Post-secondary education should be a top election priority, according to the Students' Union. This month, the SU will join the Canadian Alliance of Student Association's ThinkEducation campaign to achieve that goal.
"It's time that we had a serious debate in this country on the current state and future of our post-secondary education system," said James Kusie, National Director of CASA. "Ten years of cuts to transfer payments have resulted in the largest tuition increases in Canadian History and students expect commitments from all political parties on restoring funding for colleges and universities."
A large part of the campaign is the creation of thinkeducation.ca--a website designed to promote post-secondary education issues and get Canada's youth out to the polling stations. On the site are a plethora of essays and info-pages about tuition, voting, political parties, and how to get involved.
"The most interesting aspect is the tuition calculator," said SU President Bryan West. "It's sick, some of the numbers are surprising to say the least. It takes a look at how badly tuition has gone up. Hopefully the site is an effective tool, but it depends on how it can be advertised."
It is going to be a challenge for the participating schools to organize themselves before the June 28 election, but the SU has some events already planned: they will be handing out information at the Campus Fair coming up on June 19, where 10,000 people are expected to attend; and there will also be an election forum at the U of C on June 16 with Calgary West candidates and a panel.
West has set some realistic goals for the SU's campaign.
"Education right now ranks as fourth on peoples priority list for the election," he said. "Youth are competing with other age brackets. The baby boomer bracket is concerned with health care and pensions and they vote in huge numbers. If you were a politician and you had to choose, what issues would you listen to?"
"If we can get the community to ask the candidates about some education issues, that would be a real victory."