Back to top

CAUT Bulletin Archives

June 2011

Federal Budget Disappointing for Post-secondary Education

[Photo: Joel Blit/]
[Photo: Joel Blit/]
The first budget of the new Conservative majority in the House of Commons received a critical response from the orga­nization representing Canada’s post-secondary academic staff.

“The Harper government ignored skyrocketing student debt levels and tuition fees and failed to provide sufficient funding for scien­tific research,” said CAUT executive director James Turk.

He acknowledged commitments to fund Genome Canada, climate science and the Indirect Costs Program for university research support as outlined in the federal budget are steps in the right direction, but he said not nearly enough new money is provided for the three granting councils that fund most of Canada’s vital basic research.

“The apparent funding boost under the budget will barely cover inflation and cuts made in 2009,” Turk said.

He also reiterated CAUT’s concerns that the government is continuing to make political choices to flow substantial new research funding to centres like the Perimeter Institute and the Regional Research Institute in Thunder Bay, bypassing the granting councils.

“The history of scientific progress demonstrates that research priorities are best set by the scientific community through peer review, not politicians or other special interests.”

According to Turk, Canada’s future as a major industrialized country depends in sig­nificant part on maintaining its tradition of important basic research, the main portion of which is carried out by university-based researchers.

“That level of basic research will not happen without more government support for the granting councils,” he said.

“Unfortunately in this budget the federal government is showing its misplaced priorities. You build a better society by investing in education, not in overpriced fighter jets and more prisons.”