keeping his promises
Re: “Letter to the prime minister,” Mar.
To the Editor:
I would like to commend The Gazette for the editorial calling
on our prime minister to carry out long overdue reforms to
our financial aid system and provide dedicated funding for
our universities. As VP-education of the University Students’ Council,
I had the opportunity to participate in the roundtable discussion
with the prime minister that took place last Friday at The
This was not the first time I had met with Paul Martin, nor
the first time I heard him proclaim his concern for, and commitment
to, access to higher education. Despite such proclamations,
I left the meeting with a strong sense that he has no intention
of taking the steps necessary to prove he is committed to accessibility.
In response to my concerns surrounding the fact that 29 per
cent of students are forced to drop out after their first year
of study for financial reasons, and that the average student
debt for an undergraduate is $21,000, he commented that we
need to revamp the Canada Student Loan Program.
Well Mr. Martin, we’ve agreed on this in the past when
you were finance minister, and now as prime minister you have
done very little to fix the problem. It was almost three years
ago that I heard a similar statement from you at a conference
When asked to provide a dedicated transfer of money for universities
so they are not forced to download their costs onto students,
you argued that to give a dedicated transfer the provinces
would “scoop up” the money. In other words, you
have no intention of ensuring universities receive the funding
they require. This is a shame because there is a direct correlation
between skyrocketing tuition and the absence of a dedicated
transfer. You cannot ensure access unless you control tuition,
and you cannot control tuition without providing adequate funding.
With a federal budget on its way, students need to pay attention.
If the commitments aren’t there, we must send a clear
message to Mr. Martin on voting day.
Hotline needs more butts... er, bucks
To the Editor:
My boyfriend recently stopped smoking. He’s doing great,
but the lack of nicotine has made him a very cranky boy. I
try to be nice and encouraging, and tell him he’s doing
a great thing, but our biggest problem has been deciphering
when he’s cranky just for crankiness sake or because
he needs a cigarette.
We found an advertisement in The London Free Press about a
smokers’ helpline, sponsored by the Canadian Cancer Society.
My boyfriend and I thought this would be a great way to get
some advice about working together to help him quit successfully.
So, on Friday afternoon, at about 5 p.m., we called the smokers’ help-line.
To our surprise, it was closed.
We had a good laugh at this and figured we would call them
back on Monday; however, I don’t know that everyone would
take the problem as light-heartedly as we did.
I feel bad for someone who calls in a panic needing that last
bit of encouragement — and finds no one there to help.
Does the Canadian Cancer Society really expect recent quitters
to have cravings only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.,
Monday to Friday? The obvious answer is no, and a lack of funding
is most likely the explanation. The advertisement should have
made it clear the helpline was closed after business hours.
I’m not saying the helpline is a bad idea, I just wish
it was a) better funded or b) advertised with its hours of
operation. I welcome any replies, and if anyone knows of support
systems on campus, that would be great too.
King’s College Psychology III