Volume 91, Issue 87

Friday, March 13, 1998

Bottoms up


OPINIONS
 

Could happen to you

Re: Get a job, you bum and Pay your own way, March 5

To the Editor:
Recently, there have been a rash of letters in support of tuition increases from the "If I can do it, so can you" faction. Unfortunately, the arguments of this group are fundamentally flawed.

C. MacIntosh and Tracy Johnson believe that since they have been able to find a job that everyone else can too. The argument is only valid if one assumes they are the most unskilled, unsuitable, prospective employees in the country and that there are more job vacancies than there are applicants.

Now I can't comment on the validity of the first condition, but economic statistics show there is between 10 and 29 per cent unemployment for youth. I have not seen any statistics showing how many unfilled jobs there are currently, but it is safe to say the former is much greater than the latter.

Secondly, while these fine, hard-working students can support themselves, could they also support a child or sick parent on their current incomes? Would they just work harder or should single parents not go to university?

MacIntosh wonders, "how does it feel to want someone else to pay your way?" Well, he doesn't really have to wonder because someone else is already paying his way. Currently, his tuition accounts for 30 per cent of the actual cost of his education. Can you afford the other 70 per cent Mr. MacIntosh?

Both MacIntosh and Johnson feel that education only benefits the individual student and therefore society should not pay education costs. The fact is education benefits all of society. Everyday, medical research saves lives, products are invented that create thousands of jobs and society is shaped by thinkers and lawmakers. All of these areas are driven by education and research. None of us invented the computer, but we all benefit from the fact that someone was educated enough to do so. We do not drive on every road our taxes pay for, nor do we use every available health care option, but we accept that at times the individual must contribute to the greater good. The fact is that without collective pooling of our resources, our society will degenerate into a collective of haves and have-nots.

I believe the current "I'm OK so I'm not going to worry about anyone else" mentality is very dangerous. We all believe "it can never happen to me," yet we are all just an accident, an illness or a mistake away from being in the shoes of those we judge. So rather than "if I can do it, so can you," how about "if it can happen to them, it can happen to me."

Ormonde Bensen
M.E.Sc I





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Copyright The Gazette 1998