Mr. Speaker, I would first of all like to thank members of the House who contributed to the debate on this motion. I would like to just briefly summarize why this motion was brought forward.
We heard from government members today that there are opportunities for students in Canada and that things are getting better. But I would just like to say that the purpose of this motion is to draw attention unfortunately to the stark reality that things in Canada for students are getting worse, not better.
Student debt has risen dramatically from $13,000 to $25,000. Unfortunately an increasing trend of privatization and control by the banks of the Canada student loans program means that more and more students are falling into debt and are unable to cope with increasing tuition fees primarily because of what we have seen as the retreat of public funding by the federal government.
We know that something like $1.5 billion has been lost from post-secondary education. The reality is that across Canada there are so many different standards in terms of different provinces. I would agree with my colleague from the Bloc that the situation in Quebec has been much better. The situation in B.C. is that we have had a tuition freeze for three years in a row. But elsewhere in Canada the situation is very, very grave for students because of the retreat of public funding.
I would encourage members of the House to defend public education and to say to the government that we do need a national grants program. We do need accessibility as a national standard. It is something that we need to work out with the provinces so we do not have this patchwork across the country and where more and more students are graduating into poverty and more and more students cannot afford to go to post-secondary education.
I urge the members of the House to support this motion in the spirit of standing behind our educational system and defending the rights of students in Canada.