The Tomato

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Decision stuns just about everyone

Photo Illustration by Tina Wallace

The Government of Ontario has made the decision to increase funding to post-secondary educational institutions, bringing funding more in line with the national average.  Currently, the Ontario government spends less on educational institutions on a per-student basis than any other province in Canada.

Liberal Minister of Education Liz Flipflop explained the government’s reasoning behind the decision was to “finally get our shit together.”

“Well, we’re paid to make good policy, and I’m happy to say we’re finally earning our salaries,” said Flipflop. “We did the math and realized that the average debt for a student with public and private loans has increased 460 per cent over the past 15 years. We asked ourselves, who is going to pay for boomers’ health care in 15 years?”

“By supporting students today, we are investing in the future of Ontario,” said Flipflop.

Critics were quick to suggest the move was just another pre-election ploy by the embattled Liberals.

“It’s just another attempt to buy student votes, another promise that’s going to be broken,” said Tim Huddy, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

During the 2011 election, the Liberal government promised to provide students and their families with 30 per cent off the cost of tuition fees.  Instead, they introduced a restrictive grant that a quarter of students received.

“This is proof that snazzy slogans like ‘education shouldn’t be a debt sentence’ are working,” said Alastair Forest, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario.

“Students in Ontario pay the highest tuition fees in Canada, and the last I heard, the Liberal government was enabling fees to increase between 3 to 5 per cent again this year,” he said.

“Obviously, our rhetoric changed their minds.”

Seamus Loup, a long-time student activist at the University of Ottawa, greeted the announcement in a much less celebratory mood.

“This is obviously a huge blow to the student protest movement,” said Loup. “Ridiculously high tuition was easy to rally against, but now what?  Well, let’s just say my bucket list of good causes worth getting arrested for just got shorter.”

Currently, 50 per cent of the operating revenue of Ontario colleges and universities comes from tuition, up from 24 per cent two decades ago. More funding would likely decrease tuition fees and increase the number of full-time and tenured professors.  In theory, this would translate into better quality education for students and a more balanced workload for professors.