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Aboriginal Students Getting Boost

The British Columbia government is earmarking 1.27 million dollars to help aboriginal students obtain post-secondary educations.(SEE:http://os8150.pb.gov.bc.ca/4dcgi/nritem?5506) Unfortunately, the bulk of this money, over a million dollars of it is going to short term funding to develop new programs for aboriginals to take. Less than 20% of it will actually be going to support services to help students get into these programs.

This suggests a future scenario where there are lots of programs available for aboriginal students, but few students that can afford to take them. Not that this is an unusual display of lack of foresight for the British Columbia government. As an example, to save on health care costs they’ve imposed a hard limit of $500 on dentures (SEE:http://www.canada.com/health/story.html?id=B118FE22-2C34-4595-B2F1-DB4DE92AE4F7) for people on social assistance, yet they acknowledge that $500 is not enough to get a full set of dentures, but rather is enough to pay for either the top or bottom set. For those people on assistance who therefore simply cannot chew, they have emergency funding available – enough to buy a blender.

While it is certainly possible for a person with a good knowledge of nutrition to blend themselves a healthy diet (assuming we ignore the issues of how forcing people to eat baby food will impact their self-esteem and dignity) the majority of people on social assistance are already suffering difficulties, and likely do not have the basic knowledge to know how to prepare properly nutritious pureed meals. Since statistics already show that those on social assistance generally require more health care, making it more difficult for them to get a basic nutritious diet is simply going to wind up raising health care costs in the future, while making those affected miserable in the present.

Yukon Students Getting Boost

In a similar announcement, the government of the Yukon Territories has established a $40,000.00 fund to benefit those on social assistance [PDF file – SEE: http://www.gov.yk.ca/news/2002/aug-02/02-164.pdf]. Unlike in British Columbia, the entire amount will be going to students, and they can use it for tuition, training costs, and travel related to their training.

It is entirely possible that some of the funding will wind up making its way down to Athabasca University. In order to encourage this though, I would think it would be in Athabasca University’s interests to negotiate with the government a reduced tuition rate for those supported by this funding. Rather than spending money on travelling to the course, it just makes more sense to have the course travel to the student.

Feds Say No Marriage

If you’re a partner in a same-sex couple, the federal government is seeking to appeal (SEE: http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/news/nr/2002/doc_30624.html) a recent Ontario Court ruling that said that limiting marriage to persons based on their sex (one man, one woman) is against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In its request to appeal this ruling, the federal government has said, “In today’s society, the existence of a committed relationship is of great importance to our lives, whether for opposite-sex couples or same-sex couples. At the same time, there are important reasons why we as a society must consider carefully the issues around changing the fundamental nature of marriage and what the implications of such a change might be.”

Could somebody please tell me what these “issues” are? As far as I was aware, the fundamental nature of marriage was one person committing themselves solely to another, for mutual support and benefit, and announcing that commitment to society. If anything changes the fundamental nature of marriage, it’s the institution of divorce. So, I am actually curious, what are the issues around allowing a man to announce their intent to commit to another man, or a woman announcing their similar intent toward another woman? And why are these issues any different from those surrounding a woman announcing her commitment to a man?

If anything, the issues are less, since there is really very little chance of an unplanned pregnancy for same-sex couples.

A native Calgarian, Karl is perpetually nearing the completion of his Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Information Studies. He also works for the Computer Sciences Virtual Helpdesk for Athabasca University and plans to eventually go on to tutor and obtain his Master’s Degree.

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