Well, it’s election time and as a political scientist, I can’t help but get drawn in. First things first – for all those who really don’t know where they stand on the political and economic scales, check out the 2011 Federal Election Vote Compass. Keep in mind the limited scope of the questions asked – it’s not meant to determine who you should vote for, it’s meant to give you an idea and make you think about what you really believe. Next, for all my young (and hip older people) friends out there looking for a place to find some accurate information this election season I am, as always, promoting Apathy is Boring! Click the link and check out their site for all kinds of good stuff!
Now, to the real point of this article:
Yesterday, Michael Ignatieff FINALLY showed us a snippet of what we might see if the Liberals are to be elected. Unlike 2008 when he held a non-policy policy convention, Iggy has announced “The Learning Passport”, a policy to support high school students who wish to attend University. Sounds good right?
Read the Liberal news release here or the Edmonton Journal article here and then read on to consider my own thoughts on the matter.
So now that you’ve heard the plan, lets think about this for a minute:
1) That $1000 a year will barely cover the cost of textbooks/supplies – what of the other $10,000-$30,000 it costs to get a degree or diploma?
2) This money will REPLACE the textbook and education tax credits – this is a trade-off… you’re really not gaining much here. Although the Learning Passport money is up-front, it hardly makes a dent in the long run, I’d rather have that money as tax credits when I’m working to pay off my student debt.
* Update: after looking at my tax forms, it has become clear that this is really NOT beneficial AT ALL. Even with the money being up-front. Tax credits (assuming full-time enrollment) equal almost $4000 per year. Why would anyone in their right mind want to trade $4000 for $1000?
3) This isn’t even buying the youth vote. The target is 14-17 year old high school students who aren’t even allowed to vote and their parents. If you really want the youth to vote, do something for those of us who have acquired massive debt to go to school.
4) The money is going into RESP’s that the student is responsible for opening – what happens if the money is never used? The Liberals say that it’s just not paid out – so is there a time limit on it? There’s no real clear outline for how this works.
5) Do the Liberals plan on advertising this if they make office? I highly doubt it – they don’t REALLY want to give money to people. So what of those students who are unaware that they can open this RESP? Are they just S.O.L. once they get into school? Can the money be put into an RESP retroactively?
6) A CBC article (found here) states that “the plan would mean up to $1,300 in savings for some families, but wouldn’t kick in until the budget is balanced, which is projected to happen in about four years.” Seriously?! Guaranteed there will be another election by then – let’s not kid ourselves. This may as well just be an empty promise.
So many problems with this campaign promise. How can we really make a good decision about the future of our country if we keep hearing crap like this?
I’m not saying I have decided who I’m voting for because I really haven’t but if certain parties keep throwing out “policy” like this, my decision will definitely become easier!