Editorial – A Billion Here, A Billion There

So on November 20th, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) went to the federal government asking for an additional 2.84 billion to be devoted to post-secondary issues, which would take care of Canada’s post-secondary funding problem.

While I certainly admire and applaud the intent, I do question the timing. This federal government has been quite clear in its intent to do whatever it takes to meet its self-imposed deadline of having no deficit by 2015. Including pulling 1.13 billion away from Veteran’s Affairs to general revenue over the time they’ve been in power, and, more recently, of pulling 125 million back from Foreign Aid projects so that it can meet this budgetary commitment. If they’re willing to pull money from Veteran’s Affairs, a group that tends to vote for them already, what chance does the CFS think they’ll have of convincing this government to give over double that to students, who tend not to vote in any fashion?

Which is really too bad, because the three action items they want the federal government to use that 2.84 billion for all seem to be solid strategies not just for helping post-secondary education, but for preparing the Canadian economy for the future. I say this somewhat grudgingly as most of the CFS policies and campaigns I tend to disagree with. Not with the policies or campaigns themselves, which tend to focus around human rights or environmental causes, but just with the idea that an organization that supposedly exists to support students is concerning themselves with these things.

It seems to me that the lack of focus on student issues not only must hamper their actions that directly benefit students, but also paints a picture of them that allows them to become easily labelled by certain segments of society. For instance, why is a students? group running a campaign against bottled water, or attempting to deal with blood-donation discrimination against homosexual men? Both worthy causes, certainly, but also causes more appropriately handled by other groups.

Still, I wish them the best of luck. What they need to do now is start convincing the general person on the street how a properly funded post-secondary system benefits all of us over the long term. If they do that, then maybe by the time the election rolls around, they’ll have convinced some party to give it a try in their platform.

Until then, however, we have the Christmas season rushing upon us, which not only means holidays for The Voice Magazine, but also that our Best of the Voice Issue is rapidly approaching as well. What articles from the past year do you think deserve a spot as the Best of the Voice? Write me at voice@voicemagazine.org to get your votes in, but don’t judge too hastily, as there’s still four new issues (including this one) full of content for you to consider in your decisions.

Be sure to check out our feature article just below, as Barb Lehtiniemi has found a set of free resources that can help any AU student, written specifically for students at Athabasca University. The Surviving the Slumps module alone is worth the price of admission.

Enjoy the read!