On Campus

Budget 2009: PSE voices

Was the budget hot or not? Canadian education experts weigh in

“Overall, the PSE community should on balance be happy with this budget. $2.75 billion in infrastructure is a simply massive investment, and its effects will be felt and appreciated at campuses across the country. The lack of new funds for expanded research efforts is disappointing, and reduces what could have been a home-run of a budget to perhaps a ground-rule double.” — Alex Usher, Educational Policy Institute

“Infrastructure funding is crucial, no doubt, however, if there is not a parallel commitment to ensure adequate funding for students and institutions we will witness strange times at post-secondary institutions as new buildings go up, while students and teachers wait out in the cold for government support.” — Howie Bender, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance

“Canada’s colleges and institutes badly need an infusion of new capital to renovate, retrofit and expand facilities, and to acquire leading-edge technology for teaching purposes. This budget has announced measures to help address these needs and to provide increased capacity for advanced skills development.” — James Knight, Association of Canadian Community Colleges

“It’s good to expand the capacity of our institutions but if potential students don’t believe they can take on new debt in the middle of a recession, those seats will remain empty.” — Zach Churchill, Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

“At current levels, student debt depresses consumer spending and could harm the Canadian economy’s recovery. The federal government missed an important opportunity to help students and their families out of a $13 billion hole.” — Katherine Giroux-Bougard, Canadian Federation of Students

“Investment in post-secondary education and research is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy both in the short term and over the long run. The Harper Government missed an important opportunity in its limited initiatives for our universities and colleges.” — Penni Stewart, Canadian Association of University Teachers

“When I do the math on 30 per cent of $2 billion, based on what an average project might cost, it really doesn’t go very far. So I’m not holding my breath.” — Rick Buis, Lethbridge College

“I’m mystified at any move to cut operating support [for federal granting councils] at the very time they are sending such a powerful signal on their priorities by investing in infrastructure and scholarships.” — Heather Munroe-Blum, McGill University

“Universities will identify projects that are ready to go and will deal with urgent maintenance issues such as upgrading buildings, labs and research facilities. In these difficult economic times, supporting universities’ ability to contribute to Canada’s short-term recovery and long-term growth has an even greater significance.” — Tom Traves, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.