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No Federal Money for Stratford, Ont

From August 31, 2008

With the high value of the dollar, Stratford Ontario is struggling. Tourism is down and manufacturing jobs are vanishing. But there had been hope on the horizon: a digital media campus, an offshoot of the University of Waterloo, with room for up to 1000 students. The project would bring 415 temporary construction jobs, and a $56.4 million economic impact. On completion, 180 permanent teaching and support jobs would be created.

MP Gary Schellenberger had appeared at City Hall to kick off the official announcement, and insisted that he would go to Ottawa and bring back federal money for the school. The city and the province of Ontario had each committed $10 million to the project, with another $10 million promised from the private sector. It seemed a sure bet that federal government would put in the last $10 million.

But with a Harper government, all bets are off.

According to Schellenberger, "Currently, there is no federal program which provides capital funding to universities and colleges because education is, and always has been, an area of provincial jurisdiction."

If only that were true. Just in January, the University of Alberta announced a renovation with a price tag of $86.5 million, with $15 million coming from the federal government.

Funny that Alberta would get $15,000,000. And Stratford, Ontario: $0.

It seems that Stephen Harper only favours school projects and economic stabilization when it's politically convenient.