Students will go to the polls a month from now in two provinces: on Oct. 6 in Ontario and on Oct. 4 in Manitoba.
The Ontario Liberal Party made post-secondary students a big part of their plan, which was released today. If reelected, Dalton McGuinty says his Liberals would give 86 per cent of students substantial new tuition grants next year. University students would get $1,600 and college students would get $730. The grants only apply to those who come from households that make less than $160,000 per year. The promise would cost taxpayers $486-million per year. Ontario’s average annual university tuition fees are $6,000, according to Statistics Canada.
The Ontario PC Party, under Tim Hudak, says it would eliminate a $30-million scholarship program that McGuinty created to attract foreign students. They would also change the Ontario Student Assistance Program to allow more students from middle class families to qualify. “A student whose parents earn $39,000 and $46,000 would get about $2,500 in provincial OSAP support,” they said in a press release, adding: “Dalton McGuinty gives that family no OSAP.”
The Ontario New Democrat platform does not specifically mention post-secondary students.
The Liberals promised earlier to extend the interest-free period on student loans from six months to one year for those working in the non-profit sector and to double the length of teacher’s college.
In Manitoba, New Democrat Premier Greg Selinger says that his government would freeze tuition, give universities a five per cent annual boost and triple annual student award funding to $20-million.
Manitoba Progressive Conservative candidate Hugh McFadyen’s government would boost training for northerners and aboriginals and also help to fund a new stadium at the University of Manitoba.
The races are tight in both provinces are tight.
In Ontario, the PC Party is leading with 35 per cent support while the Liberals have 30 per cent and the New Democrats have 26 per cent, according to a Forum Research poll released Sept. 1.
In Mantioba, the New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives were tied with 44 per cent support, according to the most recent poll, which was released by Probe Research on June 29.
Both polls had a three per cent margin of error.