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Free Abortion Pills, Working for Greater Gender Equity, and More in Ontario budget
The National Post reported that the “governing Liberals” of Ontario are investing in education, expanded social programs, health care, and pilot projects. Charles Sousa, finance minister, said the financial books are balanced and permits Ontario to invest in drug coverage, health care, and new schools.

Patrick Brown, progressive conservative leader, made the accusation that the Liberals actually have a deficit of about $5 billion. Some benefits from the 2017 Ontario budget include free abortion pills and 4,400 prescription drugs covered for kids under 24.

Other benefits include helping the libraries become digitized, a tax credit for seniors’ transit, improved dementia care, increased cost of cigarettes, work towards greater gender equity in the board room, and cutting food waste, among many others.

Ontario Student Assistance Program overhaul
CBC News stated, “Recent graduates can now wait until they earn $35,000 a year before they begin to repay the provincial portion of their student loans, a tweak to last year’s surprise budget highlight that overhauled the Ontario Student Assistance Program.”

The minimum income needed before was $25,000. This change will take place in September, 2017. It is applicable to graduates of spring/fall. With students having a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), the RESP will not affect their financial assistance.

The mean tuition for a university student in Ontario is $6,540 for the 2017–18 school year. College students pay $2,940 on average. $190 million will “create development opportunities” over 3 years. These will be for all academic levels of students.

A Way Home: Working Together to End Youth Homelessness
“Adam Vaughan, Member of Parliament for Spadina?Fort York, today announced a $7.9 million investment to A Way Home: Working Together to End Youth Homelessness.” Canadian News Wire’s printed release said. “Mr. Vaughan made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.”

1,300 youth and families will take part in the initiative. It will be coordinated through a partnership of community partners, the provinces of Alberta and Ontario, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness at York University, A Way Home: Working Together to End Youth Homelessness, and the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing.

It is an attempt to “dramatically improve” the situation of youth homelessness with social innovation. The aim is to increase employment and educational success through prevention of youth becoming homeless. The Government of Canada will spend about $8 million in funding for this project.

St. Francis Xavier University gets $35 million in federal-provincial funding
According to the Montreal Gazette, investments in culture and education infrastructure can assist in making the nation prosperous. It promotes collaboration and innovation. It also inspires people to know the world.

Dr. Kent MacDonald, President of St. Francis Xavier University, and others, including some ministers, announced about $35 million federal-provincial funding for 3 centres of education. These will be on the St. Francis Xavier University campus.

“This federal and provincial funding is truly transformational and will further enhance the academic environment for the exceptional faculty, staff and students of StFX University,” MacDonald said, “This investment allows StFX University to create an educational hub that aligns innovative health and liberal education programming with our one-of-a-kind Institute of Government.”

Recognition of Jeanette Christine Armstrong, and her Work for First Nations Education
“If anyone is deserving of the scholarly term ’autochthonous’ (something springing from the very ground where it is found), it’s this wise Okanagan elder, knowledge-keeper, writer, teacher, visual artist and activist for indigenous people’s rights,” The Province stated.

That Okanagan elder is Jeannette Christine Armstrong. The Province says she is a voice of conscience for her First Nation as well as British Columbia, Canada, and aboriginal peoples generally. Born in 1948, on the Penticton Indian Reserve, she knows both English and Okanagan languages.

She grew up knowing the Canadian provincial and federal institutions worked to force assimilation of the First Nations. The work was done through efforts of taking apart belief systems, ceremonies, language, and traditional economies. Armstrong earned the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

Sheridan College Students Campaigning for Education of Indigenous Communities’ Treatment
At Sheridan College’s Davis campus, a group of students is campaigning for the education of fellow students about the treatment of Indigenous communities on reserves. The student group targeted the Canada 150 celebrations.

Funding from the “massive budget” for Canada 150 could help child welfare and education within First Nations communities, was one critique from the student group, The Brampton Guardian said. Postcards, signed by almost 200 participants, at an April 17 event called Pass on the Cake were reported to be on route to the local MP.

Abigail Salole, Sheridan instructor, said Pass on the Cake was in response to “doublespeak” around amends. “On one hand, the Canadian government is saying that it’s really important for us to make reconciliation with indigenous people,” Salole said, “but also not spending any money on those social problems ? they’re finding so much money to celebrate Confederation.”

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is AUSU’s VPFA. He works with various organizations, and runs In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, and In-Sight Publishing.

Originally published at www.voicemagazine.org on May 5, 2017.

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Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen supports science and human rights.

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