Regina profs condemn free tuition program for children of dead soldiers

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Unionist
Regina profs condemn free tuition program for children of dead soldiers

Bravo!

Unionist

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2010/03/24/sk-scholarship-10... profs pan free tuition for soldiers' kids[/url]

Quote:

More than 80 universities and colleges in Canada have committed to the project, which pays for four years of tuition, plus $1,000 for books.

U of R president Vianne Timmons announced two weeks ago the university would provide the scholarship, but that has led to a campus controversy.

Sixteen professors have signed a letter to Timmons stating the program glorifies military action and they don't want their school to be part of it.

Among those with concerns is Jeffrey Webber, who teaches political science and who says the name of the program celebrates military intervention abroad.

"We think this is a glorification of the Afghan effort," he said.

Webber said it's not that they are against helping the children of the Canadian military.

"Why stop at the question of dependents of Canadian Forces personnel? There's all kinds of people who are killed in workplace accidents," he said.

As an alternative to the program, the group says there should be universal access to post-secondary education.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

If you are killed in a workplace accident in Saskatchewan, your dependents' education IS paid for.  Post-secondary tuition fees and books, plus a living allowance, up to the age of 24.

Not that I don't think university should be universally accessible, but their argument is flawed.  Should have done some homework. 

Unionist

Thanks for that information, Timebandit. That would mean that soldiers' families don't benefit from Workers' Comp or its equivalent? If that's so, it's quite scandalous, though it wouldn't surprise me. One would think that that should be the goal, rather than relying on the charity of various post-secondary institutions, and turning it into "Project Hero" rather than just the simple right of all workers and their families in the event of workplace injury or death.

 

Caissa

I don't believe soldiers are covered by Workers' Comp. Could you imagine what the risk premium would be when deployed overseas let alone the routine risk?

Unionist

Caissa wrote:

I don't believe soldiers are covered by Workers' Comp. Could you imagine what the risk premium would be when deployed overseas let alone the routine risk?

Well Caissa, what are you saying - that injured and killed soldiers and their families don't get indemnified to the same level as working folks?

Very large employers don't typically pay WCB premiums. They use workers' comp on a sort of "ASO" basis ("administrative services only"), whereby they are billed directly for the full amount of the benefit paid to the worker, plus an admin charge that could range up to around 20% (I believe - I'm not a large employer!).

Obviously, injured soldiers and their families must receive something equivalent to WCB, whether it goes through that program or directly through some DND program. So, why would Saskatchewan WCB be more generous with deceased soldiers' kids' education than DND is - and why should that be left to the individual charitable whim of different colleges and universities?

I think we need more info here, perhaps from some of our resident current or ex Forces members.

Doug

I can't really get worked up over anyone getting a scholarship. It's just unfortunate that more students can't get one.

Unionist

Doug wrote:

I can't really get worked up over anyone getting a scholarship. It's just unfortunate that more students can't get one.

I think the profs are saying two things, and it's not different from what you said:

1. If the basis for the scholarship is that your primary breadwinner parent was killed on the job, why single out soldiers and why glorify the Afghan mission?

2. Why not give everyone a scholarship?

Having said that, we still need factual clarification about why DND apparently (at least on this front) treats soldiers worse than Saskatchewan treats all workers.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Unionist wrote:

Thanks for that information, Timebandit. That would mean that soldiers' families don't benefit from Workers' Comp or its equivalent? If that's so, it's quite scandalous, though it wouldn't surprise me. One would think that that should be the goal, rather than relying on the charity of various post-secondary institutions, and turning it into "Project Hero" rather than just the simple right of all workers and their families in the event of workplace injury or death.

 

IIRC, civilian Workers at DOD are covered, but military members are not.  Also, we're talking about people injured overseas, which is somewhat more complicated.  WCBs are provincial - if you work outside your home province and are injured, there is some back and forth over which board to put your claim in.  Also, there are some industries that are mandatory to pay into WCB and others it isn't.  I've never heard of large companies not having to pay in, but I worked with the claims, not the revenue and employer accounts.

