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Candidate clueless? PC says universities and colleges should be privatized

By Andre Mayer

Dealing with the future of post-secondary education after massive funding cuts is just a matter of memorizing the Progressive Conservative party’s “standard rhetoric,” says candidate Joel Ginsberg.

“The Ontario government haven’t been doing their jobs. They haven’t been giving education its fair shake,” says Ginsberg, who ran for alderman in North York in 1983 and City Council in Vaughan in 1991. Before the cuts to federal transfer payments, Ontario ranked eighth in Canada in university spending on a per-student basis.

“I would like to hold tuition fees as low as possible,” Ginsberg says, though he was neither able to provide a guarantee nor a comprehensive strategy on how to maintain low fees. Ginsberg admitted his responses to education questions were vague, saying he was unprepared because he didn’t do his “homework”.

He says Ontario’s post-secondary education system is one of the best in the world, but he feels there are areas where cuts should be made.

“There’s a lot of dead wood that has to be cut out,” he says, referring to tenure for university profs. Tenure is a guarantee of secure employment for professors aimed at protecting their freedom of expression.

Professors with tenure “are just a lot of oldies writing papers, not doing much,” Ginsberg says. “Money (spent on tenured professors) could be taken and given to students.”

Ginsberg wants to see universities and colleges privatized.

“I think independent business can do anything better than government,” he says. “But government would still have to set the curriculum.”

The province may deregulate tuition to compensate for decreased federal funding, allowing institutions to set their own fees.

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