Platform Report Cards: Grading the Parties on Education

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 30, 2008

Now that all the party platforms have been released, we can expect a plethora of report cards on the details of the platforms to be released by a number of advocacy groups. I received my first today from the Canadian Federation of Students. The CFS, representing over half a million post-secondary students from coast to coast, evaluated the party platforms on tuition fees, student aid, Aboriginal education, Graduate Students & Research, Copyright reform, and funding for universities and colleges in both English and French.

As a graduate student who pays higher tuition fees than the average undergraduate student, has accessed the student finance system and direct grad student funding, with plans to work in academics and is, therefore, quite concerned with proposed copyright reforms, and is too busy to read each platform personally, this sort of tool definitely assists me in determining where each party stands. In short, the Conservatives and the Greens each receive 3 Fs, the Liberals 1, and the NDP managed to avoid flunking out on any one of these categories.  

What's notable? No party receives an A on any section, though the Liberals do get an A- for their student aid provisions. I agree that the Conservatives should get an F for their proposed copyright legislation, the lack of consultation that lead up to it, and the lack of responsiveness they've demonstrated towards those of us who both produce and consume copyrighted material since the legislation was tabled.

How useful are these tools? It depends on how important a voter views the issue area on which the parties are being graded. For me, because education is my livelihood, where the parties stand on it matters. For others, this might not be the case, or other issues such as health care or the environment might take precedence. In that case, other advocacy groups' report cards would be useful.

Interestingly though, the Sierra Club of Canada's initial election report card came out this year BEFORE platforms were released. To me, this is a bit suspect, though I find the updated version's assertions that parties don't answer questions directly amusing. 

 

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Wonder why the Conservatives are failing on education?

Apparently, universities are "no-fly zones". Good grief.

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