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Category: Volume 3

What’s the idea?

The University of Waterloo Entrepreneurship Society hosted the: “What’s Your Idea Week!” in the final days of September this year. Ideas were abound and students eagerly absorbed tried and tested methods from both, amateur and veteran entrepreneurs alike. Pretty much, a lot of hand shaking, back patting and an all-around feel good atmosphere. Whereas an entrepreneur could have spent those precious hours towards his project, a lot of time was wasted pandering in the SLC to the already inflated egos of startup wannabes.

The toxic “young genius” persona lingered in the air for several days after. I’m sure several busybodies were left with a taste of self-importance in their mouth and had a rejuvenating experience to dedicate the next few days to some productive outlet. However short lasted it was, good for them; the real talent can be seen in the long haul of dedication towards a calling. Those set vividly apart from the quick burst workers who constantly require praise and applause. Put on a suit, host a site, engage, maintain a presence, sell, sell, sell.

Canada’s next Silicon Valley doesn’t lack in flashy suits and arrogant gaits. It lacks in cooperation, team work and community centered business. Are you creating a social media platform that is way cool and totally revolutionary? Good for you. Do you have the next big idea in alternative energy? Fantastic. Have you figured out why kids love the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch? That’s actually pretty impressive. You should go on national television with that one. The point is: create something meaningful, don’t let yourself be fooled; don’t surround yourself with those unwilling to say words like, “no and you suck, you have a bad hair-cut, I don’t like the way you smell frankly”. It builds character, it builds integrity and sometimes you need to be brought back to earth.

Regardless, if you spend your time postulating your imminent wealth with others, rather than contributing some form of effort towards the greater good of innovation and scientific discovery then reevaluate your motivations. Money is a fantastic thing; it’s multi-coloured and has astronauts on it — the $20 bill at least. It’s an abundant resource unlike honesty and passion.

If you’re passionate about something, if you dearly wish to change the world, then you will be willing to dedicate your life towards it. If you’re just looking to make money, than you know what, an idea week is probably all you need if you’re smart. People have gotten wealthy in less time than that. If there’s passion in UW and if there’s any chance of some revolutionary discovery at this institution, it very likely won’t be found in Entrepreneurship studies.

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Where is it safe to eat?

The Region of Waterloo performed health inspections on many restaurants in the UW Plaza this summer and the results are publicly available. But who really knows about these reports and do they really matter?

The inspections evaluate restaurants, bars, and even grocery stores (such as Farah’s Foods) on categories such as the presence of a certified food handler (usually an owner, manager, or supervisor, who has received training on the sanitary handling of foodstuffs), the separation of raw and cooked food (especially meat), and general cleanliness. For example, in 2012, the Pita Factory franchise in the Plaza was found to not be keeping cooked or re-heated food at a high enough temperature to ensure food safety, though this was corrected during the inspection.

Problems exposed by these inspections can be serious and lead to potential cases of food poisoning due to improperly handled or stored food, or a poorly-cleaned kitchen or restaurant area.

Luckily for those who wantto be informed about where they eat, inspections going back two years are published online by the Region of Waterloo. This gives some interesting insights. For example, infractions were much more common going back one or two years; in the earliest reports from 2012, a majority of restaurants had multiple infractions, some critical infractions (which represent problems or situations where food-borne illness is likely to arise).

In contrast, the reports from the summer of 2014 show few critical infractions in the Plaza, and many restaurants (including the Pita Factory franchise mentioned earlier) had no infractions whatsoever. This does not imply that there were no critical infractions — in fact, the Waterloo Sogo Restaurant had two: improper separation of raw and ready-to-eat or already-prepared foods in storage and storage of potentially hazardous food at too high of a temperature (that is, improper refrigeration or freezing of food). Critical infractions were additionally reported for Nuri Village, Al-Madina Restaurant, Lotus Barbecue House, Waterloo Star, Meet Point Restaurant, and Go Eat Chinese Restaurant, all for similar improper separation of raw and ready-to-eat or prepared food.

This information shows that while the fast food served at some plaza restaurants may be unhealthy, myths of food poisoning from certain notorious restaurants may be unfounded. However, if you believe that you have been made sick by food from a certain restaurant or if you believe that a restaurant or other food-related plaza business is operating under unsanitary conditions, you should report it to Region of Waterloo Public Health.

Public health inspection reports can be viewed at http://checkit.regionofwaterloo.ca/portal/Facility.

