Canada’s Green Party Unveils Plan to Abolish University Tuition Fees

May’s platform champions progressive causes at the heart of student concern.

Leah Ching, Staff Writer

Elizabeth May. PC: Grant Newfeld/ Flickr

Elizabeth May. PC: Grant Newfeld/ Flickr

Economy, community, government, and climate – these four pillars are at the core of the Green Party of Canada’s platform, recently released in preparation for the upcoming October election. Party leader Elizabeth May suggests that Canadians have developed the policies outlined in her platform democratically and in the best interest of all Canadians.

The Green Party is one of many that are making promises and hoping to sway votes in the approaching election. In a news release, the party addressed an issue near and dear to the heart of young Canadians – rising university fees. May promised to immediately drop tuition fees for low-income students, following the example of nations like Germany and Norway. Even more impressive, the Green Party promises to abolish tuition altogether by the year 2020, and forgive federal student debt in excess of $10,000.

An anonymous philosophy student offered the following comments to the Argus regarding the tuition promises made by the Green Party, “Elizabeth May’s plans make for a better Canadian future. Imagine students graduating and going into the workforce without crippling debt. Or imagine young people like you and I, able to innovate and create in a field we’re passionate about without worrying about loans and debts, it’s almost unimaginable. I’m in my third year and work three jobs part time. Last year I was hospitalized for severe depression because of the pressure I was under, so yeah, tuition is important to me, and student apathy in this election doesn’t cut it for me anymore. I admire the Green Party for standing up for what’s right, even if they don’t garner as much support as they should.”

May’s platform, which focuses on curbing environmental issues and the increased taxing of corporations, is massively attractive to students and young people who want to vote in favour of progressive causes. “It’s a bold idea, but we can and must afford it. We can implement this investment in our youth through common sense measures like eliminating subsidies in fossil fuels and restoring the corporate tax rate to what it was in 2009,” said the party leader in a press release.

Elizabeth May, known for her blunt and outspoken nature, later in her speech boldly accused Harper of committing “acts of serial vandalism to virtually every area of public policy.” Her party’s promises are bold, optimistic, and very much the antithesis to every area of Conservative policy. At the heart of Green politics is aggressive climate change action which the party feels has been overlooked and ignored by the Conservative government. The platform reads, “[The Conservative Government has] failed to act in the face of an ever-growing climate crisis, instead gambling our future on more pipelines, more fracking, and risky tankers on our coasts.”

Students have responded positively to May’s platform. Jamie Carvalho from the Outdoor Recreation program at Lakehead offers the following comments on the promises of the Greens. “May would restore Canada’s international image regarding the environment. Green-friendly industry brings our country hope for the future. Unbridled moral authority; this is what this platform, if fulfilled, would bring to Canadian government. Bravo Elizabeth. What a positive female role model you are in the political realm.”


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