Last updated: April 29, 2011 5:08 pm
CFS releases party report cards
Liberals, NDP scored well, while Conservatives failed
WATERLOO, Ont. (CUP) — The Canadian Federation of Students have released their 2011 Political Party Report Card, grading three federal parties on their post-secondary education platforms ahead of the May 2 election.
Each party was graded using six different criteria including research and innovation, aboriginal post-secondary education, student debt and national vision, and funding of post-secondary education.
“Out of the priorities we had our researchers, our national executives look through the platforms of the political parties and also their responses from detailed questionnaires,” said David Molenhuis, national chairperson for the CFS.
The questionnaires were returned by all parties except the Conservative Party of Canada and evaluated to identify whether or not they met priorities identified as important to students.
Receiving a failing grade, the Conservative Party “did by far the poorest by virtue of the very minimalist approach they’ve taken in addressing student priorities in their platform,” said Molenhuis.
Despite this, the Conservatives did score well on their infrastructure commitments, though they failed to adequately address issues regarding aboriginal learners and student debt.
The Liberal Party of Canada received a B grade, receiving full marks for their aboriginal education program as well as their student debt program. The NDP scored 12 out of 13 points, with what Molenhuis described as a platform “most reflective of the priorities identified by students.” It included increasing grants, a framework for addressing the needs of aboriginal students and money allotted to lower tuition.
Both the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party did not receive report card grades. The Green Party platform had “contradictory information especially around research and innovation, so it seemed impossible to assign a grade,” said Molenhuis.
The Bloc “showed some opposition to responsibilities of the federal government in addressing the needs of students” and because of their political opposition, they received an “incomplete” mark.
Molenhuis explained the report card is an important tool in creating awareness about issues that are important to students, particularly during an election where such low voter turnout is expected. Concerning what he hopes students take away from the results as they go to the polls on Monday, Molenhuis’ main message was of long-term political participation by students.
“I want [students] to take away a greater sense of the issues and take ownership over the issues and understand to a greater extent what the political parties are saying about our issues,” he said. “And when they hit the polls, take ownership over the political process and to a greater extent and get involved after the election.”