Colonialism panel discussion

by Amy Rose Gofton

On Thursday, October 2nd at 7 pm, around 150 people gathered in RCH 301 for the panel discussion, “They Came in Ships: Settler Colonialism from Turtle Island to Palestine”. The event, hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Action Group (PSAG), Grand River Indigenous Solidarity (GRIS) and the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG), focused on settler colonialism in both North America and Israel/Palestine. The panel was well received by students, who applauded and listened intently throughout the presentation.

The event began with a brief reminder that students were at UW, on occupied Six Nations Land. Then, each member of the panel was asked to give a brief presentation. The three person panel featured Gabriel Piterberg, a professor of history at the University of California, Dalee Sambo Dorough, an associate professor at the University of Alaska and chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, and Sara Matthews, an associate Professor of Global Studies at Wilfred Laurier and a member of QAIA (Queers Against Israeli Apartheid), a group dedicated to encouraging the queer community to become politically involved.
Dalee Sambro Dorough spoke first, focusing on the role law plays in colonialism. “Indigenous peoples have been largely subjugated and dominated through the use of law,” she explained. Although “indigenous peoples across the globe have all the attributes of . . . nation state[s],” including language, culture, forms of government, social control, protocol and rules of membership, foreign law is still used to legitimize control over indigenous peoples. Despite attempts to “pry open the doors” of international law, it has been difficult. She cited the 2007 UN document,

“The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People,” as a victory, but lamented Canada’s failure to step whole-heartedly behind the document, which lays out a number of basic rights for indigenous peoples. Gabriel Piterberg spoke after Dorough, switching the focus towards Israel/Palestine. He described the Palestinians not as simply an oppressed population, but as an indigenous group subjected to settler colonialism. Piterberg differentiated between settler and metropole colonialism. Metropole colonialism, he said, is more like “Ulysses” — the colonizers arrive and then leave — while settler colonialism is more like the Aeneid, where the colonizers arrive and intend never to leave. Israel has created a “pure settlement colony,” Piterberg said; they want the land, but they do not want the indigenous labour. However, he expressed optimism, noting that unlike the majority of disposed indigenous peoples, the Palestinians maintain a significant and internationally legitimate claim to sovereignty. Sara Matthews bridged the gap between Piterberg and Dorough, by speaking about her own efforts with QAIA. Matthews described the opposition QAIA faces from Toronto politicians who believe that politics have no place in the Toronto Pride Parade. She chalked this opposition up to neoliberalism. Matthews also used the term “Pinkwashing,” a phrase she and QAIA use to describe Israel’s attempts to market itself as a liberal and tolerant state, hospitable to the LGBTQ community. Just as Greenwashing distracts from environmental harms, Pinkwashing is a tactic used to distract the international community from addressing the occupation.

After a spokesperson for the event posed a couple of questions to the panel, an audience Q&A session began. Many of the questions from students were directed towards Gabriel Piterberg and involved Israel/Palestine. In response to one question, Piterberg suggested that “the solution” in Israel/Palestine “is to take everyone that is already there and create something,” rather than to try and dismantle the colonial settlement.

The event concluded around 9:30 pm. A social gathering was held at the Graduate House afterwards for those who wished to talk directly with the panel members or discuss the event.

Feds GM Tomorrow

By the Editorial Collective

Tomorrow will be the Fall term Federation of Students General Meeting. This meeting is where any and all ordinary undergraduate students may vote on important goings-on within Feds, and in fact the meeting carries a higher authority than the Feds Student Council. The meeting will begin at 3:00 pm tomorrow in the Great Hall of the Student Life Centre (SLC).

In the past year, Feds GMs, which were once largely ignored by the student body, have begun to draw attention due to the unprecedented number of students in attendance and the affairs being discussed, such as the creation of a Clubs Library in the SLC and a motion to initiate a referendum that would consult the student body on the idea of a Fall Reading Break (a referendum which is slated to happen this November). This meeting seems likely to command a similar level of attention and controversy, surrounding three member-added motions.

The first is a motion to make the SLC more physically accessible (in particular, the entrance facing the PAC parking lot), added by Amy Yang (3N Environmental Engineering). This would make it easier for persons with physical disabilities to use the SLC.

The second is a motion to ban for-profit banks and other financial service companies from soliciting students to sign up for credit cards in the SLC (excluding the current CIBC branch in the SLC basement), put forward by Shifa Abbas (4A Biology). This would block these companies from using both physical space (such as tables in Vendors Alley) and advertising space for this purpose, though they could still use those spaces to advertise for other purposes. The main vendor affected would be the Bank of Montreal (BMO), which currently uses Vendors Alley to advertise these services and solicit students to use them.

