The Uncharted Future

This week, we have a couple of new writers who are testing the waters of The Voice Magazine. Sarah Joseph brings us a book review from a new New York writer, and Tara Howse brings us a story that I don’t often see reflected in these pages, but I know happens to many AU students?the story of when a student starts wondering if the effort and years-long dedication required to graduate from Athabasca University are really worth it. As she’s nearing her graduation this year, you can guess what the answer turned out to be, but she shares with us how she came to it.

So if you’re a student who’s starting to deal with those feelings, at least you know you’re not along, and perhaps her article, “Motivation” will give you just that.

Our feature article this week, however, is a wrap-up of the third- party review, this time from fellow student Barb Lehtiniemi. I know I’ve been writing a lot about this review, but it is possibly one of the most significant things that will direct what happens to AU in the future. With just over two years left until the next Alberta election, however, I’m worried that there simply may not be the time there to be able to fully implement the changes before AU may be dealing with a new government. The NDP’s current popularity is running extremely low, and though economists are predicting that 2017 and 2018 are likely to be strong years for the province, it remains to be seen what the political changes that are happening in Alberta right now will eventually lead to.

For those unaware, Jason Kenney, former Cabinet Minister in Mr. Harper’s government, has been elected as the leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, and is currently proposing a union with the Wildrose Party. Most right-wing commentators predict that such a union would then be able to oust the NDP in the coming election. I’m not entirely sure I agree with this assessment, but neither can I say it’s improbable. Both of these parties lean ideologically to the right, and both have a history of looking to post-secondary education as one of the easiest places to cut funding from to deal with their priorities of deficit and tax reduction, as post-secondary students typically don’t vote. As such, if this does happen, and the NDP are removed, AU can expect that any recommendations from the third party review that suggested additional funding will be quickly shelved to a back-burner, likely with assurances that they would be considered once the province was on a more fiscally sound footing.

It’s also not a done deal that any such union will happen. There are a number of people in the PC party who are simply uncomfortable with some of the more socially conservatives views held by a good portion of the Wildrose party, and it’s been already acknowledged that any such union would see the PC party being dissolved into the Wildrose party, and not the reverse.

So it’s still early days yet, there are far more questions than answers, and we’re not sure what the review will say in any event. So, until we have more information, then, there’s not much to do but enjoy the read!

P.S. If you didn’t already know, The Voice Magazine has a Facebook page and a twitter feed if You’re into that kind of thing!