Trudeau Offers U of R Students Spring Break on Private Island

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January 26th, 2017

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting the University of Regina to invite students to spring break on the Aga Khan’s private island to make up for his government’s lack of action to curtail tuition fees.

“While Trudeau is enjoying luxury vacations with his jet, Saskatchewan students are struggling under piles of debt,” said Regina–Lewvan MP Erin Weir. “No qualified student should be excluded from post-secondary education by unaffordable tuition fees.”

Statistics Canada reports that Saskatchewan has the third-highest undergraduate tuition among provinces. For 2016/17, student fees averaged $7,177 in Saskatchewan, compared to $6,373 across Canada.

“Universities are relying more on tuition fees because of inadequate government funding,” said Weir. “For all its rhetoric about innovation, the Liberal government has limited the Canada Social Transfer for post-secondary education to the same level as under the former Conservative government.”

Indeed, as Weir pointed out in Parliament (video), the Liberal budget cuts overall federal transfers to the provinces by a billion dollars annually.

The previous government’s Budget 2015 projected “major transfers to other levels of government” of $76.3 billion by 2019-20 (Table 5.2.6, page 368). In comparison, the current government’s Budget 2016 projects $75.4 billion for that year (Table A1.4, page 240).

“The result is that provincial governments are left with less money to fund post-secondary education and university graduates are burdened with debt,” said Weir. “Trudeau showing up for photo-ops with students won’t help them make ends meet.”