Budget measure for students worth supporting

Yesterday the Harper Government tabled its 2011-12 budget amidst widespread election speculation. In a time of supposed fiscal restraint, certain measures were added in an attempt to win the support of the New Democratic Party of Canada and consequently stave off the threat of an election.

Among these was a proposal to forgive $40,000 in student loans for doctors and $20,000 for nurses and nurse practitioners along with measures to facilitate the recruitment of doctors to rural and aboriginal communities. Additionally, students pursuing part-time education will no longer have to pay interest on their Canada Student Loans while still in school.

These new measures are a step in the right direction for the Canadian government when it comes to post-secondary issues. Benefits for medical workers will aid in allowing Canada to retain the best and brightest doctors and nurses under financial pressure from migrating towards a more lucrative market in the United States. Fee breaks for those with debt who decide to complete degrees part-time will also make the financial burden of graduating that much
easier for a great number of post-secondary students.

The proposal is far from a solution as a shortage of space and an inability to recognize foreign credentials hinders Canada’s ability to train doctors. And with an aging public, the situation is only going to get worse as time passes and demand skyrockets for health care.

It appears that the opposition parties are dead set on not supporting the budget, which is unfortunate. While the budget is not perfect, few expected it to be loaded with a multitude of new funding announcements given the budget deficit. The proposed initiatives are a great step forward for both current and future post-secondary students, who are so often forgotten. If the budget fails in the coming week we encourage any future budget to include these important measures.

These developments are still overwhelmingly positive for those attempting to attain a higher education.

–The Cord Editorial Board

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