November 16, 2011
Media Release - The Case for Voluntary Student Unionism
Winnipeg: The Frontier Centre for Public Policy today released The Case for Voluntary Student Unionism. This backgrounder describes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ promise of free association, and demonstrates that this right includes the right not to belong to any specific organization. The author, Jonathan Wensveen, argues that compulsory student unions violate the individual rights of Canadian students, and that they should be replaced with voluntary student organizations. Wensveen examines the arguments that are presented in favour of compulsory student unions, and finds that none of them justify the abridgement of individual rights that occurs when individuals are forced to pay dues and belong to student organizations.
“The major arguments put forward for compulsory student unionism don’t stand up to scrutiny,” said Mr. Wensveen. “The reality is that the vast majority of the goods and services that student unions provide could easily be provided by voluntary organizations, which individual students could either belong to or not as suited their preferences.” Mr. Wensveen noted that it is morally problematic to compel individuals to belong to and pay dues to organizations whose views and actions they do not agree with. “Many student unions now spend a lot of their energy and money promoting ideologically charged advocacy campaigns that many students simply don’t support. To give just one example, student unions in Canada have funded protests against so-called ‘Israeli Apartheid.’ If individual students want to hold these protests, that’s their right, but there is no excuse for forcing students to fund political activities of this nature, when many of those students find the activities abhorrent.” Mr. Wensveen argues that there is a straightforward solution to this problem, and that compulsory student unionism should be eliminated and replaced with a system of voluntary student organizations.
Download a copy of The Case for Voluntary Student Unionism HERE.
For more information and to arrange an interview with the study's author, media (only) should contact:
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy
is an independent public policy think tank whose mission is "to broaden the debate on our future through public policy research and education and to explore positive changes within our public institutions that support economic growth and opportunity."