The provincial election is over, and in terms of the government and its majority status, nothing changed. The University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU), in partnership with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) Saskatchewan component, ran a student-issues campaign called Our Future is Now.
It was an engaging campaign: one that talked about the skyrocketing rate of tuition fee increases, the lack of affordable housing, the need for more childcare spaces, and several issues surrounding Aboriginal accessibility to post-secondary education. I would like to thank and congratulate my colleague Paige Kezima for all the hard work she did. Also deserving of thanks are the rest of my executive colleagues, the URSU board of directors, and the countless volunteers that helped us throughout the campaign. Above all else, I would like to extend a sincere thank-you to each and every student that made it to a ballot box on Nov. 7 – you made your voice heard, and for that you should be commended.
If there was one disappointment about the Saskatchewan election it was that the voter turnout dipped dramatically from the 2007 election. This was especially disappointing considering the election fell so close to Nov. 11, the day we pay homage to those brave women and men who fought – and still fight – for every democratic right we have.
Although the platforms of all the political parties were, overall, insufficient in terms of investment needed in the post-secondary issues we raised, we will not cease to talk about them. Before the election we met with advanced education minister Rob Norris to talk about accessibility; we talked about accessibility during the election; we will talk about accessibility now that the election is over.
A highlight of the campaign was that we were able to work closely with our friends in the labour movement. It was humbling when I was asked to be one of the guest speakers at the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour’s annual convention. At the convention, I spoke about student/worker solidarity, and the need to work together. I talked about how the issues facing the student movement are the same issues that face the labour movement. We have a strong tradition of union activism in this province and it’s something we should be most proud of.
As founding members of the CFS, Saskatchewan also has a strong tradition of student activism. It is my hope that in the future, working women and men will continue to partner with the Students’ Union and the CFS – we are stronger together. By pooling ideas and experiences, students and workers can continue to effectively communicate issues surrounding affordability, accessibility, and fairness to governments. Our sisters and brothers in the labour movement deserve enthusiastic congratulations on the well-run labour issues campaign they ran to bring attention to issues affecting their working people.