'As permanent as you can get': Ford addresses funding cut for post-secondary campuses
The funding cuts for three university satellite campuses announced by the province last week are “as permanent as you can get,” according to Premier Doug Ford, who spoke about the projects for the first time since they were cancelled.
The provincial government nixed $305 million in funding that would have seen university and college campuses built in Markham, Milton and Brampton.
When asked whether the government would reconsider the decision, Ford said while “nothing is carved in stone” there are no plans for the province to financially back the projects “as of right now.”
Last Tuesday, Merrilee Fullerton, the minister of training, colleges and universities, explained the province was cancelling the funding because of a $15 billion deficit.
“Our government is being forced to clean up the irresponsible and reckless financial decisions of the previous Liberal government,” Fullerton said at the time.
The funding would have benefited York University and Seneca College, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College, and Ryerson University and Sheridan College.
Today, The NDP attempted to restore the funding with a motion presented in the Ontario Legislature. The NDP cited jobs, economic benefit for the communities, and the financial investment by the post-secondary institutions as reasons to finance the projects.
The motion failed to get support from the Progressive Conservative government, which NDP leader Andrea Horwath called “disappointing.”
“Rather than doing the right thing, admitting their mistake and voting with us to get back to building campuses in these communities, the Ford Conservatives voted against bringing colleges and universities to the GTA.” Horwath said in a statement.
The premier, however, seemed to leave the door open to future funding, once the government has grappled with its deficit and debt.
“Is there opportunities in the future when we start paying our deficit down? There may be possibilities.”
In the meantime, all three universities say they are looking for other ways to build the campuses, which would bring more than 8,000 post-secondary spaces to the 905.
-With files from The Canadian Press