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What Canadians want

November 28, 2008
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CAUT and the CFS commission regular Decima polls about Canadian’s attitudes towards various issues to do with post-secondary education. I am sitting here in CAUT Council hearing about the most recent one, and madly Googling to see if the data, or a synopsis, have been published online. Apparently not, so I am loathe to provide too many details here, particularly as that would involve relying on my chicken-scratch notes. But a couple of things came across clearly: based on the latest poll, the majority of Canadians i) are comfortable with running a deficit in order to protect social programmes; ii) are looking for direct government investment in infrastructure, including post-secondary education; iii) feel that the cost of education is a priority (including a “surprising” number of people who would support the elimination of tuition); and iv) feel, 68% of us, that education is a right, not a privilege.

New Brunswickers may be interested to know that the majority feel that conditions should be attached to federal transfer payments — in other words that the provinces should not have free range — and that those in the Atlantic provinces feel so to an even greater extent than the national average.

Now this is only a suspicion, mind, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the respondents from New Brunswick really skewed that one.

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