Volume 92, Issue 75

Wednesday, February 10, 1999


SOGS questions fees

Controversial ruling overturned

Liberals offer solution

Social union agreement mobilizes

Music keeps people holding on

Investigations of thefts and alarms


Caught on campus

Social union agreement mobilizes

By Mark Brown
Gazette Staff

It took 10 provinces, two territories and a little help from Western's University Students' Council to come up with the social union framework signed in Ottawa last week.

Over the last few months the USC has been working both locally with Dianne Cunningham, a London member of provincial parliament and minister of intergovernmental affairs and nationally through the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations to improve mobility rights for students, said USC President Ian Armour.

"I would have liked to see more specific education initiative. All we can do now is keep moving the yard stick," Armour added.

Mobility is one of the sections to which every province agreed, except for Quebec. Provinces will no longer be able to charge higher tuition to students from other provinces and students will be able to receive loans from their home province if enrolled elsewhere in the country.

The social union agreement is intended to improve the existing relationship between the provinces and federal government by working cooperatively in areas where federal funding is involved.

There is a strong section on mobility in the agreement which looks at existing barriers between provinces, Cunningham said. She added this point was on the top of the list for the USC representatives who visited her last month.

The sections pertaining to education required the most negotiation but in the end this was one area where Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard could not agree, Cunningham said.

"We have to look at where barriers are justified," she added, noting some maritime provinces would have difficulties accepting more out of province students.

Over three years, this agreement will change provincial policieswhich prohibit mobility, said Hoops Harrison, national director of CASA. "CASA doesn't have a stronger stance against anything than it does for inter-provincial differential tuition."

Although David Caplan, the Ontario Liberal critic for youth issues, said it is important for levels of government to work together, he criticized the high tuition levels in the province. "If [Premier] Mike Harris was serious about mobility, he would lower tuition."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999