Monday, May 26, 2008

Why Education Is Conservatives' Greatest Enemy: Goodale Comments On Conservative Attack On Education

Received another one of Ralph Goodale's Weekly emails today. In it Ralph discusses the Harper Conservatives' attack on education in general, and their stopping the Millenium Scholarship Foundation after it expires next year. Thousands of Canadian students have benefited from this great Liberal program...

I guess Conservatives would rather students don't attend University... After all, you don't want them to turn into "elitist" intellectuals now, do you? We always knew Conservatives don't give a hoot about education, and have always been adversarial to what they term the educated "elite". This move by Harper simply reflects the Conservative fear of the "elite". We know they'd rather have a "dumbed-down", US-style population fed a constant barrage of "action movies" and "action TV", interspersed with lots of sports and advertising, that they can simply manipulate with "Fox-like" news and "hot-button" politics.

It's all part of the Conservative "action-plan" - coming directly from their neo-Con Republican buddies, and their partners in the "New American Century" bunch... For Conservatives/conservatives, educated citizens are dangerous. You can't simply let the "television culture" and their religion drive them. They ask questions. They "think" for themselves. Education is the conservative's biggest fear, and greatest enemy.

Here's the complete Goodale write-up... Worth a read:


By Ralph Goodale, M.P.


In the late 1990’s, the Government of Canada decided to mark the upcoming “turn of the millennium” in the Year 2000 with a new federal investment in higher education. Thus was born the “Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation”.

Fully transparent and at arm’s length from the government, the Foundation was endowed with $2.3 billion. Its mandate was to provide outstanding young Canadians with meaningful financial assistance in pursuit of their post-secondary studies.

The Foundation has offered a wide variety of bursaries, scholarships and other awards based upon each applicant’s achievements in leadership, social innovation, academic performance and community service. To date, more than 800,000 students have received support.

The selection process is guided by an independent board of distinguished Canadians drawn from across the country.

Saskatchewan young people have been major beneficiaries.

During the Foundation’s nine-year tenure, close to 3,000 students in my Wascana Constituency have received over $8 million in Millennium funding. Across Saskatchewan, more than 32,000 – from every walk of life – have benefited from nearly $92 million in Millennium awards.

But despite this program’s proven success, it has only one year left to run, and then it is being cancelled by the Stephen Harper’s Conservatives – with no replacement.

The “new” money which Mr. Harper claims to be investing in post-secondary education is not “new” at all. It is taken from existing programs like the Millennium Foundation and others.

So in absolute terms, there is little incremental federal support for higher learning across Canada. Mr. Harper is just robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Such an approach is extremely short-sighted. Additional federal Transfers to provinces, a more sensitive student loan system, and new direct grants to students should not cause the Millennium Foundation to be killed.

All of these tools are, in fact, needed.

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