Greens Earn Top Marks For Education Platform

CASA News Release

OTTAWA, June 18, 2004 – The Green Party has the best plan to improve Canada’s system of post-secondary education, according to a report card on the party platforms released today by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA).

“The Green Party has the best grasp of the issues facing students and they provide detailed proposals for improving the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada,” said James Kusie, National Director of CASA. The Greens earned a grade of 90%, an “A” at most colleges and universities.

The Green Party proposes to increase funding for post-secondary education and work with the provinces to reduce tuition fees. In addition to addressing the cost of college and university, the Greens distinguish themselves from the other parties by making specific commitments to improve the quality of post-secondary education and support publicly-funded research.

The NDP earned the second highest grade, 78%, or a “B+”. The NDP platform makes several important commitments to students, namely in the areas of tuition fees and financial aid. The party’s mark would have been higher had their platform provided more details as to how and when their commitments would be fulfilled.

The Bloc Qu├ębecois platform received a mark of 74%, a “B” by most standards. The party deals with the crucial issue of transfer payments and promises to fight for increased money for the provinces. The Bloc also earned marks for committing to end the 10-year moratorium on declaring bankruptcy on student loans and for promising to amend the law prohibiting international students from working off-campus.

“The Conservatives and the Liberals barely passed on their reports cards. If they were majoring in post-secondary education, they probably wouldn’t even get credit,” said Kusie of the two party platforms.

The Conservatives faired slightly better than the Liberals, earning a 58%, or “D+”. Their platform on post-secondary education is weak, skirting many issues that affect students, namely tuition fees and the lack of grants. Where they do discuss higher learning, they place emphasis on maintaining problematic programs already in existence and offer very little in terms of innovative, student-friendly policy development.

Finally, the Liberal Party platform on post-secondary education is virtually non-existent. While their platform discusses the government’s record in detail, the party makes no commitments to new spending or programs. Two weeks ago in a nationally televised youth forum, Paul Martin promised to address escalating tuition fees by increasing funding directly to colleges and universities. He also said the new low-income grant should be extended and improved. Nevertheless, these commitments are no where to be found in the Liberal Party platform. Therefore, they earn the lowest grade – 54%, or “D”.

The platforms were judged using a standard, quantitative evaluation system. Parties received points for mentioning post-secondary education, raising specific issues concerning students, making specific commitments, providing positive solutions, and offering detailed plans for implementing their initiatives.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is a non-partisan, non-profit organization representing nearly 300,000 students from coats-to-coast.

View the entire report card here: http://www.thinkeducation.ca/reportcard.asp

Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
http://www.casa.ca/index.asp

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