The final motion was submitted by Andrew Reeves (3A Mathematical Physics) to reopen Feds Board of Directors meetings, which despite Feds President Danielle Burt’s stated commitment to transparency, remain closed to the Federation’s own members, UW undergraduates. An enigma, Reeves has not participated in any interviews with the press and has so far only made one public comment (in response to the Imprint): “It’s a bit sad this motion is necessary at all.”. The Chevron agrees with this statement. We believe that for the Feds Board of Directors to be accountable to students, its meetings will need to be open so that students can ensure that Board members are acting in their best interest.

We encourage all interested students to go to the meeting. Feds is responsible, through levy fees, for managing millions of dollars in our money and it is our responsibility to hold Feds accountable and to make sure it is being managed according to the interests and desires of students, because nobody else will hold Feds accountable.

Stressed

by Amanda-Jean Hennick

University is stressful for all of us; in every student’s life there has been, or will come a time, when they are stressed about some aspect of their school work. Even the most “well-adjusted” individuals often fall into this habit, but for those of us who aren’t so well adjusted, it’s a bit of a different story.

As a student who suffers first hand from mental illness, I know what the stress of university can do, how it can affect what underlying problems are already there, and how it can inflate these issues and make them seem completely unmanageable. In his 2008 paper, “How Big a Problem is Anxiety?”, Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D. claimed that “[t]he average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s”. Add to this the pressures of tuition, increased work loads, and possibly working a part- or full-time job on the side, it is no wonder that when it comes to mental illness, university students are at a heightened risk.

No one can deny that university is stressful on one level or another and some are able to handle it better than others, but for those who can’t, stress is a major factor in mental illness and disorders. Tobias Esch, M.D. said that “[s]tress, in general, has been demonstrated to be part of mechanisms related to anxiety, and chronic stress, involving chronic sympathetic activation, has specifically been linked to the onset of anxiety and depression. In particular, stress may actually mediate, promote, or even cause mental disorders like depression.”

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), one-fifth of Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Of Canadian youth, one-tenth to one-fifth are affected by a mental illness or mental health disorder, so it is not surprising that at a university of about thirty thousand students, you could find some of that fifth.

When asked about university life in relation to stress, one Waterloo student said, “As someone who suffers from stress-triggered anxiety, depression, and related sleep disorders, university is a huge struggle. I struggle every day not to break down in anxiety over the amount of work and stress university creates,” and when asked if and how UW Accessibility was able to help, they responded “Accessibility is really good for those with physical disabilities, or people with anxiety where they need extra time or a quieter environment to take exams. But for people like me with stress-related heightened anxiety, there’s really not much they can do. They’ve been helpful with fixing conflicts for me, but as for the more regularities of my anxiety the only thing
I could do, would be to take less courses and see if that works.” Strides have been made to accommodate people with disabilities, but this help is not reaching everyone effectively, and many subtler difficulties are in need of better recognition.

A former Waterloo student, when asked about how the stress of university affected their many mental disorders (depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, and anxiety) they answered “It simply made all of them exponentially worse. I stopped functioning properly and I stopped being me.” Not only did their symptoms get worse, but they were worsened again when introduced to anti-psychotics. Instead of helping, the medication actually deteriorated their well-being. “I hated the meds; they screwed with me and caused things like insomnia and a stutter. I would have preferred therapy.” When asked how the medication made them feel specifically, they had this to say: “Numb. I had shakes, stuttering, lack of sleep, I felt empty, sometimes angry.” This is of course, not to say that medication never works; according to Dr. Tim Kenny, every 8 out of 10 patients benefit from anti-psychotics.

Unfortunately, the students mentioned above are not the only ones to have a disdain for medication. Abby Andrews, a student from Queen’s University had this to say: “A student who reaches out for help and is instead given a rushed prescription can be turned off from seeking help. That’s what happened to me. I’ve been on anti-depressants for three years, and the doctor who prescribed them to me has never followed up. I now rely on medicine to balance the level of serotonin in my brain, and I’m skeptical as to whether I need it. A bottle of pills isn’t personal support. That day, the doctor handed me a list of therapists in the city that would be able to help me. I felt that I was being passed off to someone else because the school couldn’t deal with me. I had been outsourced.”

