Alanna Makinson is VP External, University of Manitoba Students Union. Following the June 13, 2009 Winnipeg Walk for Peace, she spoke on the negative impact of the war in Afghanistan and increased military spending on post-secondary education in Canada.
Makinson says that Canada is the fifth most expensive country in which to obtain a post secondary education. Inadequate public funding, rising tuition and increasing living costs are deterring working class, poor and aboriginal people from pursuing post-secondary education.
The cumulative education debt currently born by students and graduates is a staggering $13 billion. At the same time, governments are saying there is no money to relieve this burden.
“How,” asks Makinson, “does Canada justify spending $18.9 billion on the military last year alone?” She says that the federal government’s plan to increase military spending by $12 billion over the next five years is evidence of a misplaced priority. “One year of military spending,” says Makinson,” could eliminate all student debt in Canada.”
Makinson condemned increases in military research at the expense of funding for science and humanities research and term this trend a threat to human rights and academic freedom.