There are now two leadership campaigns officially underway. Both the NDP and the Conservatives now have a competition with multiple candidates vying to be each party’s new leader. I haven’t been paying a lot of attention yet, as what the opposition parties do internally won’t have a lot of effect on me, and there’s still at least a year or two before we’ll see what effects the eventually elected leaders will have on their parties.
However, I have caught some of the ideas that are being put forward, on both sides, and, given those, it’s not at all unlikely that come the next election, Canadians might finally be offered a significant amount of choice in the direction that we want our country to move in.
On the Conservative side alone, there’s considerable choice, with candidates like Michael Chong being almost diametrically opposed to candidates like Kellie Lietch, and then a third side of the issues being brought forward by candidates such as Maxime Bernier. And that’s not even considering the likes of the iconoclastic Kevin O’Leary, who is coming in with the attitude that everything needs to be reset and built from the ground up (and that he’s the guy to do it).
Then on the NDP side, we have Peter Julian, who came on to the scene with the idea of making all post-secondary institutions tuition-free. Well. You have my attention, sir.
I’ve long been in favor of tuition-free post-secondary, and have said multiple times that, while there may be no such thing as a silver bullet to all our problems, higher education comes close. But tuition-free education needs to come with other reforms as well, reforms that will unfortunately, and necessarily, make education harder to obtain. If we remove money as a gate-keeper (which we should) but continue to tie funds to simply the number of students, we risk watering down the worth of a degree. After all, if a university makes money based on having a student taking classes, then there’s a large incentive to keep all students, no matter how incapable they may be, taking classes. A tuition-free post-secondary system needs to tie funding not just to number of students, but to the percentage of student failures. I think it should encourage post-secondary institutions to be willing to fail many, perhaps even a majority, of the students who attempt the education?that strikes me as the only way to ensure that a degree maintains some level of meaning in wider society. Something that, as students who are putting good money into these degrees, should be important to us.
So an NDP candidate saying free tuition definitely makes me sit up and take notice. But then comes NDP candidate, Guy Caron, with a platform of instituting a basic annual income to help us prepare for when technology and automation has taken over most jobs. Something I also strongly support. Collapse the various overlapping social-welfare systems, and eliminate the enforcement needs that are there to ensure only the “correct” people receive the aid, and you’ve got a system that could be economic to run while providing more security for more people. It could let us streamline business regulations (such as no need for minimum wages) and create a level of risk tolerance to spur entrepreneurs. If you knew you wouldn’t starve, what would you be willing to risk pursuing a dream? If you could spend your time volunteering for good causes and still know you’d be able to pay the rent, would you do so? And now I’m divided over which candidate I might consider supporting.
What this all boils down to, however, is that the odds are good that the next election will be considerably different from the last one, with some real choice on offer. Last election, it seemed we had to choose between a conservative platform of reduced taxes and balanced budget, the conservative-lite platform of reduced taxes, balanced budgets, and increased services from the NDP, and the liberal platform that turned out to be conservative-lite with planned deficits.
If the current slate of leadership contenders is any indication, we could be in for some serious debates over what direction we want Canada to go in 2019. And that’s something that can only be good for our country.
In the meantime, however, this week we’ve got a fun issue of The Voice Magazine to keep you busy. Our feature is something near and dear to my heart, the need for amateur writers. This magazine would be nowhere without people like you who decide that you’ve got something to say and are willing to write for The Voice Magazine to make it heard. Of course, technically, once you’ve written for us, you’re no longer an amateur, because we pay for submissions. Also, a good number of our writers move on to further success in their writing careers, whether that’s writing novels, for major magazines, or their own firms.
We also have the start of our new column that will be looking at technology and what works (or doesn’t) for you specifically as an AU student. And it’s starting with the basics?your web browser.
And on top of our regular selection of entertainment, advice, news, and AU events and goings on, this issue marks the return of our music reviews. Helping you decide what you need to listen to, and, just as importantly, what can you skip in new music while you study. All of that and more in this week’s issue. Enjoy the read!