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Another Failed Liberal Promise

Martin Breaks Promise to Restore Education Funding

Canadian Federation of Students, Ottawa, 23 Feb 05

Despite a record surplus, Prime Minister Paul Martin failed to deliver on an election promise to increase core funding for post-secondary education.


“During the election Paul Martin promised to restore core funding by creating a dedicated transfer payment for post-secondary education of $7 to $8 billion,” said George Soule, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “He broke that promise today.”


On June 4, 2004, during a nationally-televised federal election forum, Martin promised that he would divide the Canada Social Transfer to create a separate transfer for post-secondary education of “seven to eight billion dollars.”


“With the massive surplus to work with, we believed Martin would at least begin to honour his commitment,” said Soule. “We are shocked that this budget doesn’t provide a single new dollar of core funding.”


Federal funding for post-secondary education was severely cutback in the mid-1990’s when Martin was Finance Minister. As a result of cuts to federal funding, average tuition fees across Canada have increased to over $4000 per year and average student debt currently stands at $25,000.


“Federal funding for post-secondary education is a priority for Canadians,” said Soule, citing a recent Ipsos-Reid poll in which Canadians listed post-secondary education as their first choice for federal spending after health care. “Unfortunately, it is not a priority for the Prime Minister.”


Based on calculations from Statistics Canada’s Youth in Transition Survey, over 50,000 qualified young Canadians are denied access to post-secondary for financial reasons each year. Another recent Statistics Canada study confirmed that Canadians in the top fifth of income are twice as likely to go to university as those in the bottom fifth.

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