The mental health of students is not going unnoticed. In fact, the Canadian Federation of Students in Nova Scotia (CFSNS) launched a campaign meant to raise awareness about student mental health on campus, and to pressure post-secondary schools and the provincial government to invest more towards student mental health. Unfortunately, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Wellness, there are no plans to increase funding for mental health at this time. Thankfully, although it seems that our schools will not yet be increasing funds, the University of Waterloo Mental Health Services offer a wide variety of help to aid people with anxiety, depression, problems sleeping, OCD, and other mental illnesses that are often triggered by stress. Services include counselling, crisis intervention, psychodiagnosis, psychotherapy, educational support and more. The University also offers more unconventional ways of managing stress such as petting puppies. In April of last year, students were able to go to the REC room in the Renison University College and pet puppies to relieve stress, which is one therapy I personally hope they continue.

As someone who understands the stress of university, along with the struggles of mental illness, I reach out to all those who suffer in silence. Although mental illness is sometimes still seen
as taboo, it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is as real and as difficult as many physical illnesses and disorders and if it is interfering with your everyday life, I urge you to seek out the help that you need. If there is one thing I have learned in my short time here at UW, it is that no matter what, no matter how it seems, you are not alone.

[Editor’s note: Have you expe-
rienced problems with stress
or mental health problems at
UW? Let us know about your
experiences. Anonymity will
be preserved as desired.
]

Demilitarize McGill: Questionable research on campuses

by Amy Rose Gofton

The university as an institution is a place of learning, but it is also a place of research. Demilitarize McGill, an anti-military research and recruitment organization with an average membership of between 7 and 20 people, at McGill University understands the research side of the institution all too well. According to the Demilitarize website, they have a self-appointed mandate to “interrupt the University’s history of complicity in colonization and imperialist warfare by ending military collaboration at McGill.” In practice, this translates into an opposition of military research and recruitment on their campus.

Focusing on education and direct action, Demilitarize McGill has submitted Access To Information Requests to both their university and the military, run workshops and walking tours, and even blockaded research labs. One blockade, members of Demilitarize McGill say, “ended with the university adminis-
tration calling the Montreal police onto campus.” A banner was seized and protestors were forced to disperse, but no arrests were made.

Demilitarize McGill believes that allowing their university to continue military funded or aimed research on their campus perpetuates the “military-industrial complex.” In other words, they believe the research on their campus contributes to the ability of political, military and corporate actors to collaborate in the waging of wars. Unfortunately, universities—which receive both
public and private funding—serve as convenient places for these actors to exploit labour and resources, as they do not need to fully fund the research themselves.

The exposing of military research at McGill dates back to 1984, when journalists from the McGill Daily revealed the Canadian Department of Defence funded fuel-air explosives research on the campus. The current Demilitarize McGill, which was reincarnated in 2012, draws on the spirit of that discovery, and has uncovered a number of concerning research areas. They allege
that documents, obtained by an Access To Information Request, show that drone research at the university’s Mechatronics Lab received $380,000 from the Department of National Defence. Demilitarize McGill has also raised concerns about Missile Guidance research and anti-icing research for fighter jets. The group is es- pecially concerned with the continued work of the Shock Wave Physics group—a group Demilitarize McGill says was once directly funded by U.S grants.

More recently, Demilitarize McGill has raised concerns over a psychology study in which 80 Somali Canadians participated in a survey gathering information on identity issues. An article published by the Montreal Gazette says the survey studied the participant’s adjustment to life in Canada, but was also interested in what factors might lead them to
affiliations with terrorist organizations. The participants were not informed that funding for the study came from the DRDC (Defence Research and Development Canada). Although McGill
University says no rules were broken in not disclosing the funding for the study, Demilitarize McGill refers to it “as a serious breach of research ethics,” and vows to pressure
McGill University into creating better policy.

There is no question that military research has taken place and is taking place at McGill University, but what about our own campus? How much does the average student know about the
research that goes on here at the University of Waterloo? UW’s motto is that “ideas start here,” but how much attention does the average student really pay to those ideas? Every week or so, we
see the Waterloo Facebook page updated with news of new research: “Groundbreaking Study Reveals Best Sex Positions to Save Spines,” or “Very Low Nicotine Cigarettes May Reduce Addiction.” While much of the UW research we hear about sounds very ethical and at times very helpful, at a University of our size, which is constantly expanding, we must keep in mind the possibility if ethical breaches in research on campus. Demilitarize McGill, when asked how students at other universities (such as UW) can find out if military-related or ethically suspect research is taking place on their campus, recommended filing Access to Information Requests to the Department of National Defense and the University (as some military-related research is funded by private companies). “We also find lots of information just by doing internet research,” the group said. “It’s just a matter of digging up the details.” Demilitarize McGill said they are “very willing to help . . . students at other universities find out if . . . [military research] is going on where they are studying.”

