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PRESIDENT’S PAGE Nick Shorten VP (Finance)

Mary Koziol President

Joe Finkle VP (Education)

John McIntyre VP (Administration)

ELECTION DAY - WHAT STUDENTS SHOULD LOOK FOR IN FEDERAL CANDIDATES Education may not be the central feature of the upcoming May federal election, but the results will undoubtedly affect the post-secondary student experience Joe Finkle VP (Education) vped@msu.mcmaster.ca ext. 24017

There will be a federal election held on Monday, May 2nd. While not strictly dedicated to educational issues, the federal government is still connected to postsecondary education (PSE) in many ways. Below are some facts and figures that all

federal candidates need to know, as well as campaign promises that the McMaster Students Union would like to hear. Please consult www.msumcmaster.ca/ federalelection for updates on the campaign from the MSU. There is a tentative AllCandidates Debate scheduled for April 18th at 6 pm on campus. More details about the debate and the election as a whole will be available via the MSU homepage, as well as at www.msumcmaster.ca/federalelection.

Important facts: • Average tuition costs $5,138 in Canada, up 17% in the last four years • 58% of students graduate with debt, the average being $26,680 • There are 1,112,300 university students in Canada • Over 77% of new jobs will require post-secondary education

Key features to look for when voting for a federal party as a student in the post-secondary system • Further increases in the amount students can earn before it is clawed back to $200 a week. This would allow students to earn more money while attaining their degree. And would ensure students could continue to afford basic living expenses such as food, rent and bills.

• Establishment of a dedicated transfer to provinces for post-secondary education for $4.5 billion a year. Providing dedicated funding to the provinces within postsecondary education will help lower tuition, maintain buildings and facilities and help new construction to ensure the quality of education remains high.

• Removal of parental contributions from the Canada Student Loan Program. Removing the assumed parental contribution will allow a student who receives littleto-no funding from their parents, to qualify for greater amounts of assistance.

• Greater funding to increase access for Indigenous students. More funding is needed to eliminate the financial, motivational and generational barriers that inhibit student participation in post-secondary education.

• Creation of visa exceptions for international students to work with greater ease off-campus. The federal government must make it simpler for international students to work off-campus, so that they may afford their education and basic living expenses.

• Funding for Hamilton LRT. The benefits of such a transit system are greatly needed both for the city and students living in Hamilton. It is imperative that the federal government commit funding in order to ensure its completion.

• Creation of visa exception to allow for multiple entries for international students. These changes are needed to allow international students to return home and subsequently re-enter Canada.

• Change federal education tax credits to up-front grants for students. Every year, the federal government provides millions of dollars in educational tax credits to students and their families. However, on average, higher income students benefit from much more from these credits, rather than middle and lower income students. By transforming the tax credits into up-front grants, the government will be supporting those students who need it most as opposed to providing a break for those students who are less in need of the funds.

• Development of a Pan-Canadian Accord for post-secondary education. A national accord is needed to ensure post-secondary education in Canada is moving in the same, progressive direction.

A fond farewell from the outgoing MSU President Exciting changes on the horizon implemented by incoming leader will make for a smooth transition Mary Koziol President president@msu.mcmaster.ca ext. 23885

With the final Silhouette of the year comes the final President’s Page as well. Our term as Board of Directors comes to an end on April 30th. It is difficult to believe that 11 months have come and gone so quickly, but for me, they have been some of the most challenging, rewarding and exciting months of my life. At times, this job can be draining, but it was always the passion of students that revitalized me, motivated me and propelled me into action.

One of my overarching goals when approaching my presidency was coming forward with well-researched goals that I could deliver within a one-year timeframe. Claims of youth apathy are abundant and I wanted students to feel that they could at least trust in their student government – that voting and general engagement with our political processes is vitally important and can provide benefits both personally and for the larger demographic. I hope that you feel that I have followed through on this goal. Through the newly introduced Mac Farmstand and other sustainability initiatives, the revamped website set to fully launch for

September, increased communication and use of social media, and a commitment to continuity and strategic planning captured in the State of the Union 2010/2011, available on our website. Thank you to those who took the time to communicate with myself and the Board, whether through surveys, email or personal communication. Your concerns are what power the engine of the MSU, and without continual student feedback, our work loses its momentum and relevance. If you, unlike me, will be returning to your studies this coming Fall, you can trust me when I say you are in good

the McMaster Students Union is

hands. Incoming President Matt DillonLeitch has already begun to work on his promises to students, ensuring that both Mills 2nd floor and Thode library will be open 24 hours a day during exam period. I implore you to hold Dillon-Leitch to the same standards (and higher) that you have held me, and I am confident you will not be disappointed – students deserve to have your best interests represented wholly. I am confident that next year will be a huge success. Thank you for affording me the privilege of serving on behalf of McMaster University students in this past year. It is an honour for which I will be eternally grateful.

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The President’s Page is sponsored by the McMaster Students Union. It is a space used to communicate with the student body about the projects, goals and agenda of the MSU Board of Directors.

www.msu.mcmaster.ca

March 31st, 2011  

March 31st, 2011 issue of The Sil