September 23, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 14  

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Deb Matthews: fire the Tories and the Liberals will freeze tuition

By: Deb Matthews

Do you want to fire the person responsible for skyrocketing tuition? On Oct. 2, you'll have a chance to do just that. And, at the same time, you'll freeze tuition for at least the next two years.

Skyrocketing tuition is not the only legacy of Dianne Cunningham and the Ontario Tories. Underfunded and overcrowded schools, a health care system that isn't there for those who need it, gutted social programs, mismanagement of Ontario Hydro and failure to protect our drinking water, air and food can all be added to the list.

The Ontario Liberals have a plan to begin to rebuild those things that matter to us, especially health care and education. Our plan is fully costed over a four-year mandate and it has been independently audited. We know how much every promise costs and we know where every dollar will come from. We won't raise taxes and we won't run a deficit. But by reordering our priorities we can begin to address the very serious problems caused by eight years of Conservative government.

Our platform for post-secondary education is based on increasing accessibility. As a graduate student at Western, I see first hand the impact of tuition increases. Since Mike Harris was elected, undergraduate tuition has gone up 45 per cent - even more than the 43 per cent it went up under the NDP. In deregulated programs such as medicine and law, tuition has doubled and even tripled.

There are two results: students who do go on to university take on a huge debt burden and others choose to forego higher education or professional schools altogether. The Ontario Liberals are committed to the idea that access to higher education should be based on the student's abilities to succeed, not on their parents' ability to pay. We need a well-educated work force and we need doctors and lawyers from a wide range of backgrounds. We aren't prepared to waste the talents of those who can't afford higher education.

The Ontario Liberals will:

- freeze tuition for at least two years
- waive 50 per cent of the fees for 25 per cent of the students who receive Ontario Student Assistance Program - those with the lowest incomes
- re-regulate the de-regulated programs
- reform OSAP to increase the number of people who qualify and increase the amounts to reflect current tuition rates
- increase the number of Ontario Graduate Scholarships by 50 per cent
- create spots for 50,000 new students
- fully-fund all of the above, to maintain the quality of education

For information on other Liberal platforms, visit my Web site at or call me at 433-4332 (433-4DEB).

Students have a tremendous amount riding on this election. Take the time to get informed and take the time to vote. The tuition you freeze will be your own.



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