This week, the Alberta Budget was released. If you haven’t seen anything about it in the news, you haven’t been looking. For Albertans, the big take-away is that our province is looking at a 10-billion-dollar deficit. The same deficit that the federal Liberals said they’d be taking for the entire country (of course, they’ve since gone to 30 billion, so maybe it’s not so bad). This raises the inevitable hue and cry about mortgaging our future, but I always find myself thinking, “That’s what a mortgage is for, isn’t it? So we can have what we need now and stretch the payments into the future?” They’re also bringing in a carbon tax, and a carbon tax rebate scheme that focuses on low income earners. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about those. While fully behind the idea of a carbon tax, I have to question the timing. On the bright side, the rebate scheme addresses some of those timing concerns.
For AU students, the take-away is somewhat better. The AB gov’t has committed to continuing the tuition freeze for another year, and is increasing operating funding to the post-secondary institutions across the province by 2%, a number just higher than inflation over the past year. While I would have liked more, it is a far cry from Alberta governments of old, when threats to the budget would have been answered with an ax to post-secondary education funding, and we all would have been told to tighten our belts just that one extra notch?for the good of the government, you understand.
More information came out in last night’s AUSU Council meeting, but I’m still doing up the full report on that. Suffice it to say that while the government has made assurances that they will not let AU close, no firm commitments have been made to anything beyond that, and no specific funding is being given to address the issue. The attitude that they seem to be taking is to wait to see if it becomes a crisis. As AU has been through these funding crises many times previous and has always managed to work its way through it, as much as I hate to say it, it might be the right decision by a government not looking to spend money unnecessarily. The counterpoint being, of course, that fixing a crisis is always much more expensive than preventing it would have been.
But as for The Voice Magazine this week, we start off with our feature interview with student Abra Diesbourg from Edmonton. A paralegal who teaches martial arts and works to make students into human rights leaders. In short, she kicks ass. We also have a closer look at AU’s new course in ecological anthropology, ANTH 355, and if you missed the AUSU Annual General Meeting, have no fear, as Barb Lehtiniemi sums up some of the hits and misses from AUSU’s activities in their annual report from her perspective.
Plus, an interview with AUSU’s new Executive Director, Sarah Cornett, and a look at the aftermath of your AU studies. Once you’ve finished the degree, what happens next? Deanna Roney gives us a look at her experience. All this plus education news, film and music reviews, and even a look at how ethics matters in your writing.
Enjoy the read!