What Demilitarize McGill has proved is that it is possible for students to discover and respond to policies that violate the right of students to study and work in an environment which does not contribute to the waging of war. If, at any time, research or university policy at UW crosses an ethical boundary, we as students must, and can, be prepared to raise a voice in complaint and take action to ensure that our University’s policies match the desires of its student body.

Students march on Schembri

by Thomas Little

On September 19th, angry and frustrated students who had signed leases to live at the currently-unfinished One Columbia apartment complex took their dispute (see article, “Construction delays leave students out in the cold”, in the previous issue) directly to Schembri Property Management, Inc. in the form of a march on Schembri’s office. The march also included a number of parents and community members, as well as this Chevron writer. The march came after One Columbia tenants, upset at Schembri’s poor handling of construction delays, were denied the ability to terminate their leases with Schembri, which would have allowed them to rent elsewhere instead of being temporarily housed in hotel rooms as far away as Cambridge and Guelph.

After gathering at the corner of Columbia Street and Albert Street, the march proceeded to the Schembri office on Columbia Street, gaining participants as it went until the participants numbered about thirty-five to forty people, not including the media. The marchers went inside the Schembri office building and up the stairs to a manager’s office, where Alex Diceanu of WPIRG (Waterloo Public Interest Research Group) informed the Schembri employees of what was going on and explained the students’ grievance. One Columbia tenants also went forward to present the
manager with demand letters asking for their cash deposits to be returned to them.

After delivering the demand letters, the tenants and their supporters left the building and gathered in front of it to have their photographs taken with a Schembri rental sign. Four Waterloo Regional Police cruisers appeared, but most left after several minutes.

At all times, the march seemed well-organized and good-natured but determined. While Schembri tenants may have been able to tolerate a few days in temporary accommodations, as construction on the building drags on and midterms approach, the situation is likely to heat up. As well, the Landlord and Tenant Board hearing for the first group of Schembri students to file claims will happen today, Tuesday, September 30th. The outcome of those hearings are likely to determine how the situation unfolds and should be watched carefully.

For those interested in attending, the hearing will happen at 10:00 am on Tuesday, at the Hauser House, Waterloo Memorial Complex, 101 Father David Bauer Drive. It is accessible from campus by
a short walk through Waterloo Park, or by taking Westmount Road going south and turning onto Father David Bauer Drive.

Feds GM Soon

The Editorial Collective

The time for the next Federation of Students General Meeting is approaching. Readers who were following campus events last year might recall the growing numbers of students participating in these meetings and winning victories such as the long-awaited Feds backing for a Clubs Library in the Student Life Centre. Students who are interested in submitting motions only have until midnight on October 4th, so be quick! Hopefully this GM will be as eventful as past ones were.

At the Chevron, we are happy to have received so many emails offering various kinds of assistance or from students who want to become involved. However, we still encourage anyone who is interested in working with us to send us an email. Even if you don’t want to commit much time to the Chevron or work on it regularly, we also welcome responses to our articles if you have anything you want to share.

I am not afraid

Author: Cosmin Dzsurdzsa

I blundered through my first year; in fact I enjoyed it so much I decided to give it another go. I come to you now as freshman 2.0, new and improved. My faculties have been dusted off, my program updated, and I return feeling better than ever. Fall 2014, here I come. I am not afraid.

Let me explain my first encounter with the big fish called the University of Waterloo. It managed to swallow me up and spit me out shortly after, covered in the slime of disappointment. I left a bad taste (and a hefty tuition) in the institutions mouth. Now to clear things up, I didn’t exactly fail any of my classes; I was forced to withdraw by a series of unfortunate events.

What began as a fantastic year, where I was eager, full of excitement and ambitious, quickly took a turn for the worse. I had begun the first year sprinting, diving into extracurriculars, exploring volunteering opportunities and even going to lectures beyond my scope of understanding. You can call it the naiveté of youth or just simply stupidity. Either way I was having a great time. I stayed relatively on top of my work load and followed through with assignments towards midterms. Then midterms arrived.

Midterms came and went. I frantically tried to salvage some dropping marks and then I crashed. Not figuratively, I literally crashed into another vehicle. So there I was having to deal with an accident, the unforeseen consequences of insurance and my faltering studies. I was beginning to sink deeper into the ocean of burdens and a weight was strapped onto my feet.

