21
Feb
09

money for nothing

Full Disclosure: Matthew is the President of the UBC British Columbia Young Liberals, and this probably colours his commentary. He has tried to be as objective as possible.

Recently, the Provincial Budget came out and, due to the fact that our economy is collapsing, largely fucked everybody. Especially artists. However, students emerged from the encounter largely unscathed (if only to make up for the massive amounts of money that were cut last year). Incidentally, you can read the spot on AMS press release here (aside from the fact that VP should be capitalized, like all initialisms). We should never be happy with how much funding we are getting – more money will inevitably create better institutions, and give us a better eduction.

However, I am a realist, and know that tough choices need to be made. Some people are going to get screwed, I just hope not to be one of them.

“This is unfair. This is UNFAIR! Do you think it is easy to make priorities.” -Stephane Dion

When I saw the provincial budget on Tuesday, I was pleased. As a Canadian, and perhaps even more as an Albertan (although not any more), I dislike deficit spending. It, to me, is sticking our progeny with the bill for our decadence, and that is not only not fair, its counterintuitive from a biological perspective – it’s better that we live harder lives so that our children (and thus our genes) live better ones. So, I was pretty delighted that the deficit was only going to be in the $700 million range over two years (which is way better than how stupid Alberta is doing). I wanted cuts in this budget, and I wanted a plan to get back on track as soon as possible.

Student have some reason to celebrate. In terms of budget allocations, not only was Advanced Education not cut, but it received the second largest percentage increase (behind Economic Development) and the second largest absolute increase (behind Health).

I think we now have some pretty compelling evidence to consider when asking that old question: “Is this government committed to post secondary education?”. The following is a chart showing how much the difference is between the 2008 budget and the 2009 budget. They are ordered by how drastic the cuts are (in terms of inflation adjusted dollars), and have an added notation as to whether this cut represents an absolute cut (less money than last year), a real cut (less money than last year when adjusting for inflation) or an increase. So, in a time of economic downturn, the provincial government recognized what the feds did not – education is important, and they will fund it come hell or recession. Deficit spending on anything is not a very good idea, particularly when it is funding standard operating expenses, but strategic positioning for the other side of the recession by making the workforce more educated is a decent reason. This amount could and should be higher, but I think it’s the right spirit.

Ministry

Change

Type

Tourism, Culture and the Arts

-85%

Absolute Cut

Finance

-36%

Absolute Cut

Labour and Citizens’ Services

-25%

Absolute Cut

Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

-19%

Absolute Cut

Community Development

-19%

Absolute Cut

Office of the Premier

-16%

Absolute Cut

Environment

-11%

Absolute Cut

Forests and Range

-7%

Absolute Cut

Healthy Living and Sport

-3%

Absolute Cut

Transportation and Infrastructure

-3%

Absolute Cut

Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

-2%

Real Cut

Children and Family Development

-1%

Real Cut

Education

-1%

Real Cut

Housing and Social Development

-0%

Real Cut

Attorney General

-0%

Real Cut

Agriculture and Lands

1%

Increase

Public Safety and Solicitor General

2%

Increase

Health Services

4%

Increase

Advanced Education and Labour Market Development

7%

Increase

Small Business, Technology and Economic Development

24%

Increase

So, while there still is not enough money being used to fund Advanced Education, and the increase is weighted towards Labour Market Development, PSE is still getting more money than ever before, and is ploughing through this recession.

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5 Responses to “money for nothing”


  1. 1 Mark Knopfler
    February 22, 2009 at 2:02 am

    and your chicks for free.

  2. 2 anonymous
    February 22, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Liberals, at least they’re make good folk song subjects

    I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
    Tears ran down my spine
    And I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
    As though I’d lost a father of mine
    But Malcolm X got what was coming
    He got what he asked for this time
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    I go to the civil rights rallies
    And I put down the old D.A.R.
    I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
    I hope every colored boy becomes a star
    But don’t talk about revolution
    That’s going a little bit too far
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
    My faith in the system restored
    And I’m glad that the commies were thrown out
    From the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
    And I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
    As long as they don’t move next door
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    Ah, the people of old Mississippi
    Should all hang their heads in shame
    Now I can’t understand how their minds work
    What’s the matter don’t they watch Les Crain?
    But if you ask me to bus my children
    I hope the cops take down your name
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    Yes, I read New Republic and Nation
    I’ve learned to take every view
    You know, I’ve memorized Lerner and Golden
    I feel like I’m almost a Jew
    But when it comes to times like Korea
    There’s no one more red, white and blue
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    I vote for the democratic party
    They want the U.N. to be strong
    I attend all the Pete Seeger concerts
    He sure gets me singing those songs
    And I’ll send all the money you ask for
    But don’t ask me to come on along
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    Sure, once I was young and impulsive
    I wore every conceivable pin
    Even went to socialist meetings
    Learned all the old union hymns
    Ah, but I’ve grown older and wiser
    And that’s why I’m turning you in
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

  3. 3 radicalbeer
    February 23, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Oh, wow, I know that this was largely meant as an ironic insult…

    I believe radicalism and revolution is bad for most any country. (Except beer radicalism.)
    Minnesota is my adopted American state, in part because of Hubert Humphrey.
    I, like many the ignorant Canadian progressive, look down on the American south.
    I don’t like unions – more because I don’t like the NDP though…
    I am a pro-Israel politico.
    I am on the hawkish side of the Liberal party.
    I used to be a New Democrat (never a party member though), but grew older and wiser.

    Naylor

  4. 4 Ashley
    February 23, 2009 at 4:01 am

    Yay Strawmen fallacies!

    Psh.

    BC Libs are my favourite.

  5. 5 timchu.
    February 23, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    whoa! naylor you used to be a dipper? incredible! hahahahaha. (frankly, im kinda shocked).
    i agree that it seems that students are never satisfied regardless of how much funding they receive. however, students also understand that there are huge problems with our PSE system and dedicated funding can certainly address a lot of these issues.
    in terms of dedication and committment to PSE, i must say that this government has not been particularly the best. yes, PSE was one of the few areas that actually experienced an “increase” in funding. however, don’t forget that this is the same government that cut $60 million from PSE when they were rolling record surpluses.


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