January 1997 QUFA Ratifies First Contract On Monday, Dec. 16, 1996 the academic staff of Queen's University overwhelmingly ratified their first collective agreement with the university following a year at the bargaining table. 93 per cent voted in favour of the new agreement. 477 of the 865 members of the bargaining unit (or 55 per cent) turned out for the vote. The three-year agreement covers professors, librarians and archivists, special appointees, adjuncts, and some coaches with teaching duties. "To say the least, I'm very pleased with the results of the vote. It's a good agreement. This is a new era of cooperation between the administration and the academic staff at Queen's University," said Frank Burke, President of Queen's University Faculty Association (QUFA). Brock Academic Staff Unionize Brock University professors and librarians have taken the first step toward forming a union. Resignation of the President The President of Trent University, Leonard Conolly, announced his resignation early in January, a month after the end of the second faculty strike at Trent University. This followed the resignations in December of the Vice-President (Academic), Robert Campbell, and the Dean, John Syrett. Campbell was the second academic vice-president to resign in 1996. Report from the CAUT Defence Fund Individual members of CAUT may not be aware of the Defence Fund. Since it was established in 1978, the fund has grown to include about 25 member associations of CAUT with about 10,000 faculty and librarians. It now has assets approaching $10 million. The purposes of the fund are to provide strike benefits and other assistance to associations during strikes or when unfair labour practices occur during negotiations. Ontario Panel Urges More Funding for PSE The Advisory Panel on Future Directions for Post-secondary Education appointed by Ontario Education Minister John Snobelen has reported that there are serious inadequacies in the total financial resources available to post-secondary education in the province and that "the sector's competitive position in North America is dangerously at risk." Research & Student Aid Need Better Financing The Commons Finance Committee has focused an important part of its annual report on the concerns of the university community. For the third consecutive year the committee urged the minister of finance to give priority to increasing the funds of the granting councils. Ontario Goes Ahead with 1997-98 Funding Freeze On Dec. 20, just four days after Ontario's Advisory Panel on Post-Secondary Education tabled its report the Minister of Education and Training announced a funding "freeze" in transfer payments for universities and colleges. He stated that "universities will receive approximately $1.5 billion and transfers to the colleges will be $686 million." He also announced a funding freeze for transfers to school boards pending the restructuring of the elementary and secondary school system. Stats Canada Launches Data Liberation Initiative On October 22 last, Jon Gerrard (Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development) held a press conference to officially announce the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI). Also speaking at this event were Richard Van Loon, President of Carleton University, Ivan Fellegi, Chief Statistician (Statistics Canada), John English, a liberal MP, and Chad Gaffield president-elect of the Federation. The GST & Books: A Taxing Problem for Canadians When Brian Mulroney tendered his resignation as Canada's prime minister in June 1993 his sudden departure generated a flurry of correspondence between Australia and Canada. The Australian concern revolved around a goods and services tax (GST) proposed by the Australian Liberal Party and the unhappy coincidence of Mr. Mulroney's abrupt retirement from the political arena. New Quebec Policy Hampers Access to PSE The Province of Quebec has an admirable record in providing public higher education to Québécois and to the people of the world. Since the great reforms of the 1960s, Quebec's people have benefited from a network of public institutions in nearly every corner of the province.