Thunder Bay·Audio

Feds aren't doing enough to help students, university leader says

The Lakehead University Student Union wants to make sure that the concerns of its members are front and center in the federal election.

Student leaders at the university and college in Thunder Bay, Ont., want to engage students in this election

With the Oct. 19 federal election on the horizon, student leaders in Thunder Bay want to make sure local members of parliament are aware of their concerns. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)
Making student issues, election issues.. that's the goal of Roman Jakubowski, Lakehead University Student Union President and Chris Cartwright is the president of the Student Union at the College. 10:35

The Lakehead University Student Union wants to make sure that the concerns of its members are front and center in the federal election.

The president of the student union at Lakehead says a university education is becoming too expensive, and the federal government isn't doing enough to help.

"The national government currently holds $17 billion in student loans, but gave $30 billion out in oil subsidies last year," Roman Jakubowski said.
Roman Jakubowski, president of the student union at Lakehead University, is working to educate federal election candidates on the issues that affect students. (Roman Jakubowski)

"So why isn't education a priority and why aren't young people a priority?"

Jakubowski  noted that young people aren't able to spend money in their communities when they graduate with $30,000 of debt.

"That's basically $30,000 that was taken out of the economy of Thunder Bay," he said.

"I think [students] have quite a bit of power, and it's up to us to leverage that and make sure that we have MPs who are going to work for us."

On Oct. 7 the student union will host a debate for candidates in the Superior North riding.

Pizza and politics

Meanwhile, the student union at Confederation College is taking an informal approach when it comes to engaging students in the election.
Confederation College student union president Chris Cartwright says he wants to tackle the low voter turnout rate among students. (Chris Cartwright)

It's organized a series of lunchtime conversations with local candidates, at the student lounge.

Student union president Chris Cartwright said the "pizza and politics" events are a chance for students to meet local candidates and ask questions.

And he wants to combat the low voter turnout among youth. 

"The total student population of Confederation College throughout northern Ontario is around 4,000 students, which could have a swing impact on all of the candidates," he said.

Cartwright told CBC News he's received a positive response to the events from all the local election candidates. 

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