Top News

LETTER: MUN, merchants and politicians

Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's Campus.
Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's Campus. - Kenn Oliver

Merchants become politicians so they can enact policies that benefit the Merchant class. They let taxpayers pay for them. Taxpayers take all the risk. Newfoundland and Labrador got Muskrat Falls because of it.

Take the issue of tuition at Memorial University.

It has been proposed that there be a sharp increase in tuition for undergraduate students from Newfoundland and Labrador. Since government controls MUN, this is a government initiative.

By withholding funding, it has given MUN the excuse it needs to increase tuition and other fees.

This is staged. Students are just pawns in a government game.

Tuition for graduate students would not increase.

This is not surprising, since MUN is presently fixated on growth. That is the mandate given to it by government. It brings new workers and consumers to Newfoundland and Labrador. That is the driving force behind it. Government wants MUN to be an immigration clearing house.

Graduate students at MUN are given fellowships by MUN that are much more than their tuition. So, in many respects, they already got free tuition, paid for by the taxpayers of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Presently, MUN is overstaffed and poorly managed. Its growth mandate is the source of its budget problem. A 10 per cent cut in the number of professors (or a 10 per cent cut in their salaries) would solve this problem. A 10 per cent salary infrastructure renewal fee for professors would also solve it.

Each is justified but neither will happen.

K12 education is funded fully by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. The goal is to give everyone in the province a basic education so they can contribute to the well-being of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The best who come out of K12 have the potential to contribute much more. Yet they are loaded down with debt.

The cost to provide free tuition for four years to 1,500 of the best coming out of K12 each year is around $10 million annually. This is less than one per cent of the total Newfoundland and Labrador education budget. It would be a good investment in the future of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic candidate for president of the United States, recently proposed making university education free there.

Countries like Bangladesh and China already have this. The merchants of Newfoundland and Labrador would never support this here. To them, MUN is just another way to exploit the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Our best leaders did not come from the merchant class. Joey Smallwood was a newspaper reporter and a radio announcer.

In many ways, Joey was a scholar. Brian Peckford and Roger Grimes were both teachers before they entered politics.

We need someone like them running Newfoundland and Labrador again. We cannot afford any more merchant governments.

Mike Hinchey

St. John’s

Related story:

RUSSELL WANGERSKY: Starving higher education

Recent Stories