The Numbers Game
Statistics Canada has recently released (http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/030611/d030611b.htm) a report on University Financing across Canada. The report starts off with the happy news that, for the first time in 15 years, revenues from public sources increased faster than those from private sources. Could it be that the governments are finally starting to realize the benefits of having a well-educated populace?
On a little closer examination though, it turns out that this is not the case. Instead, we see that the reason public funding has outpaced private funding is because the money from investments dropped almost 40% with the stock-market downturn. What makes it even worse, is the report indicates that even though direct federal funding rose, “more than 90% of this funding was allocated to support sponsored research activities.” Now, research is a good thing of course, but so is training future researchers. Why doesn’t the federal government devote a larger portion of this funding into grants and scholarships at the national level?
Over the past decade, the revenue universities are receiving from student fees has more than doubled.
Over the past 15 years, total government funding of universities has actually dropped almost 5%. Yet the government continually proclaims how much it values education. It looks to me like post-secondary is valued about 5% less than it used to be.. plus inflation.
Of course, until students from all over the country speak out against this type of action, we should not expect anything else. After all, if we do not speak, they do not know that what they are doing is affecting our voting choices at the next election. When it boils down to it, we all know that it is only our votes that matter to the politicians. It’s time we started telling them what the price of that vote is.
Finally there is a study for the procrastinators among us. Through the Canadian Space Agency the federal government is participating in an international research effort to determine the effects of prolonged bed rest (http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/media/press_room/news_releases/2003/030606.asp). The study is going to be used to determine what types of therapy work best to mitigate the loss of bone and muscle-mass while remaining confined to bed.
It makes a guy wonder what he can do to get in on this. Sadly, the answer is, he can’t. The volunteers for this study consist of 25 women who will stay in bed for sixty to ninety days.
This is just a part of what that 90% of post-secondary funding directed to research is actually doing for us. While the research may have some use for people who are comatose or suffer from chronic pain or bone and joint affecting disorders such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, you still have to wonder if somebody was asleep at the wheel when this one got approved.
British Columbia is proposing what it calls “Tough New Drunk-Driving Laws (http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/nrm_news_releases/2003PSSG0024-000565.htm).” This is the province of Premier Gordon Campbell, who was not so long ago arrested for drunk-driving while in the United States. I guess Mr. Campbell wants it to be perfectly obvious to everyone that he’s really not in favour of drunk driving.
And who knows, if the people do not read the proposal, they might even believe that. Once you read the proposal though, you see that what might be tough for Mr. Campbell seems pretty easy for the rest of us.
Proposed measures include a ninety-day suspension if you get two 24-hour roadside suspensions. So the first one is free, folks. They also include “adding a user-pay compulsory rehabilitation program for serious offenders” [emphasis added]. I wonder if the police would consider a Premier to be a serious offender? They also include “strengthening enforcement, by encouraging the strategic deployment of police officers where and when they can best enforce impaired-driving laws,” or what the rest of us know as check-stops.
But hey, this is tough legislation folks.
The Premier says so.
And why would he lie?
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.