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Thomas to press Moridi on all-male colleges in Saudi Arabia

TORONTO – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is seeking answers from Training, Colleges and Education Minister Reza Moridi on all-male restrictions at satellite campuses operated by Algonquin and Niagara colleges in Saudi Arabia.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“How does Premier Wynne’s action plan for violence against women square with Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women?

“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?”

For more information:

Jack Wilson
Vice-President, OPSEU Local 415
613-727-4723, ext. 7716