Anyway.  I don't know what benefits the federal gov't provides for families of soldiers who die in conflict.  I do know, however, that Sask WCB provides post-secondary education for the dependents in the case of fatality claims, and I think there are provisions in the other provincial boards for the same thing, but the extent of that coverage will vary.

ETA:  Actors, stunt men and circus performers aren't eligible for WCB, either.  Too risky.

IanM

http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/cen/pub/ddb-pdi/sbcdrf-spcdfr-eng.asp

Is the link for Death and Disability Benefits of the Canadian Forces..

There is also a booklet that is put out every so often and distributed, its more like a novel really. I have my old copy from 2005 if there is any particular questions.

As for WCB. CF members are not covered under WCB, the government assumes the cost of any sort of compensation as well as care. Its the same as vehicles for the government not carrying insurance. They have self assumed insurance. Compensation and or any treatment / care is provided through the Canadian Forces as well as Veterans Affairs. It can get really dicey if you are a reservist, or if you are released. However it tends to provide for any sort of medical expenses. I was injured several times on several different classes of service as a reservist and had really no problems with treatement or care.

The big thing though is they do take workplace safety very, very, very seriously. They also investigate any injuries. I know of a Major who was injured 30 years ago, and only now needs some treatment due to injuries sustained. The military did go back and began an investigation, as well as began to interview people, take statements, ensure the paperwork is correct even after all of that time. (If I recall correctly it was a vehicle accident or something similar....) They do want of course to make sure the injury is due to military service, however the other thing is that they also need to make sure that the incident is documented and added to a morass of statistics, reviews, etc.

 

Unionist

So IanM, if Timebandit is right (and experience tells me that she speaks from knowledge), any idea why the Forces don't look after children of dead soldiers?

 

Gunner188

Support the troops eh? That is as long as you can exploit them, once they're wounded or otherwise unable to fight for you they and their families are on they're own right? School should be free for everyone.

remind remind's picture

whom are you speaking to gunner?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Actually, the death benefits link says that there are grants for education for the dependents of soldiers who are killed on duty.  I don't know if it means full coverage or not, though.  But it does appear that there is a post-secondary education benefit.

I didn't say the Forces don't look after the kids (I really didn't know one way or the other), just that WCB doesn't provide the above benefit for CF members.

swallow

Here is the text of the letter:

Quote:
We write to you as concerned faculty members of the University of Regina, to urge you to withdraw our university immediately from participation in the “Project Hero” scholarship program. This program, which waives tuition and course fees, and provides $1,000 per year to “dependents of Canadian Forces personnel deceased while serving with an active mission”, is a glorification of Canadian imperialism in Afghanistan and elsewhere. We do not want our university associated with the political impulse to unquestioning glorification of military action.

“Project Hero” is the brainchild of Kevin Reed, a 42-year-old honorary lieutenant-colonel of an army reserve unit in southwestern Ontario, who has said publicly he was inspired by the work of retired Canadian General Rick Hillier. General Hillier, one of the most controversial figures in the recent military history of this country, was the first to introduce “Project Hero” at a Canadian post-secondary institution, just after he took up the post as Chancellor of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Since then, a number of other public Canadian universities have come on board.

In our view, support for “Project Hero” represents a dangerous cultural turn. It associates “heroism” with the act of military intervention. It erases the space for critical discussion of military policy and practices.  In signing on to “Project Hero”, the university is implicated in the disturbing construction of the war in Afghanistan by Western military- and state-elites as the “good war” of our epoch. We insist that our university not be connected with the increasing militarization of Canadian society and politics.

The majority of young adults in Canada find it increasingly difficult to pay for their education.  If they do make it to university, they rack up massive student debts which burden them for years. Instead of privileging the children of deceased Canadian soldiers, we suggest that our administration demand all levels of government provide funding sufficient for universal qualified access to post-secondary education.

The University of Regina has always been closely tied to our Saskatchewan community, and the strategic plan, mâmawohkamâtowin, means "co-operation; working together towards common goals". We do not think that “Project Hero” is a common goal chosen by those of us who work in the University; it is not drawn from the values of this institution.  We think it is incompatible with our understanding of the role of public education, or with decisions made by a process of collegial governance.  

