Canada in brief: Nov. 10, 2010

Troops to remain in Afghanistan past 2011

The Globe and Mail has reported that the Harper government is considering putting forward a proposal to keep hundreds of Canadian troops in Afghanistan until 2014. The troops will form a non-combat training group and would extend the Canadian military’s presence in Afghanistan three years past the July 2011 withdrawal deadline that was set by Parliament. Defence Minister Peter MacKay has assured that the post-2011 role of the Canadian military would respect this motion for an end to combat.

A shortfall of approximately 900 NATO troops to conduct training has led to considerable international pressure being put on the Canadian government to leave a contingent of trainers behind to aid the mission.

MacKay confirmed this information; no comment has been made regarding the number of troops that may remain in Afghanistan. The decision comes weeks before the Nov. 18 NATO leaders’ summit in Portugal.
—Alanna Wallace

Canadian med schools diversifying admission

VANCOUVER (CUP) — Medical schools across Canada are re-vamping their application process by adding new requirements and eliminating outdated criteria.

Autobiographical essays, panel interviews and, in some cases, the Medical College Admissions Test have all been eliminated in an effort to diversify the students admitted to programs across the country.
McGill University made headlines in July when they announced that Canadian applicants to their program would no longer have to submit an MCAT score after the English-language test was criticized for deterring francophone applicants.

McMaster University now requires students to take a computer-based personality test instead of submitting an essay.

Some schools are now mentoring prospective applicants who have expressed interest in attending medical school, but might not have applied under the previous process.
These changes are all designed to recruit a better and more diverse cohort of doctors.

—Nicola Gailits, The Ubyssey

Canadian university presidents on India mission

VANCOUVER (CUP) — Fifteen Canadian university presidents began a seven-day excursion to India today in order to build ties with Indian universities. The delegation is travelling on behalf of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, and includes presidents from the University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University, University of Alberta, Wilfrid Laurier University and others.

The group will be meeting with Indian educators, members of the business community and government officials to build relationships and agreements with Indian institutions and to attract more Indian students to study in Canada.

—Arshy Mann, The Ubyssey

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