Friday, November 05, 2004

Low Marks

Not a lot of news to report from the Alberta Election campaign so I'm going to highlight a topic which I know will never become an issue in this election, yet probably should. Here are the Macleans Universities rankings. Glance at the list...and keep glancing...you might have to go a ways down to find the Alberta Universities on it. Admittedly, U of A is doing OK. But the U of Calgary and U of Lethbridge are disasters. How can the richest province in Canada, with the youngest population in the country not have this country's best schools? Studies have shown education to be the best investment any government can make in terms of long term payback. And yet...the Klein government has ignored the needs of post-secondary (and secondary...and primary) education in this province.

Here's what the provincial Liberals have to say:

Edmonton

The Alberta Liberals would commit 35 per cent of annual budget surpluses to establish a Post-Secondary Endowment Fund, Leader Kevin Taft announced today.
Taft, who made the announcement at the Telus Centre for Professional Development, called the fund an investment in human potential.
We will continue year-after-year to build the endowment, protecting and growing the principal, said Taft. And use the investment returns to support our apprenticeship and trades programs, to expand program options across the province and to achieve excellence across the system.
The same foresight our parents and grandparents had is needed today, to lay the foundations for the next Alberta, for the economy and society we want after oil and gas

Makes sense, eh? If you're going to make a stability/heritage/piggy bank fund, the money in it should be invested in the future - hence, education. A great policy idea which will be completely ignored by the electorate.

19 Comments:

  • Hang on CalgaryGrit. You are in a tough spot right now, but the winds of change are blowing. This new "Alliance" Party sounds pretty right and in fact may end up shifting the whole political spectrum in AB over to a more centrist postition. We are a country built by concensus and a party can only go so far in any direction before it loses relevance to most people.

    By Blogger Happy in the Middle, at 1:25 AM  

  • Alliance is toast after the Baby Killer! campaign. Liberals can't get enough votes to take the Big Chair. At most, we can hope to have a couple of token Liberals (ideally some in Edmonton and some in Calgary) so there is at least a ghost of a conscience in the provincial gov't. The U of C is facing 5% cuts, each year, for the next 4 years. From what I've hears, the U of A decided to resist cuts, hoping for a Big Bailout from the province. If that doesn't come, there are some bad times ahead at the U of A (the U of C has been going through them for the last several years - something like 30%-ish layoffs - ahem, abolishments - at my department).

    At the same time the Premier is bragging about being debt free and rolling in petrocash. Doesn't make sense...

    By Blogger D'Arcy, at 9:56 AM  

  • It makes sense to me. The univesity-educated tend to lean to the left of the political spectrum, and I don't know about the U of C, but the U of A campus isn't the most Tory-friendly place in the province. The Tories aren't interested in investing in education; they're interested in investing in a future electorate.

    By Blogger DJC, at 11:30 AM  

  • re: U of C funding cuts

    A friend of mine got to question Ralph Klein at Mount Royal yesterday - she quoted the recent Herald article about these 5% cuts and asked why there was a $70M decrease in post-secondary funding when we have a huge surplus and we're only collecting about 41% of potential oil royalties. His response? "I don't know where you get your figures from - we're not cutting funding for post-secondary education, we're raising it 6% over the next five years." (exact words paraphrased from her memory, but the content is quite accurate.) When she tried to ask him why those figures were quite different from the Calgary Herald, he dismissively waved his hand at her and walked off. Interesting that his tune is so different when on the campus in his riding...

    By Blogger Teleute, at 2:33 AM  

  • Regarding the Alliance, even they have a good post-secondary platform. Free University for all students, I believe.

    Preston Manning has an interesting theory that the Green Party (or a party like them) will be the ones to finally knock off the Tories. Right-wing tax cuts and environmental policy combined. I doubt it will happen but it's an interesting theory.

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