In addition to withdrawing from “Project Hero”, we think the issues we raise should be publicly debated.  We are calling on the U of R administration hold a public forum on the war in Afghanistan, and Canadian imperialism more generally, at which the issues we raise can be debated.  This forum should be open to all; it should take place this semester, before exams, as “Project Hero” is set to start at U of R in September 2010.

To summarize, we are calling for:  

(1) The immediate withdrawal of our university from “Project Hero”.
(2) An institutional deployment of public pressure on both orders of government to provide immediate              
               funding sufficient for universal access to post-secondary education.
(3) A public forum on the war in Afghanistan and Canadian imperialism more generally to be held this 
               semester before exams begin.

Unionist

Thanks, swallow. I'll now revert to my post #1:

Bravo!

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Unionist wrote:
So IanM, if Timebandit is right (and experience tells me that she speaks from knowledge), any idea why the Forces don't look after children of dead soldiers?

 

My dad was a WWII veteran and while at college at the end of the 1960s (but not later at university) I received an allowance under what I believe is now called the Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act. Back then I believe it was called the Children of the War Dead Act. Benefits were intended to assist with education in the career of your choice. If you changed careers (as happened in my case) you were not entitled to further benefits.

Jingles

Quote:
School should be free for everyone.

That's just silly hippy talk. This nation can't afford some grand entitlement program so liberals can send their kids to University to learn to hate Canada and Jesus. In these tough economic times, everyone must tighten their belts, and we must understand that we have priorities, like this:

wastet

and this:

 

waste

so we can protect our freedom from evildoers like this:

girl

 

What good is free education for all if we can't have cool fucking tanks and awesome airplanes?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

 And you haven't even mentioned the robots!

Fidel

Boom Boom wrote:

Unionist wrote:
So IanM, if Timebandit is right (and experience tells me that she speaks from knowledge), any idea why the Forces don't look after children of dead soldiers?

 

My dad was a WWII veteran and while at college at the end of the 1960s (but not later at university) I received an allowance under what I believe is now called the Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act. Back then I believe it was called the Children of the War Dead Act. Benefits were intended to assist with education in the career of your choice. If you changed careers (as happened in my case) you were not entitled to further benefits.

I remember a VA agent coming to tell us that post-secondary costs for me would be covered by the feds. That was in 1980 when I was 14. There was no financial help from the feds when I started off in college. Nothing for my mother either, and they made sure that we paid the rest on the mortgage on the VLA home for my mother then, too. The widow down the street had her mortgage paid off, and her husband fought for the other side. And they told me to take out a student loan in the mid 1980's.

I'm glad you got something out of them, Boom Boom.  They were pretty stingy with my mother. Nothing from the Brits for me old ma either, and she worked in the war factories in England in the 40's.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I lived in Ottawa, and my dad was well-known as a military author and archivist after the war.  I had a good, capable, and compassionate case worker at the Department of Veteran's Affairs (DVA) and my college expense was  almost fully paid - it was extremely generous as I recall.  My dad's last two years were at the DVA Hospital in from the corner of Smyth Road and Alta Vista Drive. I think it has a different name today. I thought I was going to be a Journalist, went to Fanshawe College in London for that purpose, but after two years and a diploma later, I went to work for the Department of Manpower and Immigration in Ottawa instead. After five years of that, I went for my Bacherlor's and Master's with the money I saved - because I knew DVA had a policy of providing post-secondary education only for the first career. When I changed careers, I was on my own - which was to be expected, anyway.

ETA: that was at the end of the 1960's, when it was easier to get gov't funding. My boss at M&I (Local Initiatives Program) was also the man who started up Opportunities For Youth - both of which were emergency make-work programs and generously funded by Trudeau's government. Those were the days.Money mouth

Skinny Dipper

Lots of different organizations offer scholarships.

Those damn Kiwanis ruined my life!  They didn't give me a scholarship.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Apples and oranges, methinks. This thread is about children of war dead and military pension educational benefits accruing to them.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Not really.  When I started university, I was eligible to apply for a bursary from the Legion because my grandparents belonged.  Fellow students who did not have grandparents in the Legion were not eligible.  There ar a variety of scholarships and bursaries that have particular eligibility regulations, I don't see this as being much different.

