Volume 92, Issue 86

Thursday, March 11, 1999


USC budget sees student fee increase

Moran gets an 'F' from faculty

McGuinty promises education will be at platform forefront

Good chance for post grads

Fares on the up and up

Series explores international effects on Iraq

Quirks & Smirks

Caught on campus

McGuinty promises education will be at platform forefront

By Becky Somerville
Gazette Staff

Western politicians shed some light on the issues facing post secondary students in a meeting yesterday with Ontario Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty.

At the request of University Students' Council President Ian Armour, McGuinty met for over an hour with the USC board of directors and president-elect SzeJack Tan to hear the problems with student aid, student debt and high tuition levels facing Western students.

"[McGuinty] wants to know what the priorities of the students are," Armour said. "He understands the issues, which is nice to hear from a politician."

Armour said McGuinty acknowledged the fact universities are underfunded and although he would not reveal details of the Liberal platform for the upcoming provincial election, he guaranteed post secondary education would be at the forefront.

"The only things that he would commit to is a tuition freeze, re-regulation of tuition and the abolition of residence fees for medical students," Armour said.

McGuinty recognized the importance of reinvesting in post secondary education to strengthen the economy, Armour said. "The thing that impressed me was that [McGuinty] recognized that putting money back into Western in terms of grants is an investment.

"It was encouraging to me as a student leader that he and his team came to meet with us before formulating his platform," Armour said. "If we were effective [yesterday], it will be reflected."

McGuinty said the province would be looking at an election in May or June. He added his commitment to post secondary education is part of what he deemed a "modern industrial strategy."

"It's in everybody's self interest that any young person who has the ability to do so, does in fact pursue post secondary studies," McGuinty said.

While McGuinty did not specifically indicate when his platform would be released, he did say it will address student debt levels and tuition fees as well as the fact post secondary education has been underfunded.

"I'm talking about additional funding for universities but there are going to be strings attached," he said. "We've got to make tuition more affordable.

"We have a strategy and we're sticking to it," McGuinty said. "We're going to offer, I think, some solid help on all those three [aforementioned] fronts."

Nick Iozzo, VP-education for the USC, said he was pleased with the meeting, yet somewhat discouraged since the USC had to bring up a number of issues of which McGuinty and his advisors were not aware.

Iozzo also questioned the fact McGuinty has not yet released his platform. "While it may not be a good thing he has waited this long to announce his platform, it may be a good thing we may have been able to shape some of the policy."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999