Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Doug Ford Clashes with Protesting Students at Ontario Legislature

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Doug Ford Clashes with Protesting Students at Ontario Legislature

Article excerpt

Ford clashes with students at legislature

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TORONTO - Doug Ford admonished protesting students for their "filthy" mouths on Tuesday after a group decrying cuts to post-secondary grants disrupted a session at Ontario's legislature by shouting obscenities at the premier.

A handful of student protesters seated in the public gallery interrupted legislators by shouting chants of "free tuition" followed by profanity directed at the premier. Ford chastised the group and blamed the Opposition for influencing them.

"That's how they train our kids, with a filthy mouth," he said. "They should have their mouths washed out with soap. That's what they should have, because that's embarrassing."

The clash comes weeks after the Progressive Conservative government announced that it is ending free tuition for low-income students as it attempts to trim a $13.5 billion deficit. Critics say the move -- which is being made in conjunction with a 10 per cent tuition fee cut -- is harmful to those it purports to help.

The government has said grants under the Ontario Student Assistance Plan had become unsustainable and it was time to refocus the program to provide help to students in the most financial need.

Under the Liberal OSAP program, families earning up to $175,000 could qualify for some funding and that threshold is now reduced to $140,000. Low-income students could qualify for grants large enough to cover the full cost of tuition under the previous plan, but now a portion of the funding they receive will be a loan.

The government also plans to make some fees paid by Ontario college and university students optional instead of mandatory, including those to student governments. Critics have slammed that move as an attack on free speech on campuses.

Students rallying outside the legislature Tuesday said the changes will increase student debt and limit access to higher education for many. …

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