PrivacyRules

If we paid Canadian soldiers a decent living wage, with pension transferable to the other parent in case of serious injury or death, we could do away with this whole issue.

Gunner188

remind wrote:

whom are you speaking to gunner?

 

I was speaking to the thread itself that is to soldiers not being covered by worker's comp. ruleser... sort of. In retrospect what I typed doesn't really have much to do with the thread topic so just blame it on having worked a 12 hour shift the night before and posting without sleep. Sorry about that.

Tommy_Paine

 

I think the profs are wrong, to be honest.    The more different groups that receive a subsidized to free post secondary education, the more the case for universal post secondary education is bolstered.

 

While it seems these profs are of the anti war type, there's nothing to say that some or most could also be the more typical social Darwinist types, who want high tuitions to keep the kids of non professionals out of university and out in the workplace providing the tax base that largely supports all university endeavors.

Unionist

Tommy_Paine wrote:

While it seems these profs are of the anti war type, there's nothing to say that some or most could also be the more typical social Darwinist types, who want high tuitions to keep the kids of non professionals out of university and out in the workplace providing the tax base that largely supports all university endeavors.

With respect, Tommy, you appear not to have read their letter:

Quote:
The majority of young adults in Canada find it increasingly difficult to pay for their education.  If they do make it to university, they rack up massive student debts which burden them for years. Instead of privileging the children of deceased Canadian soldiers, we suggest that our administration demand all levels of government provide funding sufficient for universal qualified access to post-secondary education.

 

Tommy_Paine

Ah, well there you have it.

Unionist

In fact, a new scholarship program targetting dead soldiers' kids presupposes - and entrenches - a system which is based on ability to earn rather than ability to learn. "Project Hero" is offensive from every angle.

 

ACSial

With current funding levels, there could be free tuition, if about 30% of Universities' operating budgets were cut. This could be easy, without affecting the quality of education...or even improving it. I dunno about Regina, but Calgary had a massive porkbarrel building spree on campus, easilly eating up hundreds of millions. You can cut that. Stop unneeded 'upgrades' for things like furniture (done, usually, because somebody on the board knows a vendor). Consolidate departments and shed unnessesary staff. For example, why can't profs photocopy their own materials? Why so many TAs? Universities could easilly trim some of their workforces, saving gobs of money in wages and other costs (pension liability, &c.). Reduce the number of students, by increasing entry requirments--even commie countries do this. (The result is both a higher-valued education and less overall costs.) Cancel foreign student programmes. China won't accept the University of Calgary's degrees, anyhow, over the Dalai Lama thing... Contract out things like maintenance. Hire students, on co-op programmes, to do things like run IT support. Kill university 'research' programmes that are basically subsidies for the private sector. And, finally, hire sessionals instead of tenured profs. The sky-high salaries and benefits of people like Prof. Webber are what's partially behind unaffordable tuition.

 

Sean in Ottawa

ACSial's agenda is getting clearer with each post-- worth looking at the other posts form this person.

Clearly there is an anti foreigner bias-- here is a ridiculous economic argument being made against the foreign student program. Hilarious-- Canadian schools have this program to make money because they charge more than it costs to have them and they use the money to pay for other things.

I am becoming convinced this poster already is aware of this and is just trying to spread misinformation and conflict.

triciamarie

IMO all workers should be brought under the provincial workers' compensation acts. This is crucial for the many workers currently without coverage under any statutory work injury compensation scheme. This includes some industries in which injuries are relatively infrequent, and which are exempted from mandatory coverage only due to their historical effectiveness in manipulating the levers of government, like banks and law offices; and also industries where workers are exposed to a high likelihood of serious injury -- where the elevated risk would simply be reflected in higher premiums for that specific employer rate group (or higher accident costs, for those large employers who pay the Boards on a claim-by-claim basis).

This will also be an important stepping stone towards a single-payer system of disability compensation.

