Quebec City, March 22. – The federal government must reinvest in post-secondary education, says the Quebec student roundtable (QSR).
Minister Jim Flaherty tabled the 2011-2012 federal budget today in the House of Commons. « It’s a very disappointing budget for post-secondary education in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada », said Mr. Joël Pedneault, vice-secretary general.
The QSR pointed out that no measures were announced in the budget to make up for the chronic under-financing of federal transfers for social programs. “Ever since cuts to social programs in the 1990s, Ottawa has done nothing to give Canadian provinces the billions of dollars it has taken away from their hard-working citizens. These cuts have only served to reduce access to education and undermine the quality of public services. The federal government urgently needs to make up for lost time,” said Mr. Pedneault. The QSR estimates that universities and colleges in Quebec could benefit from an additional $279 million from the federal government, if it were to catch up on over fifteen years of under-financing.
The QSR also asked the federal government to compensate Quebec for harmonising its sales tax with the federal GST. If Ottawa were to follow through, the funds recuperated by the provincial government could be used to avoid implementing the unprecedented tuition increase the provincial government has announced last Thursday, and which will take an additional $1.2 billion from students’ pockets by 2017. “If Mr. Flaherty were to fulfil his government’s obligations towards provinces and Canadians, his government could make more money available than is needed to put an end to the current tuition increase in Quebec,” claims Mr. Pedneault.
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For further information, or to set up an interview: Joël Pedneault, vice-secretary general, 514-880-9260.