Communist candidate focuses on education

By Greg Dunlop

Education in Ontario is the key issue in this election, says the Communist party’s candidate in Ottawa Centre.

An opponent of faith-based school funding and school board funding cuts, Stuart Ryan says he is passionate about making post-secondary education affordable for working-class families.

A single father with two sons in the education system he argues special funding privileges given to Catholic schools was a mistake.

“We support one publicly funded secular education in the primary and secondary education system,” he says.

Ryan is the business agent organizer for the Canadian Union of Public Employees at Carleton University.

A former steel worker with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Journalism degree under his belt, Stuart has been an active member of the Communist party since 1997.

Campaigning under the slogan, “Block the Right. Elect a Democratic Majority,” he says party members see elections as an important part of getting their message out.

“We’re running eight candidates in six cities. If a member is elected more attention is given to what we say.”

The party is calling for accessible post-secondary education and student grants instead of loans.

“For post secondary education we want to drastically increase the funding and reduce tuition fees by 50 per cent to start with, eventually eliminating tuition fees,” he says.

As they head to the polls, Ontario voters will face a choice between a first-past-the-post system and proportional representation at the referendum.

Ryan is in favour of electoral reform.

“I support the mixed member proportional representation,” he says. “We’ll no longer be forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.”