Tim Hudak’s education agenda attacks low and middle-income families

Toronto – February 13, 2013 – Many UFCW Canada members and families struggle to keep up with student loan payments. Now Ontario Conservative Boss Tim Hudak wants to make it even harder. Another Ontario Conservative white paper called “Paths to Prosperity: Higher Learning for Better Jobs,” says that financial aid for students should be tied to how well students do in their courses. The paper also recommends different streams of education based on students’ ability to pay.

Sarah Jayne King, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students in Ontario, says “The Tory plan would continue to shift the burden for funding education onto the backs of students and their families, while forcing institutions to do more with less.” She is concerned that students who can only afford minimal tuition fees would be forced into online, non-credit based courses, while students with higher incomes would be encouraged to go into “elite” programs in universities. “The plan put forward by Tim Hudak and his party sustains prosperity for the rich, while low and middle income students will continue to be forced into debt or be shut out of college and university entirely,” adds King.

Adding salt to the financial wound for students and their families, Conservative MPP Rob Leone said “We don’t want to reward mediocrity, we want to reward merit. We want a return on our investment.”

When asked about the Ontario Conservative white paper on education, New Democrat MPP Gilles Bisson says “The government shouldn’t judge which students will do well later on in life based on their marks when they went to university. I would remind you that people such as Einstein didn’t do so well in mathematics when he went to university.”

Speaking of math, Hudak may want to brush up on his numbers. As part of his “Higher Learning” plan, the PC Boss says that one-third of university graduates don’t have full-time jobs in their field two years after graduation. But the Toronto Star reports that 78 per cent are employed full-time and 94 per cent have jobs of some sort. Hudak’s latest white paper fails the grade when it comes to creating more fairness and prosperity in Ontario.