Tim Hudak is most decidedly not a progressive politician.
But while the poorly introduced Million Jobs Plan seems to have publicly flopped, many have overlooked the more intricate details of the Progressive Conservative platform.
Hudak's idea to axe 100,000 public sector positions has worried most Ontarians primarily due to a puzzling lack of information, but the information that is readily available should be just as concerning. Many esteemed political scientists and economists are finding great flaws in Hudak's plans, and while these errors may not come as a surprise to some, I have calculated exactly how Premier Tim Hudak would directly affect all undergraduate students in Ontario (myself included).
First, it should be said that the Ontario Progressive Conservatives Party's name is its own twisted type of false advertising. The word "progressive" denotes progress; moving forward, advancing and so on.
However, as an undergraduate student, these policies would not be any shade of "progressive" for me. In fact, were Hudak's policies implemented, the amount of tuition that I have to pay would increase by at least 30 per cent due to Hudak's proposed elimination of the current post-secondary grant. My tuition is approximately $6500 per year, but with the current grant, I end up footing a bill of only about $4700. Multiplied by a period of four years, I am paying $18,800 to get my bachelor's degree.
If the grant that I receive were to end, I would be on the hook for $26,000 once I earn my degree -- all for the same education. This equation does not take into account the rising tuition costs each year due to inflation, nor does it factor in the interest rates that I would be paying at the end of my four years if I took out a government-funded loan. Under Tim Hudak, the personal cost of my education will go up by at least 30 per cent, and while that may sound like a small number to some, that effectively makes it 30 per cent more difficult for me to finance my own education.
Under Tim Hudak, it seems that post-secondary education -- and indeed, university education in particular -- would return to being something for only the upper echelons of society. Many of both the middle classes and working classes would be unable to justify going into debt to pay $7200 more for this education, and the difficulty would be even greater to justify if the $26,000 figure was left sitting post-graduation, being infested with interest rates that in no way allow financially-challenged students to catch up with their payments.
Of course, students are not typically known for a large voter turnout, and the Conservatives are well aware of this, but when the stakes for us are this high, one has to hope that the electoral attendance in the 18-24 age group will be greater than ever.
In any case, such a complete disregard for the lower classes' post-secondary education is alarming, and taking these steps backwards is comparable to walking into the nearest DeLorean and being sent back centuries to a time when higher education was meant solely for the higher classes. In other words, for myself and the other hundreds of thousands of undergraduate students in Ontario, Tim Hudak represents not progress, but rather, a complete reversal thereof.
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