'In a crisis you have to stop the bleeding': Federal NDP Leader calls for urgent help in Laurentian cuts
SUDBURY -- Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the Canadian government has the power to help save Sudbury's Laurentian University from the devastating cuts and is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to act.
Two students and one faculty member affected by the Laurentian University cuts shared their stories during a news conference Friday morning hosted by Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh Friday morning.
Singh, along with federal and provincial colleagues from his party in northern Ontario, are calling on both levels of government to step in and provide financial support to stop the drastic cuts to the Sudbury university.
Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus said the stripping down of the programs left following the cuts will make them functionally useless. He also said the decision to cut the bilingual midwifery program, which receives 100 per cent government funding, will deny services to francophone women across the north.
Political science professor Nadia Verrelli was let go on April 12 along with about 100 of her colleagues at the university over a 10-minute Zoom meeting, she said. She said at least 800 students were directly affected by the cuts at Laurentian.
Verrelli also said the faculty and staff that have been let go are not being given a severance, and that confusion around access to their pensions is putting those affected in a financial bind.
A fourth-year political science student, Kaitlyn Kotila, said she chose Laurentian because she wanted to remain in the north.
"The qualities that Laurentian University has fostered are worth defending," Kotila said. "It could happen anywhere. If the government doesn't step in, it is only a matter of time that we see mass cuts and devastation across the country."
Connor Lafortune is an Indigenous francophone student in his second year at Laurentian. He calls the cuts "another example of exploitation" of Indigenous people by the Canadian government as the cuts are seen to disproportionately affect Indigenous and francophone groups.
At 11:30 a.m., Singh along with two of his NDP colleagues from the north -- Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes and Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus -- are scheduled to meet with workers from Laurentian.
Then at 12:30 p.m., the trio is scheduled to meet with Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger about the issue.
CTV News will continue to follow this developing story, check back for updates.