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The New Budget: Reading the Fine Print

I just received an email from my student union providing me with the following rather disturbing news.  I will do a little more research into it myself, but I am going to trust that the information they have provided is correct for now.

Apparently the Harper Conservative federal budget is going to temporarily increase Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) over the next three years by a total of $87 million.  Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?  I thought so, until I read the fine print. 

The breakdown of the funds distribution is as follows:
40% to students in the Natural Sciences and Engineering
40% to students in the Medical Sciences
20% to students in the Social Sciences and Humanities 

Now, slightly more than 50% of all graduate students are in this last category, or Social Sciences and Humanities.  This means that 50% of the students are receiving only 20% of the funding.  But it gets even worse.  This 20% is to be allocated ONLY to students “focussed on business-related degrees.” Only 10% of Social Science and Humanities students study business.  That means that this 20% of the funding is going to be given to 5% (overall) of students.  This also means that 45% of graduate students in Canada will receiving nothing from this increase.  

Naturally I fall in that 45% of unfunded graduate students, but I have long since given up the idea of anyone financially supporting my research.

I would be shocked and appalled by this, but quite frankly it’s pretty much what I would expect from the Harper Government and its neo-liberal, almost neo-conservative policies (our neighbours to the south just booted out their neo-cons, so why can’t we just learn from their experience and avoid trashing our own country?).  I am very disappointed by the Liberal party’s support of this; it does not bode well for a future under Ignatieff if he is willing to support such a move.  

This all stems from our worship of science and business, something I have been writing about academically and will post a short discussion of shortly.  Our society values the hard sciences, especially medical sciences, and business above everything else, and this budget certainly proves it.  This budget – supported by both Harper and Ignatieff – clearly sends the message that is so firmly entrenched in our collective mindset that science an the invisible hand of the market will save us from the problems that we face, that we are no longer willing to put any money into other forms of research.  What a sad day for Canada.

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One Response

  1. […] Thanks to Rick Telfer, Graduate Student Senator, UWO, for calling attention to this. There is a Facebook group and this related post. […]

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