Research Receives More Money
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada has announced funding for almost 1000 research projects (http://www.sshrc.ca/web/whatsnew/press_releases/2005/srg_e.asp), to the tune of $81.2 million dollars. If you’d care to know what that buys, you can take a look at the list of projects (http://www.sshrc.ca/web/winning/comp_results/2005_srg.pdf). While I don’t like to denigrate research projects, I wonder why the University of British Columbia is receiving $35,000 for “Imagining the Victorian Mind.” After all, PBS’s “1900 House” is only $35. Even given the exchange rate, the funding seems a bit excessive, perhaps because I don’t have enough imagination to see how imagining a Victorian mind is worth $35,000. Of course, the list is huge, so I’m sure everybody can find at least one thing that makes them scratch their head.
The same day the list was released, the Prime Minister said “We need to continue to invest in research in Canada,” in a speech (http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news.asp?id=505) in Montreal. So it seems that part of his vision is at least happening. Now if only he could be convinced that helping people to get a post-secondary education is the first basic step to encouraging research and innovation.
Tax Cuts for Tuition
The provincial government of New Brunswick has implemented the tax cut for tuition (http://www.gnb.ca/cnb/news/fin/2005e0681fn.htm) program that I wrote about a few issues ago. There are no changes from what was proposed, so there’s not really any news here. While this may seem like a big step to the government, depriving themselves of up to $10,000 in total tax revenue from each student, for those who are struggling to get their post-secondary education, it’s no support at all. After all, if you’re having trouble making ends meet so you can afford tuition, the odds are good that you’re not paying tax to begin with.
Who this does help, however, are those families that can afford to send their students to college but find themselves with a high tax bill. In other words, those who are already fairly well-off and having little trouble affording education in the first place. If this is their idea of “investing in education”, they need to go back to school. This is investing in a tax break. While I like tax breaks as much as the next guy, we should be honest about what is being done.
PEI Promotes Services from Students
It’s an interesting program (http://www.gov.pe.ca/news/getrelease.php3?number=4137) that the province of Prince Edward Island has in place. Students in grade eleven or twelve can earn a tuition credit by completing between 30 and 100 hours of community service. This credit is then awarded as a bursary for when they go forward with their education. Not only does it give students a way to help earn their education, it also serves to promote volunteerism, and this in turn helps other disadvantaged people. It seems like a triple win program, and over five years it has cost less than half a million dollars. For those keeping score, that’s only 14 of UBC’s “imaginings.” Imagine that.
As a side note, because I thought it was interesting, An Alberta man was recently caught and fined $18,000 for trafficking in eagles (http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200506/18133FE091AAD-D979-41B1-B49F264A68E6AC3C.html). Meanwhile, in Newfoundland and Labrador, nine people have recently been charged, some convicted, for poaching salmon (http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2005/nr/0603n04.htm).
Of course, the guys in Newfoundland calling themselves “The Untouchables” probably didn’t help their case. What is it with people not understanding why there are restrictions on hunting animals? The government generally doesn’t restrict people from hunting these things on a whim — there’s no money in it for them, after all. Enforcement probably costs a lot more than any fine that’s been applied, to say nothing of court costs. Could we just leave protected animals alone until they get their numbers back up and the restrictions come off. Not only is it the law, it means there’ll be something to hunt next year.