In today’s world, it’s easy for young people to feel disenfranchised. At every turn, young people are being let down by a scarce job market, staggering debt and a political parties that embrace them and their struggle come election time, but turn their back on students and young Canadians once they’ve won government.
This is at its worst here in Alberta. In the last election campaign, the ruling PCs offered a new approach to post-secondary education. For the first time their government was to put students at the heart of their concerns when it came to forming post-secondary policy.
Well, I thought I’d remind them because it seems to have slipped the Premier’s mind since she won the last provincial election with the help of a significant student vote.
In the last election campaign, university students were wooed by Tory promises like the one made not too long ago by the Premier herself. “We will not balance our budget on the backs of post-secondary students. We will not raise tuition.”
Well, she was right about one thing, she didn’t balance the budget. However, the last part about not hurting post-secondary students in a quick attempt to fix our large provincial deficits… Well, on that one she may have told a little fib. In fact, the last budget contained $147 million in post-secondary operating grant cuts.
Whether it’s their pocket books or the classroom (or more likely both), students will be dealt a harsh blow by the Alberta government’s most recent cut back to our post secondary institutions. Yet again, our students have been used by the PCs in their time of need, and cast aside when it comes down to the brass tacks.
Well, the fact is, we’re tired of it. Whether its high school students looking to apply to university, or current post-secondary students, we’ve been shown by this government, and governments past, that we don’t matter after polls have closed.
Social media has once again made politics accessible to young Albertans, and in the next election, the ruling Tories will feel a backlash from students they have repeatedly attacked in an attempt to make them numb and uninterested in our political system.
Ultimately, cutting back in education is never an intelligent long-term economic strategy. A robust and well invested in post-secondary system is essential for high-skill, high-paying jobs. Not to mention, by making high quality education opportunities available here in Alberta, we can ensure that our students don’t move elsewhere in Canada to receive their education, ensuring our brightest minds spend their lives here, instead of making their home elsewhere in seek of asylum from the regressive and destructive action our government has been taking upon our post-secondary system.
Instead of making intelligent investments in the future of our province, the PCs have lead us down a path of poor budget planning, and larger long-term deficits.
The actions of this government has burdened students further today, and hurt our province’s finances in the long term. No matter how you slice it, Albertans deserve better than broken promises and political tricks.