rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Photo essay: Feb. 1 Student Day of Action

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

Photo: Jesse McLaren

On February 1, students across the country took to the streets for a Day of Action, organized by the Canadian Federation of Students.

In Toronto, thousands of students from multiple campuses converged at the University of Toronto, marched through downtown and rallied at Queen's Park.

 Jesse McLaren

Students are facing skyrocketing tuition and massive levels of debt.

 Jesse McLaren

On top of chronic education cutbacks and underfunding, students are being made to pay for an economic crisis they did not create. But as they chanted, "they say cut back, we say fight back," and "education is a right, we will not give up the fight."

 Jesse McLaren

In Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty campaigned on a promise to reduce tuition fees by 30 per cent, but this only applies to a fraction of students. The size of the demonstration in Toronto, and the chants directed at McGuinty ("Dalton, you liar, tuition's getting higher"), shows that students weren't fooled. In their thousands, students demanded a reduction of tuition fees for all, a dropping of the student debt, and an increase in education funding.

 Jesse McLaren

Students also made links to other issues, chanting and face-painting "drop fees, not bombs." The money for accessible education exists, but it's being wasted on fighter jets, tar sands, prisons, and tax breaks for the 1 per cent.

 Jesse McLaren

The labour movement supported the Day of Action, including members of CUPE, Steelworkers, Toronto District Labour Council and the Ontario Federation of Labour.

 Jesse McLaren

Solidarity is reciprocal. More than 4,000 teaching assistants, graduate student instructors, lab demonstrators, invigilators and writing instructors at the University of Toronto (represented by CUPE 3902) unanimously voted to set a strike deadline of February 24 if the administration fails to offer them a reasonable contract. They are asking for smaller class sizes, adequate compensation and better funding -- in other words, they are trying to improve education.

 Jesse McLaren

There is already solidarity growing for CUPE 3902, from a campus organizing meeting drawing links between students, TAs and food service workers, to an undergraduate-led campaign by OPIRG. As their video states, "CUPE 3902's proposals will improve the quality of education at U of T. What's good for CUPE 3902 members is good for undergraduate students." The February 1 Day of Action showed the strength and solidarity of the 99 per cent on campus, which will be crucial in the weeks and months ahead to win accessible, high quality public education.

 Jesse McLaren

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.