Women and children

by Aaron Wherry

Just before Sunday’s NDP debate, Paul Dewar released his platform on families.

Dewar is committing that as Prime Minister, he will: Give Canadian families a break on the cost of prescription drugs by cooperating with provinces and territories on a bulk-buying strategy; Give young Canadians a fair start by immediately reducing tuition fees by $700/year, reducing interest fees on student debt to prime rate and creating Your Canada Year to cover a year of tuition fees in return for a year of community service; Protect our retirement security by bolstering public pension plans and safeguarding unfunded pensions, severances and long-term disability benefits in bankruptcy proceedings; Support new Canadian families by ensuring a fair and transparent foreign credential recognition mechanism, supporting family reunification and strengthening settlement services;  Lift our most vulnerable citizens out of poverty by focusing on income security, housing and social inclusion, including achievable first steps toward an annual guaranteed income for seniors, the disabled and children living in poverty.

Peggy Nash has come forward today with her own promises for post-secondary education.

Respond to prohibitive tuition fees & the student debt crisis by: reducing tuition at public post-secondary institutions across the country through guidelines established by aforementioned Post-Secondary Education Act and supported through a dedicated transer payment to the provinces/territories; converting a significant portion of loans made by the Canada Student Loans Program into non-repayable, up-front grants through the Canada Student Grants Program; reducing the interest rates on student loans to prime.

And now Mr. Dewar has tabled his plans to achieve greater gender equality.

An NDP government led by Paul Dewar will: Guarantee that at least half the members of Cabinet will be women, while respecting regional balance; Encourage political parties to nominate women as candidates by tying public financing to the number of women each party fields as candidates; Move to a fairer voting system based on proportional representation, which will increase the proportion of women and visible minorities in elected office; Establish Status of Women as a full government department, and mandate it develop expertise in gender equality and gender budgeting in every department; Re-establish funding for women’s advocacy organizations, which has been systematically dismantled by successive Liberal and Conservative governments.




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Women and children

  1. Reducing tuition I’m not so hot on, especially if it doesn’t come with additional money for the post-secondary institution to make up for the shortfall.

    However, reducing student loans to prime should be a baseline. That we force our students to pay more into the system than they used — especially when successful completion of post-secondary means they’ll be paying a lot more in taxes anyway — that’s just silly. We don’t need to be actively discouraging people from undertaking further education in that manner.  Especially when you consider that the ones most likely to be discouraged are those who are wise enough to be considering what effect the debt will have on their own future — ie, the ones most likely to be taking their studies seriously.

    My own preference would be deregulated tuition with student loans that convert to non-repayable grants upon successful completion of the courses/semester the loan was made for.  That way, if you go and decide to party for the year rather than working and flunk out? Well.. that’s on you.  

    The Canada Year isn’t a bad idea, though how you calculate a year of community service… that’s gotta be messy.


  2. Give Canadian families a break on the cost of prescription drugs by cooperating with provinces and territories on a bulk-buying strategy”

    Provincial jurisdiction, and too expensive.

    “Give young Canadians a fair start by immediately reducing tuition fees by $700/year”

    Provincial jurisdiction, fails to account for low Que. tuition.

    “reducing interest fees on student debt to prime rate”

    OK, this one I like, though feds only provide some of the loans, provinces provide the rest, but try selling it to the banks.

    “creating Your Canada Year to cover a year of tuition fees in return for a year of community service”

    It would be much better for a young person to work and save capital for a home.

    “Protect our retirement security by bolstering public pension plans”

    Provinces already shot this down.

    “safeguarding unfunded pensions, severances and long-term disability benefits in bankruptcy proceedings”

    Socialists love this one:  unreasonable union demands drive a company into bankruptcy, then the union swoops in like vultures to feast on the carcass. 

    “by ensuring a fair and transparent foreign credential recognition mechanism”

    Zzzz, boring, been talked about for years, but 9/10ths of these countries have inferior universities and high levels of corruption which enable fake credentials and diplomas.  The doctor driving a cab is mostly a myth but in some cases a legitimate case of inferior or fake  credentials.

    “supporting family reunification and strengthening settlement services”

    But I thought immigrants were supposed to be a financial windfall for Canada?  He’s proposing we spend even more?

    “Lift our most vulnerable citizens out of poverty by focusing on income security, housing and social inclusion”

    Prov jurisdiction, prov jurisdiction, and code word for more quotas.

    “first steps toward an annual guaranteed income for seniors, the disabled and children living in poverty.”

    Already being done, prov jurisdiction, prov jurisdiction.  Someone read this guy the Constitution Act.  I won’t bother reviewing his embarrassing Girl Quota proposals, they are self-evidently absurd.

  3. ORLY?   And who is going to pay?

    There are ways to reduce student loans – BC graduating nurses can agree to work in a rural area and have a third of their loan forgiven in the first year, the remaining 2/3s by the end of their third year.

    Get a trade - few years and you are making big $$$s if you are willing to relocate where the jobs are.

  4. All of this would be significantly more credible if along with each promise, there were:
    1) an estimated cost of the promise
    2) an indication of how the cost of the promise would be funded (tax the rich? Fine – please spell out how you would adjust tax rates and what that will raise)

    Without these, it’s just a lot of arm waving. That’s without even getting into the jurisdictional aspects of the promises, as others have already noted.

    • Everybody Sing!

      Santa Claus is coming to town . . .

  5. Not sure I like a blanket $700/year.  Surely, some degrees are more costly than others?  Yes, I expect the higher cost in tuition is balanced out by the higher paycheque once the degree is obtained, but what about the kids who think they can do it and yet fail in the second year or just can’t come up with the funds for the final year or something. 

    But I’m really conflicted on the whole tuition question anyway.  I mostly think a great deal of this university stuff is just a scam or make work project and the kids graduating from a lot of the programs have a really good shot at . . . making manager at McDonald’s or something.

    But I gather we’re not to say that for fear of the “education industry” bubble bursting.

    • No, we’re not to say that because it sounds cold and mean to imply that not everyone needs a degree. 

      On universities in general, the model is certainly starting to get outdated (i always found the textbooks to be the most useful part of the course, and the internet is getting better at being a replacement for textbooks), but without a replacement model ready for how education, certification, and research should be conducted, they are still needed for the time being. 

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