Doug Ford’s Pursuit of Ignorance

In previous posts (“Doug Ford will devastate Ontario universities,” last May 2, and  “Ford: attack and defund universities),” last May 18) I warned that a government headed by a college dropout would swing a wrecking ball at Ontario’s universities. It’s now begun – but in a way that is both surprising and counter-productive in terms of the government’s own values.

The Ford Government announced it would withdraw funding for three satellite campuses: a partnership between York University and Seneca College in Markham, another partnership between Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College in Milton, and a third partnership between Ryerson University and Sheridan College in Brampton. It has said it would consider the three projects if no university funding were involved. Fat chance!

This decision is counter-productive in terms of the government’s own values because it believes in job creation and university-college partnerships have proven to be effective in ensuring that university graduates have skills that make them readily employable. And it is counter-productive because these partnerships are all located in the rapidly-growing suburbs, enabling people to study close to their homes rather than trekking downtown or leaving home. This decision shows that the Ford Government doesn’t care a lot about the future of Ontario’s young people. Why can’t they just emulate our premier, who went to work for daddy after he dropped out?

I wondered which party represents these areas. It turns out that there are 3 NDP MLAs (Sara Singh, Gurratan Singh, Kevin Yarde) and two Conservatives (Prabmeet Sarkaria and Amarjot Sandhu) in Brampton, three Conservatives (Paul Calandra, Logan Kanapathi, Billy Pang) in Markham, and a Conservative in Milton (Parm Gill). My guess is that caucus wasn’t consulted before this decision was made. Obviously the three NDP MLAs will oppose the cuts. Very likely the 6 Conservatives will act like political eunuchs, saying nothing. I hope their constituents remember their MLA’s silence and unwillingness to stand up for them when there is an election four years from now.

This is the Ford Government’s first assault on our system of post-secondary education. What’s next?

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