Volume 92, Issue 83

Wednesday, March 5, 1999


Sparse group of students gathers to discuss education

Students meet to influence budget

Fanshawe bus pass raises Western questions

Transcript changes compare marks

Budget cuts threaten library resources

Weed progress is home grown

Discussing the future UN


Students meet to influence budget

By Mark Brown
Gazette Staff

The attention of provincial student lobby groups has shifted from the federal to the provincial level.

This week both the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance met with parliamentary assistants for the Ministry of Finance to try to ensure student issues are a priority of the next budget.

Andrew Boggs, executive director of OUSA and Joel Harden, chair of CFS-O, agreed funding was the most important issue which needed to be addressed in this year's provincial budget.

"We kept ours very specific," Boggs said. He explained his presentation discussed bringing funding to post secondary education up to the national average which translates into an investment of approximately $550 million.

While Boggs said he would like to see this money injected into the post secondary education system immediately, he suggested the government could consider phasing it in over a few years.

"There has been an overall decrease in post secondary education as a primary budget," he said. Boggs noted since 1978 funding to Ontario universities has dropped from 5.9 to 3.4 per cent of the total provincial budget.

Harden stressed the social benefits of post secondary education, explaining a study conducted by the Council of Ontario Universities shows that for every dollar invested there is a $4 windfall.

Harden's presentation touched on issues other than funding including deregulation, accessibility and creating a grant system for students.

Although Harden does not believe increasing student loans are the answer, he said he was shocked by recent changes to the provincial loan system which make part-time students ineligible to receive a provincial loan. "The government is calling that an $80 million savings."

The pre-budgetary consultations will conclude today in Kingston, said Rob Mitchell, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance. "The whole purpose of these consultations sessions is to get input from the pubic," he said.

Mitchell would not speculate when the budget will be announced, other than to say last year's budget was tabled on May 5. He added that decision is left up to Finance Minister Ernie Eves.

Although Mitchell did not attend the consultations himself, he said he had heard they were very thorough and well-received.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999