PCs New College & Universities Plan Threatens $30-million in Cuts 

February 8, 2021

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, MLA St. B Boniface said the Pallister Government's "Skills Talent and Knowledge Strategy" released today put a gun to the heads of colleges and universities, forcing them to cut programs in exchange for funding.

"This is Pallister using bully-tactics and threats to gut higher education, using a plan from Tennessee from 1979 that is divorced from today's reality," said Lamont. "We know what universities and colleges need, and it is the exact opposite of what the PCs have done and what they are proposing."

The PCs have:

  • Cut funding to the ACCESS program, which helps indigenous students
  • Eliminated health insurance for international students, who are the single largest group of future Manitobans through the provincial nominee program
  • Froze funding to universities
  • Interfered with collective bargaining, resulting in a $2-million fine for the University of Manitoba
  • Increased tuition and student debt
  • Have consistently failed to match federal funding for research, effectively doubling funding cuts

In 2014, a paper for the Teachers' College Record showed that Colorado, Arkansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Washington, Florida, Missouri, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Georgia and Kansas had all abandoned the system the PCs are proposing.

A 2019 Southern Methodist University study showed that the system means colleges and universities are more selective, and that they tend to lead to "lower admission rates, higher SAT/ACT scores and fewer low-income students."

The University of Manitoba has regularly scored as one of the best in Canada at improving student test scores during during their degree.

Lamont has a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Manitoba and was a member of the Board of Governors in the 1990s, and was an instructor at both the U of M and U of W.

"Despite decades of interference and underfunding from the NDP and PCs alike, our universities and colleges are already doing fantastic work in research and education," said Lamont. "Universities need to have a commitment to stable, long-term funding for research, infrastructure and operations. Students need to be able to afford to attend."

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