Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

Praying for School Funding?

Alberta Learning has decided to inject about twenty million dollars (http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200408/16964CC2C7F2D-C66F-4A9E-A511A3CE887F08FC.html) into the educational system. Unfortunately, this money will go into only two school regions around St. Paul. The reason for the funding is to upgrade and expand the current facilities there in order to provide the Francophone, Protestant, and Catholic students with their own schools.

To separate the Francophone students I can understand, simply because it can be unwieldy in terms of staffing teachers able to teach in two separate languages — especially in Alberta. I wish this wasn’t the case and that we had more truly bilingual schools. After all, we’re supposedly a bilingual country, so having our children know both official languages doesn’t strike me as being that far out of line.

But it’s not as if extra math teachers need to be hired to provide the Catholic view on mathematics. I’m sure that a protestant math teacher would be just as capable of teaching the basics of long division. So rather than creating a whole new site just to separate one from the other, simply put the money into properly expanding what they have now to accommodate both. After all, a new building will of course require all new maintenance staff and contracts and all the rest of that. Basically we’re losing economies of scale here.

Beyond that, I’m a little bit annoyed at having to spend so much money so that Catholic students do not have to mix with Protestant students.

For one, why is it specifically Catholic students and not, say, Muslim, Anglican, Unitarian, or any of the other religions that receives such special treatment? If we can’t justify it for any of the various other religions in Canada, how is it justified for those of the Catholic faith? And could a Muslim family have grounds for suing Alberta on grounds of religious discrimination by not providing them with a separate school?

It’s best, in my opinion, to ditch religion entirely from the public system. If a family wants their child to receive a religious education, more power to them, but let them do it through the private system.

First Ministers on Drugs

If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you know that the premiers recently went to Ottawa and asked them to come up with a plan to pay (http://www.cp.org/english/online/full/health/040730/x073038A.html) for all pharmaceutical coverage across the country. The Federal Government understandably gave them a quick and blunt refusal.

It’s too bad, but hardly unexpected. Not only did the provinces go in simply demanding more money, but a couple of them, namely Quebec and Alberta, did so while boldly stating they’d accept no conditions on the payments, and a couple more went in with the idea that they could tie health payments with equalization payments as well.

Given this unpalatable offer, I’m hardly surprised that the Federal Government didn’t agree with it.

This wasn’t an answer to the problem of the sky-rocketing cost of drugs, this was simply looking for more money to come from the Federal Government, so that our income taxes would grow on the federal side rather than the provincial ones.

Now they’re all (well, all except Klein (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040831.wprems0831/BNStory/National/), who had a rehearsal party for Alberta’s Centennial to attend. Why do your job when you can stuff your face?) meeting to try and figure out a way to convince Ottawa to go along with them.

However, to pull nine to twelve billion out of the Federal Budget, while at the same time hoping for no strings on the money and more strings on the Feds is simply unrealistic. What they should be looking at are ways to address the pharmacare problem directly, rather than simply raising our taxes and hoping it doesn’t get worse. That simply won’t happen as the big drug development companies have a vested interest in making sure they get as much money out of us as they can.

Perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at alternatives to drug therapy, or even alternatives to privately made pharmaceuticals. After all, if they think that throwing money at the problem will make it go away, I have to think they’re already on their own drug plan.

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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