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MP has his Day on campus
By John Intini
Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament Stockwell Day had breakfast on campus yesterday and answered a few questions from the Western community.
The Alberta Treasurer began the presentation by saying Canadian post-secondary students are facing a time of unprecedented opportunity.
Day discussed the incredibly low unemployment rate of university and college graduates. He said the current rate is approximately 1.2 per cent.
University Students' Council VP-education Mark Kissel asked Day why tuition rates in Alberta were still increasing, despite the provincial budget's surplus.
Day explained that the Alberta government was responsible for using the surplus to alleviate financial problems in a number of areas, one of which was lowering the provincial debt. He said putting downward pressure on education by being frugal in spending, could help improve the efficiency of the system.
This could be done by making education administrators look more closely at what they offer and how best to provide education, he added.
James Davies, chair of Western's economics department, asked Day how the Alberta government is using the money saved from the federally funded Canadian Millennium Scholarship Fund.
"We are not going to back off on loan forgiveness," Day responded. By contrast, the Ontario government decided to not forgive student debt if the scholarship lowers the total to the $7,000 mark.
Social sciences councillor and USC presidential candidate Ray Novak asked Day how the Alberta government would ensure the development of the Canadian pension plan. "It affects all young people and all young people negatively," Novak said.
Day said the Alberta government was attempting to find alternatives to the current system, in an effort to ensure the fund is at a sizeable total when today's students reach the age of retirement.
"There will be money there, but not at the rate you would get if you were to hire a money manager," Day said, adding efforts are being made to change this pattern.
Day also joked when asked about the diversity of the political positions he has held in public service over his career. "Whenever you see a lengthy résumé, just think of it as someone who gets fired from jobs a lot," he said.