"This kind of endorsed discrimination against women is never okay, and certainly not in 2016. For a government that claims it wants to close the wage gap between men and women, it’s highly problematic that it won’t allow women into two of its colleges." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (22 Jan. 2016) — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) is seeking answers from Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, on male only restrictions, for both students and faculty, at satellite campuses operated by Algonquin and Niagara colleges in Saudi Arabia.
Concerns about financial losses and human rights abuses go unanswered by Ontario government
“I’ve already spoken out about this in the past. In fact, I first wrote Kathleen Wynne about Algonquin College’s operation in Saudi Arabia 10 months ago," Thomas said.
“I asked why Ontario community colleges were doing business with the Saudi government — a regime infamous for its human rights abuses. I also expressed concern over Algonquin’s losses in Saudi Arabia — Ontario taxpayer money that should be spent right here in Ontario to educate Ontario students," said Thomas. “I’m still waiting for answers."
“The Wynne government’s shameful neglect and underfunding of its 24 community colleges has forced them to seek alternative sources of funding — even to making deals with a country that carries out mass executions as a means of stifling democracy," continued Thomas.
"Endorsed discrimination" on Saudi campus by Ontario government
“Now the media are picking up on something we’ve already denounced: that the colleges are restricted to males — no women need apply. This kind of endorsed discrimination against women is never okay, and certainly not in 2016. For a government that claims it wants to close the wage gap between men and women, it’s highly problematic that it won’t allow women into two of its colleges," he said.
“How does Premier Wynne’s action plan for violence against women square with Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women?" asked Thomas.
“I’m writing a letter today to Minister Moridi, and this time I want some answers. Why are the Ontario Liberals doing business with Saudi Arabia? Why are they allowing Ontario community colleges to exclude women? When will they close these campuses and bring Ontario tax dollars and Ontario faculty back to Ontario?”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE