Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

Aboriginal Students in Saskatchewan Receive Boost

The provincial government of Saskatchewan is partnering with the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation in order to create a new scholarship specifically for aboriginal students. Over six million dollars is being put into the new Millennium Aboriginal Access Bursary. This initiative will provide bursaries of $2,000 for 2,500 aboriginal post-secondary students. Designed to provide aid for those aboriginal students in need, they’ll be considered for the award simply by applying for student financial assistance in Saskatchewan.

This is particularly relevant for Athabasca University, as Alberta is also looking for ways to encourage aboriginal students to attend post-secondary studies. Partnering with a federally-funded organization like the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation seems to be a good way to do it for a much smaller cost than a purely made-in-Alberta type of program. Combine that with distance education providing a good post-secondary education for those in rural locations, results in an accessible means to provide post-secondary education to those individuals who normally would not consider pursuing the opportunity.

Saskatchewan. Executive Council (2005, June 30). News release: New access bursary for aboriginal post-secondary students.

Brain Drain History

The Canada Foundation for Innovation announced on June 29, 2005, funding of over 25 million dollars to support 132 research projects across Canada. These projects are designed to attract and retain 181 leading-edge researchers from around the world. While heralding this as helping Canada’s brain gain, I still find myself wondering why the federal government is not doing more to support Canada’s brain growth. It seems strange that we’re spending money to attract researchers from outside of the country and at the same time tuition fees for post-graduate courses are continuing to rise.

This is especially concerning when you look at the most recent Statistics Canada data that shows that Canadians who earn doctoral degrees in Canada are likely to stay in Canada. That same report also shows that while 56% of doctoral degree graduates had no debt upon graduation, scholarship and fellowship programs from the universities and government supported over half of those students. What you have to wonder is how much money is wasted on the overhead for administering these scholarships and fellowships. Would it not be more effective to provide the funding directly to universities in order to lower tuition fees?

Canada Foundation for Innovation (2005, June 29). $25.5 million CFI investment boosts Canada’s brain gain.
Statistics Canada (2005, July 5). Survey of earned doctorates: A profile of doctoral degree recipients. The Daily.

Everyone and their Dog Condemns the Bombings in Britain

On July 7, 2005, London, England was the sad target for more terrorist activities, with several bombs going off on the mass-transit system. Shortly thereafter, condemnations of the terrorist attack were issued by the Prime Minister, the Governor General, quasi-governmental organizations, the leaders of the G8, the Premiers of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador, etc.

While some of these news releases also contain condolences for the people in Britain, something I’m sure is appreciated, many of them are simple condemnations of the terrorist attacks. I find it kind of funny that all of these people feel the need for some reason to stand up and say “Yes, we recognize that bombing innocent people is a bad thing and shouldn’t be done.” Shouldn’t that be taken as the default position? After all, just because Premier Klein hasn’t done up a press release saying that he condemns the attacks, would anybody assume that this means he’s actually in favour of them? Furthermore, considering that what terrorists want most is publicity and fear, doesn’t this outpouring of “shock and anger” toward their acts actually serve their purposes far better than simple silence would?

Instead, more politicians should follow the approach taken by Wayne Steeves, the Minister of Public Safety in New Brunswick. The news release expressed the government’s condolences to the people in the United Kingdom, but also took the opportunity to reassure citizens of the province that there was no direct threat to them. In essence, Wayne Steeves is working against the very goals of the terrorists who are seeking to inspire fear not only in London, but across the globe.

British Columbia. Office of the Premier (2005, July 7). News release: Premier’s statement in response to London tragedy.
Canada. Government of Canada (2005, July 7). Terrorist attacks on London. Canada’s G8 Website.
Canada. Office of the Governor General of Canada (2005, July 7). Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson Governor General of Canada on today’s terrorist attacks in London.
Canada. Office of the Prime Minister (2005, July 7). Statement by Prime Minister Paul Martin.
Manitoba. Office of the Premier (2005, July 7). Statement by Premier Gary Doer on London bombings.
New Brunswick. Public Safety (2005, July 7). N.B. faces no direct threat in connection with U.K. explosions.
Newfoundland and Labrador. Executive Council (2005, July 7). Premier expressed condolences, shock at events in London.
Ontario. Office of the Premier (2005, July 7). News release: Premier Dalton McGuinty offers sympathy to victims of terrorist bombings In London.
Rights and Democracy (2005, July 7). “Absolutely no justification” for murderous terror attacks on London.
Saskatchewan. Office of the Premier (2005, July 7). News release: Premier extends condolences to Great Britain.

Newfoundland and Labrador Freezing

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the recent release of their provincial post-secondary White Paper has prompted several actions from the provincial government. Of particular interest is the recommendation to implement a three year tuition freeze. Over $25 million has been allocated by the government to offset this tuition freeze. At the same time, the government is also introducing nearly $22 million for grants-in-aid to needy post-secondary students. In total, the provincial government will invest nearly $90 million over the next three years to implement the strategies outlined in the White Paper.

It should be pointed out that Newfoundland and Labrador do not have their provincial debt fully paid off, the province is not running a $5 billion surplus, nor do they have the lowest business taxes in the country. Yet, still they’ve set their priorities on making sure that their citizens have access to affordable post-secondary education. I wonder if and when Alberta will follow the lead of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Newfoundland and Labrador. Ministry of Education (2005, July 7). Commitments being kept to strengthen public post-secondary education.