If this were a movie, I would have had a cinematic montage of recovery. Unfortunately each day went by as slowly as the rest and I kept sinking. Luckily, instead of just reacting, I acted of my own accord. Immediately after I crashed, I had warned my undergraduate advisor that this would greatly affect my studies. His concern and helpfulness guided me to a brighter ending of this story.

I went from advisor to advisor, explaining my situation, weighing my options, and dropping a few classes. Coupled with an accident, family and relationship struggles served to knock the final nails into my coffin. I was lowered into a six foot hole with a thud and I thought I was done for. I was going to be a dropout; somebody who tried and failed. I thought my world was ending and I envisioned a cynical old man who always talked about who he could have been.

Then, I was offered a way out: withdraw from your course load and begin anew. I was on track to fail a majority of my classes, so I jumped at the offer. My advisor walked me through the process, explained the required paperwork and even personally vouched for me.

My first request was denied; I required proof. I found myself in the registrar’s office gripping course override forms and an accident report. Shortly after, I received an email saying my withdrawal was completed successfully. I was out.

I would remain a student in the records and would have to apply for re-admission come July. Things finally began to relax for me and the weight was shedding. Unfortunately, I was going to miss a year, but I wasn’t too upset. Many people do not begin post-secondary education until they’re 19 and the experience has made me more realistic about my goals.

I took the time off to reorganize myself, work full time, and fix my car. The point is there’s always a second chance if you search for one. If I had remained silent about my situation and had not reached out to the many resources available at the University, I might not have had the opportunity to return.

I look forward to being back, to meet new faces and to offer a perspective for those who are in the same situation. If you’re a first year, you’re most likely feeling a combination of anxiety and hope; hope that you will succeed and the anxiety of possible failure of not meeting your expectations. Life will be hard on you, university will be hard on you, and people might be hard on you, but you don’t have to be hard on yourself. I sincerely hope that every incoming student enjoys their time here this year and if there’s one thing left to say it’s: do not be afraid.

What is our provincial government doing for students?

Author: Amy Rose Gofton

Last June 12th, while many of the students on this campus were away and in a summer frame of mind, the provincial election culminated into a Liberal Majority government. During the campaign, Kathleen Wynne promised that, if re-elected, her party would keep the 30%-off tuition grant in place. Three months later, it appears that the Liberals will keep their word. As they should. The 30%-off tuition grant was, after all, a Liberal initiative back in 2012. During the campaign, the Conservatives claimed they would cancel the grant if elected. Regardless of whether or not we as students believe the grant is accessible enough, or provides enough monetary relief, having it in place is better than not having it at all.

In 2013 the Liberals pledged to cap rising tuition rates at a 3% increase per year. With the Liberals re-elected, the 3% increase will remain. If, instead, we had elected an NDP government, perhaps Andrea Horwath would have followed through with her pledge to freeze tuition rates at current levels and to eliminate the provincial portion of interest on student loans, but there is no reason to ponder what might have been. The question that needs to be asked now is what plans does the Liberal government have in store for Ontario post-secondary education in the future?

In a document on the website of the Ontario Liberals titled “Building a Stronger Post Secondary System”, a number of initiatives and promises are presented. Starting Fall 2015, any student taking a 70 percent course load or less will have to be charged on a per-credit basis, rather than a flat rate. The document also explains that plans are in the works to expand campuses in underserved areas and provide space for an additional 60,000 postsecondary students. The Liberals plan to work with municipalities, colleges and universities across the province to implement expansions. The government has put out a call for proposals to expand and create new campuses. The deadline for proposals is the 26th of September, 2014.

On July 3rd, the Speech From Throne was read to open the 41st parliament. The speech included direct references to investing in education and skills training, to ensuring more students receive postsecondary education, to building new campuses and to increasing access to French-language programs. The speech describes “public investments to develop the talent and skills of our people . . . not [as] a luxury,” but as an investment in the future. The actual budget, to the dismay of many interest groups, contains no new funding for improved access or affordability of post-secondary education. However, the government still claims that by 2025 Ontario will boast a postsecondary attainment rate of above 70%.

In the three months since the June election, the Liberals have talked, minimally about ways to help students, but they have little to show in terms of action. According to a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives printed in the July/August Issue of the CCPA Monitor, Ontario students are still paying, on average, the highest tuition rates in this country. It takes 2.7 times the hours of work to pay for an average Ontario tuition today than it did in 1975. While the Liberals may have pride in their plan to create more spaces and larger campuses for students, it matters little if the affordability and the quality of our education system continues to go downhill.