It is announcement time, you know the period of time before an election, when announcements of major projects are made, such as new hospitals, highway bridges, and overpasses.
No real money is involved, only a hope that the incoming government will actually come up with some of your money, should they be elected.
One example is the announcement, spending millions to replace the vocational wing of the college, getting rid of the daycare centre in the process.
So what would a new mechanical shop look like? A concrete floor, cement block walls and some overhead doors, the kind of structure that lasts centuries but wait – that is the description of the old building.
Meanwhile, the Liberal government has been starving the college for years, resulting in layoffs of a number of academic instructors to the extent that it is next to impossible to receive first and second year transferable university courses.
The college administration now believes that the answer to the shortfall is to send a recruiter to China for Chinese students, I sincerely hope that enough can be recruited to at least pay for the expense of this venture.
There are strong indications that what is happening is that the government is on a road to revert the college back to a vocational school as it was under the W.A.C. Bennett government years ago.
This government is not interested in education for working class people, only the elite, because an educated person may start to question the same government.
I believe that this has everything to do with the premier’s LNG fantasy, training all these people to build plants and pipelines. The reality is that if such a plant should actually be built, it will be done in Asia, transported on a barge and the pipeline will be manned by Albertans with a lifetime of experience.
If this sounds like I am against vocational training, let me assure you that as a journeyman who spent most of my life promoting and training apprentices, I am fully in favour of training people.
But the fact is that not everyone desires to or is capable of being a heavy duty mechanic and the college mandate is clear, to deliver needed education to the northwest.
What about the budget shortfall? When I was an instructor at the college in the late seventies and eighties there were 11 administrators, today the number of instructors and students are approximately the same, but the administrators number have reached 25.
These positions cost $100,000 or more a year and to reduce them by say 50 per cent would go a long way to eliminate the deficits.
How about the Terrace-Prince Rupert CN (now American) railroad overpass?
I for one am OK with slowing down to 40km for 20 seconds on my trip to Prince Rupert, especially if the tens of millions of dollars would be spent on housing and other necessities for the needy.
This government understands that the 11 LNG plants’ mirage can not win another election and so is therefore switching to smoke and mirror strategies.