Volume 92, Issue 79

Wednesday, February 17, 1998


Federal budget fails to address education

Hailing a safety solution

U of T gets movie blues

Western alumnus feared dead after avalanche

Faculty vote against open voting rights

Washing hope into disease

Safety issues spring up before break

Federal budget fails to address education

By Mark Brown
Gazette Staff

Although the federal government has acknowledged education is in the midst of a crisis, students were left in the waiting room while health care received in excess of $11.5 billion of funding in yesterday's budget.

Both federal and provincial student lobby groups were quick to criticize Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin's budget and said education was neglected.

Hoops Harrison, national director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, said education was ignored even though Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Stephain Dion told CASA education was in a crisis worse than health care. While Harrison called the steps taken in last year's budget a good step forward, he said yesterday's budget brought that progress to a complete halt.

"Just because we got so much last year does not mean the problem doesn't warrant attention this year," Harrison said.

One of the biggest announcements of last year's budget was the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation, a $2.5 billion scholarship fund.

Liz Carlyle, national chair for the Canadian Federation of Students, also did not look kindly on the budget. "The federal government seems to think that students can survive on last year's budget. Well, we can't survive on last year's wages and we can't survive on this year's tuition fees so I don't know if we are going to be able to survive on this year's budget."

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance was also disappointed. Andrew Boggs, executive director of OUSA, said last year's "education budget" did not have any of the real re-investment gains shown in yesterday's "health care" budget.

However, Joe Fontana, chair of the liberal caucus and London member of parliament, defended the federal government's commitment to education. Over the next five years, $11.5 billion will go to the provinces in the form of funding through the Canadian Health and Social Transfer, Fontana said. He added while $6.5 billion of that is going to health care, over $5 billion is going to social services as well as education.

"I hope that the provinces, when they receive this money, will essentially plow it back into the universities which will take the pressure off tuition fees," Fontana said.

Unlike the student groups, Western President Paul Davenport was pleased with the budget.

"This is the third budget in a row that contains new support for teaching and research and I am delighted with the direction that the minister has set," Davenport said.

"I think all of our students benefit from research and knowledge discovery. I don't think students at Western would want to be at a university that was not characterized by knowledge and research or characterized by a professor doing research."

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