Free tuition isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: McDonell

Free tuition isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: McDonell
Tory incumbent Jim McDonell speaks at a media event Friday

CORNWALL, Ontario – The jubilation created this week concerning the provincial government’s decision to cover tuition costs for low-income families could be short-lived, said local MPP Jim McDonell.

McDonell, a Progressive-Conservative, said the Liberal budgetary promise is likely to only cover about 30 per cent of the students it purports to help…if that.

“Our studies show less than 30 per cent of families will benefit from this,” he said. “They won’t fit the criteria is the main reason.”

The Kathleen Wynne government said in the budget on Thursday that most college students whose family income is less than $50,000 a year will receive grants large enough to cover their whole tuition.

The move was lauded by students’ groups and post-secondary educators.

McDonell took aim at added costs for seniors who will have to pay 70 per cent more for their drug plan deductible and the cost of filling prescriptions will rise by $1 across the board.

“This budget attempts to balance the books on the back of Ontarians,” McDonell said. “The Liberals are cancelling the Education Tax Credit and they won’t implement the promised Tuition Grant until 2017-2018, the full amount of which 70 per cent of students won’t qualify for anyway.

“Taxes are rising on alcohol, tobacco, home heating fuel, gasoline and other goods. The cap-and-trade carbon tax will impose new costs on families which can already ill afford them, including the most vulnerable. Vehicle registration fees and other fee revenue is projected to increase – meaning we’ll pay more to access services we’ve built with our tax dollars.”

McDonell said local constituents wanted to see Queen’s Park focus on augmenting health services. Instead, he said, costs are going up.

“During the local pre-budget consultations held in Cornwall and Morrisburg, residents and businesses said clearly they wanted to see a focus on delivering more front-line health services, reducing the cost of living by reducing energy costs and trimming taxes and waste at all levels of government,” he said. “The budget addresses none of these concerns.”

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