah Trower from NSCAD and David Etherington from the Canadian Federation of Students, the demonstration had students and supportive groups assemble outside the World Trade and Convention Centre. Inside, the annual Liberal fundraising dinner was about to begin. To enter, the attendees had to weave through a crowd of chanting, drumming, and hollering students.
The group kept the noise going, alternating songs of solidarity – “the people, united, will never be defeated!” – and calls for “Steeeeeeeephen” (McNeil, of course) to come out. He didn’t bite.
In the weeks leading up to the rally students made themed carnival games to demonstrate the challenges of balancing classes with the work needed to pay for them, as well as additional fees such as health insurance, rent, food, and supply costs. People were invited to try the “tuition fee high jump”: first the rope was set not far from the ground, representing the cost of tuition in 1985, when Advanced Education minister Kelly Regan was in school. It was then raised to almost neck-level, meant to represent tuition today. Statistics Canada reported in September that the average tuition fee for a student in Nova Scotia is now $6,185.
The rain took its toll on the handmade signs. (Photo: The Watch)

Maybe it was due to the amount of rain gear required, but student groups weren’t easily distinguished from one institution to the next. Nearly all of the King’s Students’ Union (KSU) council was in attendance, and there was a strong NSCAD presence as well. Hutton passed out cookies, and Etherington offered an umbrella to protestors without one of their own. The feeling of camaraderie was strong, even as the chants showed anger. “Hey hey, ho ho, tuition fees have got to go,” quickly turned to “Stephen McNeil has got to go!”
KSU president Michaela Sam was the last to speak. Sam is also the chairperson of the CFS-NS executive. Speaking into a megaphone, she urged the Liberal government to see students “an investment as opposed to a cost”.
The rally was just one of several events leading up the Day of Action in 2015. On Feb. 4 students will take to the streets in the name of lower tuition fees.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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