Volume 95, Issue 1
Thursday, May 24, 2001
Tory budget: Western happy, USC mad
Last week, before a small audience on campus, the Ontario Tory government unveiled plans for continued support of post-secondary education following their recent budget announcement.
Western president Paul Davenport said he was excited to welcome provincial Minister of Finance Dan Flaherty and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Dianne Cunningham to campus and to the recently completed lecture hall in the Natural Sciences centre. "This is what SuperBuild can do," he said as he gestured to the new building.
"The announcement made on May 9 was an important one," he said, adding the multi-year commitment from the Ontario government's recent budget is a good sign for the future of post-secondary education in this province.
"We are very pleased the government has announced three-year funding. Ontario universities have been asking for multi-year commitments for a long time," Davenport said. Although he noted the funding is not targetted to specific programs, Davenport said he was pleased with that aspect of the announcement.
"The university itself decides on the allocation of money and that's a good thing," he said.
Flaherty said he was pleased to attend the event alongside Cunningham. "She is the advocate in Ontario for our colleges and universities and she is very knowledgeable on the subject," he said.
Flaherty noted more and more young people are attending colleges and universities in Ontario and added his government was planning for the future.
"We recognize the importance of planning ahead," Flaherty said, adding his government's commitment to post-secondary funding will create in excess of 70,000 new spaces for students and an additional investment of $293 million.
"We listened and we responded," he said. "There will be a place in every college and university for every willing and qualified student in 2003."
Cunningham, agreed with Flaherty. "This 2001 Ontario budget was indeed good news for students and their parents," she said. "Students and parents need to be re-assured that our government has a plan."
This is a landmark commitment and the ultimate benefactors are our families, communities and business communities," she said, adding that between Western and Fanshawe, 6,000 student spaces have been created
Erin McCloskey, University Students' Council VP-education said she was disappointed with the announcement. "It's $293 million and we've got no idea where it's going. It's barely proportional to the number of students," she said.
"We're still being drastically underfunded. We're afraid this budget will negatively effect accessibilty and it will decrease accessibility for Western students," McCloskey said.
"It may also cause a shift in who you see at Western," she said.
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