By Chris "Swipey" Sinal
In a move expected to shock pundits province-wide,
Ontario colleges are asking the provincial government for more
A media blitz aimed at all three major political
parties in the current provincial election highlighted Ontario
colleges' concerns that quality of education may be suffering
due to underfunding. "College programming is practical
and as a result our need for equipment is intense," said
Howard Rundle, president of Fanshawe College.
As per-student funding falls, Rundle said,
managing college priorities such as capital costs becomes increasingly
"Both colleges and universities need
to keep up to date," said Rebecca Coulter, New Democratic
Party candidate for London North Centre. "We should be
doing everything we need to do to support our colleges."
The NDP platform includes an increase in
government funding of colleges and universities to national
levels, Coulter added.
The Conservative government has increased
total transfers to colleges by $110 million, said Dianne Cunningham,
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
"As a government, we are directing money
into what we really think is important," Cunningham said.
"We could be putting more money into the college system,"
Peter Askey, with London North Centre Liberal
candidate Deb Matthews' campaign, said the Liberal party is
committed to making sure there is adequate funding.
"Deb Matthews feels that the Liberals
recognize that higher funding has to be provided because there
are more students," he said.
Dave Ford, University Students' Council VP-education,
said per-capita student funding for colleges and universities
in Ontario is one of the lowest in Canada. "It is important
that colleges and universities are both funded equally,"
Ford said. "Colleges play a significant role in stimulating
the economy and providing jobs for the province's youth."