31 Million Dollars to University of Victoria – 0 to Students.
The British Columbia government, following the lead set by Ontario, is investing (see: http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/nrm_news_releases/2002MAE0054-001036.htm) a sizable amount of money in making a new building for the University of Victoria. 22 million dollars will be spent in creating a 7,800 square metre building for the University of Victoria’s Computing Science and Engineering departments. An additional 9 million dollars will go toward supporting various research projects.
It still seems that very few governments understand that what they actually want is graduates, not buildings. Even if they had taken half of the building money and put it instead toward funding interested students, they would still have had the money to build a 30,000 square foot building to house their research projects, and 11 million dollars of actual education value for BC citizens.
In an age where distance education is developing more sophisticated techniques, becoming better established to service students all across the globe, and where we know that the key to success is to educate the population as quickly and effectively as possible, these building expansion projects for the universities are really little more than government employment projects. It’s just that the governments have learned to house them in guises more acceptable to the general public. Instead of giving a brick-layer the means to gain a post-secondary education, the government is more concerned with giving him a job building a facility he may never be able to use
The Romanow Report
Romanow has released his report on the changes required to prepare the Public Health system for the future. In essence, it calls for a massive increase in money provided to the provinces for Health Care, and the establishment of watchdog groups to ensure that the care Canadian’s receive is of the same high quality no matter where in Canada they might be.
The report has come under fire from various provincial Premiers as being another attempt by the Federal government to control what the provinces do. Premier Ralph Klein of Alberta is particularly distressed because if the recommendations of the report are followed, his attempts to create a privatised health-care system will be seriously undermined. The insanity of privatising the delivery of an absolutely required service while attempting to fund it through a public system is something I will not delve into particularly, other than to say that the basic laws of economics suggest it will eventually wind up in disaster. Simply consider that in order to increase profits any company has to either increase its fees or lower its costs. Since Premier Klein has repeatedly stated that the health care system will remain publicly funded, that puts an upper limit on fees, which means that the private health companies must concentrate on reducing costs. Because one of the easiest and fastest ways to reduce costs is to reduce quality, how Premier Klein expects this system to give us the best possible health care is beyond me.
Aside from this tangent however, the Romanow Report actually seems to be a well-thought out document that lays out a coherent plan of action to help improve health care across the country. One of the key points in the report can be found in Chapter 5 (see: http://www2.healthcarecommission.ca/default.asp?DN=cn=1401,cn=1399,cn=7,cn=2,ou=Stories,ou=Suite247,o=HCC) where Romanow lays out what is required for a Primary Care system in Canada. Part of the foundation for this Primary Care system is an emphasis on preventative measures, and encouraging Canadians to make better lifestyle choices to increase their health. Sadly, Romanow does not acknowledge what Statistics Canada has found (see: http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/020801/d020801a.htm) — that higher education correlates to better health. It is unfortunate that nobody seems to be telling our governments that one of the best possible ways to lower their largest single expenditure is also the same way that holds the promise of the greatest economic benefit for the nation — affordable, accessible higher education.
Remember December 6th.
December the 6th is the day that 14 engineering students were murdered in 1989 at the L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. The BC government is calling (see: http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/nrm_news_releases/2002MCAWS0066-001019.htm) on Canadians to remember these women, and what their tragedy did to bring awareness of violence against women to us all.
So pause a moment this Friday, and perhaps think of some way we can work to put a stop to this kind of senseless attack.
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.