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  • A critical look at BC’s new tax breaks and subsidies for LNG May 7, 2019
    The BC government has offered much more to the LNG industry than the previous government. Read the report by senior economist Marc Lee.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver April 30, 2019
    The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver is $19.50/hour. This is the amount needed for a family of four with each of two parents working full-time at this hourly rate to pay for necessities, support the healthy development of their children, escape severe financial stress and participate in the social, civic and cultural lives of […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Time to regulate gas prices in BC and stop industry gouging April 29, 2019
    Drivers in Metro Vancouver are reeling from record high gas prices, and many commentators are blaming taxes. But it’s not taxes causing pain at the pump — it’s industry gouging. Our latest research shows that gas prices have gone up by 55 cents per litre since 2016 — and the vast majority of that increase […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA welcomes Randy Robinson as new Ontario Director March 27, 2019
    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is pleased to announce the appointment of Randy Robinson as the new Director of our Ontario Office.  Randy’s areas of expertise include public sector finance, the gendered rise of precarious work, neoliberalism, and labour rights. He has extensive experience in communications and research, and has been engaged in Ontario’s […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Budget hints at priorities for upcoming […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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New Research Money for the University of Alberta

An article in today’s Globe and Mail discusses some new research funding for the University of Alberta.  In particular, the article notes:

The U of A ranks second in total research funding, behind only U of T and up from fifth in 2006. This year, the U of A will spend $514-million on research, more than double its total from a decade ago.

However, the article also hints at the other side of the coin (no pun intended):

 The funding comes at a time when the cash-strapped school is looking for cuts elsewhere – reports surfaced earlier this summer that it cut off phone lines for some professors this year to save money.

I think this second point is very important.  On the one hand, I note that Canadian universities put a lot of time and effort (as well as money) into competing with each other to attract more research dollars and prestige.  On the other hand, this is happening at a time when federal cash transfer payments to provinces for universities are decreasing substantially, student-faculty ratios are increasing very significantly, tuition rates are at an all-time high, and the average student debt load is much higher than it was in the mid-1990s. (I’ve written about this two-sided phenomenon here.)

Let’s face it: if a student can’t attend every class because they have to work three part-time jobs to afford tuition, if they can’t contact their professor because the professor’s  phone is disconnected, and if class sizes are too large for professors to take the time they need with their students, it doesn’t much matter that your university just inched its way one step closer to being home to the next Nobel prize winner!

I think Canada’s universities need less razzle-dazzle and more substance.

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