Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s decision to make student union fees optional is both reasonable and generous for students.

In a PC fundraising email sent out in in the premier’s name, Ford said the ideological bent of student unions justifies his decision to give students the option to opt-in.

“I think we all know what kind of crazy Marxist nonsense student unions get up to. So, we fixed that. Student union fees are now opt-in,” said the email.  

For years, students in Ontario were forced into paying fees for services they might never use.

These fees were enforced by student unions who were “elected” by a very small percentage of students.

For example, in 2017 14.6 per cent of students participated in the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa election (SFUO).

To put that into perspective, the University of Ottawa has a voter turnout that’s lower than Egypt’s 28 per cent.

While claiming to represent a wide and diverse student population, a number of student unions in Ontario have engaged in selective and ideologically biased behavior.

In 2015 the Ryerson Student Union, which is now in the middle of a $700,000 fraud audit, barred a pro-life student club from being allowed to form on campus.

In another case, this time in British Columbia, a registered philosophy student, Franz-Edward Kurtzke, was banned from student society property for a period of time by the UBC Alma Mater Society for handing out pamphlets that protested toxic masculinity.

In some cases, student unions have also irresponsibly managed the finances of their fellow students.

In one case, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa spent $10,000 on fireworks it was never able to use.

Ontario students now have the choice to decide for themselves whether they want to contribute towards their student unions, though the policy keeps fees mandatory for essential services like counselling and career help.  

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