Tuition in Ontario has become the most expensive in Canada, but “after the election it won’t be,” Greg Sorbara told thedailyplanet.com.
Sorbara, chair of the Ontario Liberal campaign and candidate for Vaughan, said after his party implements 30 per cent off tuition, Ontario’s post-secondary students won’t be paying the most in Canada.
He added students should be aware a Progressive Conservative government would again wreak havoc on education.
“I think you just have to write off the Tories completely,” he said, warning they’d repeat massive cuts seen under the previous PC government. “They’ll reduce allocations to training, colleges and universities by around 10 per cent.”
Jim Wilson, PC critic for colleges and universities and Simcoe-Grey candidate, told thedailyplanet.com Sorbara’s warning of a 10 per cent reduction is simply not true.
“We would be investing nearly 2-billion dollars in education, a lot of it going towards post-secondary,” he said, noting the last time the PCs were in power his party “did deregulate tuition as every other province did."
“But we’re not doing anymore of that this time,” he said, adding “the Liberals have had eight years to turn that back and they never did.”
“I in no way believe that Mr. McGuinty is going to give students this huge tuition break,” he added, wondering why the Liberals aren’t just lowering tuition.
“That’s always suspicious,” he said. “Governments do that usually because they hope no one bothers doing the paperwork.”
Wilson added PCs are being honest with students by promising to increase the Ontario Students Assistance Program threshold.
As for the NDP, both Wilson and John Milloy, Liberal incumbent minister of training, colleges and universities and Kitchener Centre candidate, said their promise of a four-year tuition freeze is reckless.
“They say we’re going to have this nice cap on tuition and then they don’t put any money in their financial plan to reimburse institutions and that’s going to permanently weaken the post-secondary system,” Milloy told thedailyplanet.com.
Wilson said the PCs are “not in favour of a freeze because it’s those coming into the system after it that will face massive hikes in tuition.”
But Jagmeet Singh, NDP candidate for Bramalea-Gore-Malton, told thedailyplanet.com his party can afford the tuition freeze and has plans thereafter.
“Our funding solution is that we’ll roll back corporate tax rates,” he said. “It’d bring billions and billions of dollars that would be able to pay for the freeze.”
Singh said it’s ridiculous to speculate on a hike after the freeze, adding “there’s no plan at all for an increase, in fact, we’d like to see the freeze as the first step and then move towards reducing tuition fees.”
He added it’s the Liberal’s and PC’s promises that are stopgap measures, with the former’s offer of 30 per cent off tuition basically covering the roughly 30 per cent increase since 2005.
And “the PC’s plan to raise the threshold on OSAP will put students further and further into debt,” he said.
Krisna Saravanamuttu, the Ontario representative for the Canadian Federation of Students, summed things up for thedailyplanet.com, saying students must put more pressure on all the major parties to get the fair treatment they deserve.
“It was a NDP government that raised tuition twice in the early 1990’s and then the PCs gutted funding left, right and centre, and we’re still trying to climb back from those cuts,” he said. “And under the Liberal’s watch, we now pay the highest tuition in the country – so there’s no perfect party for students.”
Humber College students attend class in the North campus lecture hall on Sept. 30.