05 January 2006
Martin Unveils Post-Secondary Education Plan
Having just watched the announcement live, my first impression is that this is laughable. The so-called "50-50" program, which will cover half of a student's tuition cost in his/her first year and half the cost in the last year, is actually a 25% program and will do little to assist many low-income students who are already feeling the pinch of rising tuition costs. Giving the kids $6000 over four/five years is simply not going to placate many people I know many people who are upset that tuition costs have more than doubled at UBC-O in the past five years, and I can bet that this assistance, while appreciated, will still not be sufficient. What are they supposed to do for the second, third, and sometimes fourth year of their program? Rack up more horrific student debt?
Also, the program does not take effect until the 2007-08 year. This does nothing for students who are beginning their programs next year (2006-07) and they will not benefit from this program for at least two years. In the same line of thought, given that this is yet another backloaded Liberal promise, based on the duration of the last minority Parliament, it is unlikely that the government elected in this term will even be in office for the start of that academic year (and the way this election is going, it won't be a Liberal minority anyways). The problem with this timetable is that the months prior to the fall of the government will be full of the same rancor as we saw last semester, and thus election promises will not make it through the legislative process in time before Parliament is dissolved.
My early prognostication is that this announcement will amount to very little, if not nothing at all.
On another Liberal policy front, why are they running against the record of having "fixed health care for a generation" by promising to throw almost another billion dollars at the problem of reducing wait times? I thought it was fixed!
Posted by RGM