Elections in the Great White North

TRISTAN SEDGEWICK

            The election is here again, with two drastically different men ready to face off. You all know what Iím taking about Ė the Canadian federal election! Our eyes may be focused on the madness south of the border, but our minds must remain here. Not many of us really care about the outcome, but we must. Sure, the American election is more interesting, but the Canadian election is more important. Both McCain and Obama place America first; theyíre not going to do anything for Canada. Obama has already stated that he wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, and heíll do it in Americaís favour.

            The Canadian election matters. The Liberals promised 55 billion dollars for city infrastructure. How much of that will go to dear Toronto remains to be seen, but it is a great plan. We all recognize that Toronto could benefit from more money from the Federal Government. The Canadian government will determine our health care system, our child care system, and our education system. It seems that in this election, itís the NDP, Liberals, and Greens who are making all the promises while Harper sits in his cozy sweater vest shooting lame commercials. The Canadian government will make or break our economy. The Canadian Government will determine our course of action in Afghanistan. Dion vs. Harper (donít kid yourself thinking the NDP or Greens might win) might not be as exciting as Obama vs. McCain, but the winner of the Canadian match will soon start to affect our lives. Some of you may say that no matter whoís voted in, no change will happen, but new laws and amendments will be passed, and whoever gets in will determine Canadaís future.

            A neglected but important issue to young people is post-secondary education. Whether we go to university, college, or the trades, government policies will really affect us. Hereís how the parties stack up.

            Green Party: The Greens say that they will forgive half the loan for students who complete degree or certificate programs. The Greens want to expand apprenticeships and job training to reduce the shortage of skilled workers.

            Conservatives: The Tories say they will give students and their parents a tax credit on buying school books; they will invest $100 million to improve postsecondary support and enhance the student loan program. They didnít devote a large section of their platform to this however.

            Liberals: The Liberals will replace the existing tax cuts with an Education Grant in which students will receive money every three months. Along with the GST rebate it will be worth $1000 per full time student. The Liberals will reform the rules covering student loans. The liberals also say they will make student loans interest free for 2 years.

            NDP: The NDP havenít released their party platform but hereís what theyíve already done. When Jack Layton rewrote the Liberalsí budget in 2005, he put 1.5 billion aside to help with education and job training. The NDP tabled the Canada Post Secondary Act to improve our college and university education system.

            The Canadian election might not but as flashy or drawn out as its American counterpart, but itís the Canadian election that really matters to all who live in the Great White North.