National Treasurer-Elect Peyton Veitch attended the 12th Biennial Tri-national Conference in Defence of Public Education at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
The Tri-national Coalition was created in 1994 in response to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Coalition provides a space for developing common strategies among those concerned about the impact of trade agreements on public education in Mexico, the United States and Canada.
Students and teachers from across North America came together to discuss how to challenge cutbacks, privatization, and other austerity measures threatening public education across the continent. A series of workshops and panel discussions at the conference covered many topics including the dangers posed by trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), corporate control of classroom technology, privatization of post-secondary education, standardized testing, and the criminalization of youth.
Peyton presented the political statement drafted at the first ever Tri-national Student Encounter in Mexico City and attended workshops on precarious work in the post-secondary sector, building democratic unions, and the rights of indigenous communities, students and teachers.
Peyton also participated in discussions with the other student delegates present from the USA and Mexico about strengthening the student section of the Tri-national in between conferences and how to enlarge the role for students in the planning and participation at the next Tri-national Conference scheduled for 2018. Interest was expressed in potentially hosting the second Tri-national Student Encounter in Canada for fall 2017.
The conference reinforced that the struggle for accessible, universal, public education is borderless, and how essential it is that we support teachers and our fellow students throughout North America and beyond.