Premier Doug Ford and the elusive Education Minister Lisa Thompson’s decision last week to scrap free tuition should be embraced and cheered by all those on the left advocating for fairness.
The nonsensical “free” OSAP for any Ontario post-secondary student whose parents make a combined income of less than $50,000 annually (or any prospective mature student making less than said amount) was incredibly unfair to those youth whose parents make more but don’t assist their kids with paying their way through university or college.
The Wynne Liberal government introduced “free” tuition in 2017 as one of the many candies they liberally threw out to voters in hopes of buying the electorate with their fellow citizens’ and their own money. Sadly, this was one of many grossly irresponsible and desperate decisions the Wynne government made in its last couple years, which only helped further plunge this province to new depths of debt.
Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk delivered a reality check and the real cheque in her last report for 2018, pegging the true cost of the so-called free tuition at $2 billion annually, double what the Liberal government claimed it would cost.
Why poorer students would need free tuition in order to go to university when they can already access generous government loans from OSAP — interest free while in school — is beyond any sane person rationalizing in a province already well over $300 billion in the red. Even more maddening is the fact universities and colleges continue to expand with satellite campuses across the province, despite repeated reports showing many of the programs these institutions offer are not a good return on investment in our current job market.
As I pointed out last year, Wynne’s free tuition incentivized underachiever and freeloaders to bilk Ontarians for their education, while doing nothing to reward academic excellence.
The Ford government’s decision to lower everyone’s tuition fees by 10 per cent across the board is a much better way to help all students equally with their education costs. No one should get a freeride simply because of their childhood circumstances. If an individual does not have a financial stake in funding their education they are far more likely to not take their studies seriously.
And for the dozens of university lobbyists and special-interest types now howling that the universities can’t afford to find cuts, one need look no further than the massive growth of the administrations at these institutions to know that that is hogwash.
So, progressives should rejoice over the scrapping of free tuition because it is actually making for a fairer Ontario, where merit is rewarded.
But, unfortunately, the leftists in this province are so blinded by their hate for Ford and so absolutist in their pro-handouts outlook that they refuse or are incapable of seeing the difference between equity and equality, and which of the two we should really strive for.
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