Normally, I would
start this editorial with the words, “Doug Ford is an idiot”,
but I won’t because I really want our Conservative-leaning
readers to... well... read it.
The reason for
my outrage and what should be the outrage of all Ontarians
is the Ford government’s decision to slash funding to the
Ontario Student Assistance Program, known more popularly
as OSAP. The program disburses grants and loans to students
attending colleges and universities in the province.
Liberal government had been offering students whose family
income was less than $50,000, up to a 30 percent rebate
on tuition fees. The idea was to make post-secondary education
more affordable and, ergo, more accessible to students from
middle- and low-income families. How enlightened. And then
the Prince of Darkness was elected.
Now I can understand
that hundreds of thousands of Ontario voters had had enough
with the Liberals and Kathleen Wynne in particular. They
would have voted for pretty near anybody as long as they
weren’t Liberal. But elections have consequences. Just ask
the folks south of the border.
I didn’t vote
for Ford because I knew what he could be capable of. But
never in a million years did I think that he would enact
funding cuts to post-secondary education that would, in
effect, disqualify hundreds if not thousands of students
from attending college or university, and some who are currently
midway through their studies, or on the verge of earning
can’t earn a college diploma or university degree because
they can’t access the necessary funds for tuition because
either they or their parents aren’t in a position to pay
for it means they are doomed to a life of low-paying jobs.
It creates a vicious circle.
eduction should be made as accessible as possible to Ontario’s
youth. Having a more educated population is good for everybody.
Not so under a Ford government which is more interested
in cheap beer than improving access to post-secondary. education
Of course, the Ford government and its supporters will point
to the fact that they also cut tuition by 10 percent. But
if you cut tuition by 10 per cent and then cut OSAP by 20
per cent there’s no benefit at all, unless your family income
is such that you don’t need to apply for OSAP.
The Ford government
also said that it would place a priority on benefiting students
and then those students started applying for OSAP for next
year and then – surprise, surprise – they found out that
their OSAP funding was cut by up to 60 per cent next year
compared to the past year. For some, it’s a difference a
few hundred dollars which their parents can hopefully make
up. For others it’s thousands of dollars.
Kids from single-parent
families will be especially hard hit. Imagine, if you can,
being a single mother of two or three kids, all of whom
dream of going to university. Now imagine one of them is
already in university and the other has just graduated from
high school and wants to follow in their sibling’s footsteps
but can’t because you can’t afford it thanks to Doug Ford
and his shortsighted, moronic decision. And now you get
– Fred Sherwin,