March 12, 2021
Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg, MB – NDP Critic for Economic Development and Training, Jamie Moses, and the Leader of the Official Opposition, Wab Kinew, stood with the Canadian Federation of Students and the Manitoba Organizations of Faculty Associations to demand the PCs abandon their plans to interfere in post-secondary institutions and limit student freedom and independence.
“Manitoba post-secondary students deserve a fair shot at success,” said Moses. “That’s why it’s essential that students themselves, not the Minister, decide what services they need to succeed. We know this government’s plan for post-secondary: they want to raise tuition, raise fees, cut supports and eliminate bursaries that put education within reach. The Minister needs to abandon Bill 33 and work with students and faculty to give students the best foundation for their future.”
Bill 33, The Advanced Education Administration Amendment Act, would give the Minister the power to force institutions to raise student fees and tuition with the stroke of a pen. Just like a Ford government policy, Bill 33 threatens to silence student voices by cutting funding from organizations like student newspapers and BIPOC student groups, and student services like food banks, health and dental plans and mental health supports. A similar policy in Ontario was recently struck down by the provincial court.
Scott Forbes, president of the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations, said this bill is indicative of the PC government’s failing post-secondary strategy: “This government tried to pull a fast one at the outset of the pandemic to, without warning, make deep permanent cuts to post-secondary education. Now It looks like they have tried to do it again with Bill 33: to defund student groups, as happened in Ontario. But Bill 33 goes much further: it allows for the Minister to interfere directly with academic programming. That cannot stand. As the courts have made crystal clear, universities must be free from political interference to perform their mission. MOFA calls on Premier Pallister and Minister Ewasko to withdraw Bill 33.”
Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students, Brenden Gali said that this bill shows “the government is seeking to disrupt the autonomy of post-secondary education. This legislation is an overreach of power and does nothing to support students. The vagueness of this bill is dangerous and students with the most barriers will carry the burden."