Cart before the horse?

When Premier Gordon Campbell rolled out his Children's Education Credit program on November 4, some wags wondered just how much preparation had gone into that announcement. Under the program, "$1,000 will be put in trust for every newborn in B.C. for when they are ready for post-secondary education." But when asked about the eventual value of each trust account, the premier told reporters at the biennial convention in Penticton "I couldn't tell you today how much it will grow. It depends on the assumptions you make in the long-term for the future" - although he reportedly gave an estimate of $2,000.

That doesn't seem like the kind of response you'd expect if the government had done a detailed analysis of the program. So Public Eye filed a freedom of information request asking for any documents or correspondence written by senior advanced education bureaucrats between October 23 and November 13 referencing the children's education credit. And today we received a reply: "staff did not locate any responsive records."

That suggests there was no analysis by those civil servants. When we put that observation to the minister responsible Murray Coell, he said "I think the announcement is something that the premier made. He gets to delegate, being the premier, who gets to develop the program - which he asked me to do and I'm delighted to do" - with that work being done "during the spring session" and applied retroactively. The following is an edited copy of the aforementioned freedom of information request response.

***

November 24, 2006

Dear Sean Holman:

I am replying to your November 13, 2006 access request to the Ministry of Advanced Education (AVED) under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act). You request access to "...any and all correspondence (emails, etc.) or documents from/to/forwarded to/copied to Moura Quayle or her assistant deputies referencing this program/initiative (the Children's Education Credit of $1000 announced by Premier Gordon Campbell on November 4) between October 23 and November 13".

AVED staff conducted searches for responsive records in the Deputy Minister's office, the Assistant Deputy Ministers' offices as well as in programs of the Post Secondary Education Division, the Students and Learning Division and the Research, Technology and Innovation Division. Staff did not locate any responsive records.

If ou have any questions about this response to your access request, please write or call me. If you required further assistance, you may also contact the Acting Director, Allan Carlson.

Under section 52 (Right to ask for a review) of the Act, you may ask the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) to review the Ministry's response to your request. You have 30 days upon receipt of this notice to request a review by writing to:

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
PO Box n9038 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9A4
Telephone: 250-387-5629 Facsimile: 250-387-1696
Website: www.oipc.bc.ca

If you wishto request a review by the OIPC, please provide their office with:
* a copy of your original request;
* a copy of this decision letter; and
* a written request, specifying the reasons for a review.

Sincerely yours,

Mark Grady for
Privacy and Records Management Branch

If you wish to request a review by

17 Comments

If the government invested the money at a rate that matched inflation, 18 year olds in 2025 would have the equivalent of ... wait for it ... $1,000 - or about what your books cost in first year. But textbooks seem to go up faster than general inflation, don't they? A real gouge.

I think research shows that if you want people to get a post-secondary education tomorrow, you should make sure their parents can get one today. I also think $1,000 is about half the increase in annual tuition most B.C. university students have experinced on this government's watch

...and to get their parents a post-secondary education today time might be spent focussing on what can be done to offset the crushing debt they will be expected to assume once they leave school. Other countries have figured that out. Maybe the Premier needs to mount another tour of foreign capitals to research it. Maybe next Spring when the House is back in session.

Gordo woke up and had another vision. No planning required, it might make him look good. simple as that. Thanks for checking on the issue. I always thought ministers got the word and worked on things and evenutally the premier and the minister made announcments. Not Gordo he dreams em up and they deliver or else

Good suggestions, but they both require you to think. $1,000 per person sounds nice, is simple, and to someone who can barely make ends meet may be enough to make them believe that Gordo is a nice guy (for a few days at least).

tuiton freeze, those wonderfull words of 7 years during NDP RULE,it was great for students ,, more beer money, less kd.
we all seen the results, as our higher learning chapels also froze,,,,,,,,,, we fell behind most canadian university,s and colleges,not to mention the states.
when you reicieve your diploma, is it 2nd tier or will it lead yourself to prosperity?
if we want the best people we have to offer the best choices and that,s not cheap, it,s reality.

1000 dollars,, avote grabber, yes ,but atleast were not freezing.
glenn,,,,,,,,,,,

The reality behind this is: 18 years from, if anyone even remotely remembers this promise, a student will ask for their money. No money will have been set aside. If the program is still in place (doubtful), the government will agree to contribute some amount for the person's tuition. And since we the public fund universities anyways, we'll just be paying what we would already have paid. Result: a complete shell game done to try and give Campbell some PR.

Don't forget that the $1,000 is only for kids born after the announcement. So all of us hundreds of thousands of BC parents with kids aged 1 - 18 will be paying taxes to maybe benefit someone else's kids in some distant future, while our kids are left out in the cold.

In fact, my kid is now facing another cut in his special ed support levels next week, and we've already been warned to expect a total cut when he transitions to high school in Vancouver next year. So there's a good chance we'll need to go into debt to pay for private school if we want him to have any hope of making it as far as post-secondary, thanks to the geniuses in Victoria!

The FOI request by Holman sort of explained things. Gordo spoke but didn't bother to mention this thing to anyone. Voice of BC was discussing it last night. All three folks had a hard time trying to keep straight faces. When the taxpayers federation and a sort of left of center guy and Palmer all were shaking their heads and trying not to giggle too much. so much for the thousand bucks 18 or so years from now. Smythe did some digging in the Province today. The thing isn't for kids being born now. They have to be born in BC. Their parents might well arrive next week and pay taxes for all those years and the student is denied. Even stranger, if the child leaves BC and never comes back, she or he might still qualify. Asking the Minister( Murray Cole) such questions has him talking in circles. I guess nobody thought to tell Murray what was happening. Bill Vanderzam used to do that quite often. The taxpayer federation woman indicated that Bill set policy on the back of a envelope now and again. Campbell didn't even use a piece of paper to spring this deal

It sounds like 'glenn' is one of the university or college administrators who didn't like the tuition freeze because it crimped their style and limited their discretionary authority. And administrator don't like political parties that are linked to organized labour in any event.

Perhaps if our universities were not involved in running hotels and restaurants, real estate development, and trying to operate as business incubators then they might actually have some time and money left over to provide an education.

oh ,,,budd your such a windbag ,i,m old school too, but there is only one way to describe dogfucking,, your pals do it and the restof us wipe it up,, socialism for beginners,,,,
tell me something i don,t no,,,,,,,,,,,

lets get real budd,, when the ndp was in power the province was in the deep freeze,,

eg;ndp investment,, no confidence,, everyone freaked, sure we can run on our own engines but there is no growth, stagnant nothing,,,we all no,,,,,,,,,,budd
i,m a socialist con, and i love smoking the bud
glenn

Happy Holidays to nic and glenn. Are you guys the creation of A G Tsakumis or Kevin Larsen by any chance?

I thought these comments had to get the moderator's OK before they're published. glenn's and nic's are disgusting.

$1000 at 8 % for 18 years could push $3800. Throw the money into a personal RESP so the province can't screw around with it (and the feds should kick in $200).

Prorate that $1000 - $3800, or some other fair top amount, from 0 - 18 years so every kid's paid and treated more equally and you have a plan.

as for pie in the sky[ oh well poor baby, everyone be nice now] and as for j 3800 looks pretty good, much better than apoke in the eye, eh.
glenn

Anyone else find it amusing that both nic and glenn, who posted right after each other and have the same general attitude and level of spelling also use commas as periods,,,,,,,,?

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