Edmonton – Today, Paul Martin announced his agenda in the Speech from the Throne. While much was said about post-secondary education, students are struggling to find meaningful solutions for the issues they face.
“It is important that the federal government is acknowledging issues like student debt and technology costs,” stated Shirley Barg, CAUS Chair. “However, the proposed ‘solutions’ do not seem to fit with the problems that were identified.”
“Giving first-year students grants is not a good way to deal with student debt,” argued Chris Samuel, CAUS Vice-Chair. “There was no mention of the Debt Reduction and Repayment Program. There is nothing new to help students who are already struggling under heavy debt loads.”
Students’ groups, including CAUS, have been advocating for earmarked funding for post-secondary education within the federal transfer payment to the provinces.
“Dedicating transfer payments for post-secondary education is the most immediate thing Paul Martin could do to improve students’ quality of life,” said Barg. “Unfortunately, he was the Finance Minister who got rid of dedicated payments, and he’s not giving students effective solutions.”
The Speech also demonstrated intent to move toward the commercialization of research from universities.
“While ideas that come out of academic institutions might prove to be profitable, that does not make it acceptable for the federal government to treat institutions of free thought as if they were businesses,” stated Samuel. “When corporate interests begin to compete with principles of academic freedom, there is a problem.”
The Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) represents over 80 000 Alberta undergraduate university students.
For more information, contact:
Shirley Barg, CAUS Chair
780 461 4948
Melanee Thomas, CAUS Executive Director
780 492 1976