After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

UBC's Blake Frederick Complains to the UN that Canadian Government is Violating Human Rights

For those of you who do not know, Blake Frederick is the current President of the Alma Mater Society, the official student society for the University of British Columbia. On Wednesday, Blake Frederick and Tim Chu (External Vice-President) accused the government of BC and Canada of violating the human rights of current and potential students of UBC. This action was taken up to the UN to investigate if the costs of tuition are a violation of the 1976 international convention.

The primary concern comes from the rising cost of tuition fees, which acts as a barrier for anyone who wishes to continue their studies at a post-secondary level. In the Vancouver Sun's article, it is said that tuition fees had doubled between 2002 and 2007, and that BC has the highest average student debt in the country. Frederick also complained that the government has failed to provide support for students with financial needs and failed to provide sufficient funds for post-secondary education in general.

Apparently, this action was unknown to the rest of Council or the executive committee. According to UBC Insiders, a council meeting took place on Nov. 18:

"... where Blake was given the floor to give an executive report. UBC Insiders was in the room that evening, and the topic of a human rights complaint to the UN was not addressed." 

Upon notification of this action, a special emergency council meeting was quickly organized and will be held on Saturday at 5pm in Council Chambers (SUB 206). The motions being considered during this meeting includes: retracting the accusation, halting all expenses towards this action, requesting Blake Frederick to resign, and requesting Tim Chu to resign.

Members of the Council are now collecting input from students by e-mail to thoroughly evaluate the situation, but even if you are not a student you can voice your opinion too. Just leave us a comment below.

More in City

Living in an apartment with kids? Share your experiences

The City is seeking input from apartment-dwelling families with children to help plan for spaces that better meet their needs. As part of an update to the High-Density Housing for Families and...

Your water wise summer starts early this year

Today City Council approved a new Drinking Water Conservation By-Law to align with the Metro Vancouver Drinking Water Conservation Plan. Under the new by-law, watering restrictions will start on...

Temporary modular housing approved for Kaslo Street

The Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver, Gil Kelley, announced today the approval of a development permit to build 52 new temporary modular housing units at 4480 (formerly 4410) Kaslo...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.