Canada’s General Election 2011 and Education – Details, Gentlemen, Details

Alright students.

1.       Let’s take a look at Harper’s engaging platform about Canadian education. In Harper’s case adult education is a major focus as a response to the recession his leadership helped to exacerbate across our nation. No he didn’t cause it, in all fairness we know it began south of the border with a little problem brought on by American mortgage loans, however Harper’s response to thousands of unemployed people was rather ambiguous, I thought.

This is the current Conservative platform for adult education in Canada: Support for Apprentices and Tradespersons

• Introduce the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant, a taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year (to a maximum of $2,000 per person) to help apprentices pay for the first two years of education and training.  Let me interrupt here. $1,000.00 a year to re-educate an adult in an apprenticeship?  Is Harper serious?  How many courses will that pay for? Maybe 2 courses and a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee during breaks? 

New Tradesperson’s Tools Deduction that gives workers an annual tax deduction of up to $500 for expenditures in excess of $1,000 for tools required as a condition of employment. Let me interrupt here. A tax deduction does not necessarily put cash back into one’s pocket. Out of pocket for 1K is still out-of-pocket for 1K. You don’t have the $1,000 for the new tool kit?  Call back when you do, kid.

• Raise the limit on the cost of tools eligible for the 100% capital cost allowance from $200 to $500. Let me interrupt hereWhoop de doo. This is to take place only when the “budget is balanced.”

New Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit that provides employers who hire and train new apprentices a tax credit of up to $2,000 per year for each eligible apprentice. Let me interrupt here. Better a tax credit than a tax debit but notice how Harper slips it to the business enterprises in Canada? It’s all about the bucks with those Conservatives.
video: First Students to Interview Stephen Harper during 2011 election campaign – Harper put his foot in it again …  he actually admitted to the student interviewer that one thing he worried about when he was in university was the double digit unemployment rates that awaited him upon graduation….um, aren’t unemployment rates in the triple digits now, Harper?

2.    Let’s take a look at the Liberal Platform on Education:

*  among the new measures are a slew of proposals on education, including the Canadian Forces Veterans Learning Benefit, which would offer full tuition of up to four years of post-secondary education or trade education, for former soldiers, expected to cost an estimated $120 million over two years. Let me interrupt here. What??  Old soldiers can have free degrees?  What about young, current students who are attempting to enter the work force and add their tax dollars to the Canadian pool?

TUITION UP 200 PER CENT: Tuition fees have more than doubled since the B.C. Liberals took office. Underfunding of trades and apprenticeship training has meant long waiting lists even while there is a looming trades shortage in the province. Colleges and universities across the province have had no choice but to cut programs and staff positions. Let me interrupt here. Once again it’s all about the adults and never mind the kids. The scary thing about B.C. is Harper’s platform speaks directly to those struggling post-secondary students but if they are attentive it won’t escape these students’ notice that Vets get free degrees under Harper’s regime and they, alas, never, ever will.

Article: Liberal Platform Numbers ‘Don’t Add Up’ Harper says – that’s because Ignatieff is going to tax big business rather than the little guy (you know, the traditionally Liberal approach Liberals take to such matters)….that’s what Harper is all in a tizzy over and is in such a hurry to point out to Canadian corporations.
video: Michael Ignatieff on Education – what does China have to do with anything?
video:  Digital animation:  Conservative Party of Canada Follies Episode # 33

3.     Let’s look at the NDP Platform on Education.

*  They don’t have one.  Nothing. Let me interrupt here. Who cares?  They aren’t going to win anyway.

*  oh here’s  a nugget for you:  EDUCATION AS AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE – The platform is silent about the NDP’s plan to let teachers and support workers go on strike.

  • o        Carole James, pre-platform: “I don’t support essential service legislation for teachers.” – source: Vancouver Sun, 16 Jul 04
  • o        Carole James, pre-platform: (Smyth): So you would remove education as an essential service, a designation it has now, and allow teachers to strike.” (James): “I would.” – source: Mike Smyth Show, CKN

Let me interrupt here.  Teachers can strike. Kids can stay home and not learn. Remember the Ontario fiasco? Oh Jack, Jack, Jack. Naturally the NDP are silent about education. Who’s going to vote for that?

Into which ring shall I throw my hat?  Not Conservative.  I don’t like recessions.  Not NDP. I don’t like invisible platforms. I guess I’m stuck with Liberal. Nothing much going on with education except some $4,000.00 grants for post-secondary students, (good), but there are a few promises (ahem) outside of education that sound almost plausible.  I don’t know. When I wake up tomorrow I’ll probably decide to vote green. Or spoil my ballot. That’ll teach them. Class is over.
video:  Jack Layton Responds to Harper Budget – I couldn’t find a YouTube about Layton and education, naturally …  remember he’s keeping that whole teacher strike thing on the down-low.

Article:  Election 2011: Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff – Education and Defence

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