How will post-secondary education and research fare under the newly-elected Liberal government? The early signs are promising as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in short order announced the reinstatement of the mandatory long-form census, the creation of a new Ministry of Science, and the unmuzzling of government scientists.
“Canada’s academic and scientific community has reason to be hopeful,” said David Robinson, executive director of CAUT. “But we also recognize that much more needs to be done. Over the last decade we’ve witnessed the wholesale dismantling of scientific institutions and basic research, which have played a front-line role in ensuring the health, safety and well-being of Canadians.”
In its election platform, the Liberal Party also pledged to establish an independent Science Advisor, and restore funding for the Experimental Lakes Area and federal oceanography programs.
Additionally, the Liberals said they will invest $750 million a year in the Canada Student Loans Program, and waive repayment of loans as long as a graduate earns less than $25,000 a year.
The new government also committed to invest $100 million in infrastructure projects and increase financing for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program for aboriginals. As well, the Liberals’ strategy for Canadian youth includes putting nearly $500 million towards training and access to employment for graduates.
Robinson said CAUT is requesting meetings with several Cabinet ministers to ensure the promises are followed through.
“Canada’s academic community looks forward to working with the Liberal government in helping to identify and meet the priorities of university and college students, staff and researchers,” he added.