Volume 94, Issue 9

Thursday, September 14, 2000


Editorial Board 2000-2001

Education - it's an investment

Editorial cartoon

Education - it's an investment

Health care transfer payments were the talk of the town in Ottawa on Monday, as the 10 premiers emerged from their talks at 24 Sussex drive.

A new cash infusion of close to $25 billion over five years has been earmarked specifically by the federal government to cover health care costs.

This huge increase in spending is aimed at repairing Canada's health care system, which was subject to major cuts under the Canada Health and Social Transfer. The federal government is now re-imbuing the depleted cash into provincial coffers to be spent only on health care to satisfy the electorate. This rather hefty sum is also indicative of a budget which is on track and brimming with a comfortably plump surplus.

Lobbyists have a knack for sniffing out the robust and earthy stench of money and student groups have already begun asking for their cut. They believe that in light of the healthy profit Ottawa is making, some of that cash should go towards the sponsorship of post-secondary education.

Cheaper education means increased accessibility and a better educated populace, which can universally be agreed upon as a good thing. But unfortunately the concerns of university and college students don't coincide with the priorities of the majority of Canada's population.

The Liberals are firm believers in the virtues of demographics. Since an election year is approaching and baby boomers represent a large tier of the electorate, it is wise on the part of politicians to satiate boomers' needs for increased health care security. They are, after all, getting older and have to start taking better care of themselves, since their children are all grown up.

Students possessing neither the sheer numbers, nor financial power of the Boom generation, are victims in a case of tyranny of the majority.

It's an uphill battle that students must fight if they want to win a piece of the financial pie. We must become more aware, more united and less apathetic, in order to get the ink in the Treasury Board's pens flowing so they'll cut education a cheque.

Every year that is not seized upon by students means less dollars in student pockets come September, as the cost of tuition climbs higher and higher.

Health care is a very good area to allocate public funds and the Chretien government should certainly be applauded, but sponsored post-secondary education is also an important receptacle for federal funds, since what it produces is the future of Canada – which is far too valuable to be measured in dollars or cents.

But until Ottawa realizes this, students will remain subservient to the needs of an aging demographic and the sometimes dark side to democracy.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000