Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

Free Movies! Paid for By You.

If you’re a film buff, you might be pleased to hear that the National Film Board of Canada has announced (http://www.nfb.ca/pr/scripts/display_pr.pl?id=12624&lang=us&view=gps_pr_pub_v) the opening of its new Cineroute program. This program will allow Canadians to sign on to the National Film Board site and view any of 250 movies, including NFB documentaries and animated shorts for free.

Unfortunately, there are currently some problems with signing up, as when I tried it keeps bouncing me back to the “modify your profile page”, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you whether they have any of the good stuff behind the login. You’ll just have to go there for yourself and find out. Hopefully they’ll have it fixed by the time you read this.

On the bright side, it’s nice to know that some of the tax dollars we pay that go to support culture are now actually being used so that the people who pay in can get some entertainment value from them.

After all, watching our politicians argue on CPAC is only entertaining to a certain type of person.

New Brunswick AU Student Gets Mention

Hey you! Yes, you in New Brunswick in the Nursing Program! Congratulations!

For the rest of us who don’t know what I’m talking about, the Provincial Government of New Brunswick has announced (http://www.gnb.ca/cnb/news/hw/2004e0264hw.htm) $70,000 worth of funding to go to students taking nursing programs in order to pay for their tuition and books over the fall 2003 and winter 2004 semesters.

21 nursing students received the funding, including 16 from the University of New Brunswick, 4 from the Université de Moncton, and of course one from our very own Athabasca University. Seeing an AU student get proper recognition from their provincial government for their work is something I feel has been a long time over-due, so thank you, whoever you are.

With any luck, you’ll only be the first among many, but it’s still an important milestone. So best of luck in your courses, show them how good an AU education really is, and maybe we’ll be seeing more significant contributions in future.

Just what you needed, more pressure eh?

$70 Million Dollars: 3000 Seats.

The Province of British Columbia has announced (http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/nrm_news_releases/2004OTP0029-000146.htm) it will be spending over $70 million dollars creating 3000 seats at Simon Fraser University over the next 6 years. That works out to about 23,000 per seat. Once again, I have to question the wisdom of spending that much money making seats, when if distance education was used, that much money could go into things like giving students a cheaper education or perhaps creating entirely new programs of study.

Heck, 70 million dollars is greater than AU’s annual budget. BC could easily pay the entire tuition of any students who wanted to go to distance education with that money, possibly even setting up some kind of endowment fund with it so that it could even continue in the future.

But of course, that would go against their general policy of thinking that a post-secondary education primarily benefits the student, and not realizing the benefits it brings to the whole society.

And for those of you that follow this column, I still haven’t gotten a response from my letter to the BC Minister of Advanced Education that I presented in my column a few weeks ago (http://www.ausu.org/voice/search/searchdisplay.php?ART=2563). I’ll let you know if I ever do.

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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