Currently the work injury claims of federal workers posted abroad (ie those confirmed to be "workers" under the federal Act by the agency responsible for that determination) are administered in Ontario. Soldiers, contractors and RCMP are excluded.

Michelle

Can I get some clarification?  So according to Timebandit, all children of people from Saskatchewan who are killed on the job get free tuition and a stipend for living expenses while in university, right?  But soldiers' kids don't because they aren't eligible for workers' compensation?

So if children of soldiers killed on the job were to be given free tuition and a thousand dollar stipend, that would bring them in line with other Saskatchewan children of workers killed on the job?

If this is the case, I don't really see where the controversy is.

Unionist

Well, for starters Michelle, universities don't use their endowment funds to help injured and killed workers or their families. I suppose if they wanted to set up financing for all orphans, or all children whose parents were killed who were not covered by compensation, I'd still say this was a role for government, but I might also say "where's the controversy". Instead, Rick Hillier has inspired a "Project Hero" fund to glorify Canada's "mission" in Afghanistan and single out dead soldiers' kids for special treatment. That ought to be vigorously opposed.

 

Unionist

[double post]

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Michelle wrote:

Can I get some clarification?  So according to Timebandit, all children of people from Saskatchewan who are killed on the job get free tuition and a stipend for living expenses while in university, right?  But soldiers' kids don't because they aren't eligible for workers' compensation?

So if children of soldiers killed on the job were to be given free tuition and a thousand dollar stipend, that would bring them in line with other Saskatchewan children of workers killed on the job?

If this is the case, I don't really see where the controversy is.

Yes, this is how it works:  If your parent/guardian dies and a fatality claim is accepted by Sask WCB, your full tuition and books are covered, and you receive a small stipend/living allowance.  My niece was getting something like $350/mo during semesters, not enough to live on but better than a kick in the pants.  This is in force until you turn 25.  So if you take a year off, for example, you can still claim as long as you are 24 or under. 

Certain classes of worker are exempted, however - these include actors and stuntmen, as they take unprecedented risk in WCB's view.  Federal employees, if they are civilians, are covered.  Military personnel are not, but as I note from the link upthread, there is some coverage for post-secondary education of dependents provided by the CAF.  I just don't know if the coverage is as extensive as Sask WCB's.

(I know how this works because I was a claims adjudicator/case manager at Sask WCB for about 5 years and administrated a few fatality claims.)

So if this scholarship for armed forces' orphans is so bad, should we also be against this one at the link below, where your parent has to be a union member, but doesn't have to be dead?  If not, then could somebody explain to me what the difference is?

http://www.nupge.ca/scholarships

Fidel

And I think children of university and college employees are exempt from paying tuition if I'm not mistaken. It's become a real classist setup in our Northern Puerto Rico.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Fidel wrote:

And I think children of university and college employees are exempt from paying tuition if I'm not mistaken. It's become a real classist setup in our Northern Puerto Rico.

Uh, not. I know several profs and university staff, some of them have kids in uni. They pay tuition.

Bacchus

Unionist wrote:

Well, for starters Michelle, universities don't use their endowment funds to help injured and killed workers or their families. I suppose if they wanted to set up financing for all orphans, or all children whose parents were killed who were not covered by compensation, I'd still say this was a role for government, but I might also say "where's the controversy". Instead, Rick Hillier has inspired a "Project Hero" fund to glorify Canada's "mission" in Afghanistan and single out dead soldiers' kids for special treatment. That ought to be vigorously opposed.

 

No but they do use them for the children of their workers who generally gee free tuition. A bit hypocritical of the profs no?

Bacchus

Not in most ontario universities timebandit, at least at western, york and UofT

Fidel

Timebandit wrote:

Fidel wrote:

And I think children of university and college employees are exempt from paying tuition if I'm not mistaken. It's become a real classist setup in our Northern Puerto Rico.

Uh, not. I know several profs and university staff, some of them have kids in uni. They pay tuition.

I'll double check on that, because I know someone, too.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Bacchus wrote:

Not in most ontario universities timebandit, at least at western, york and UofT

Really?  First I'd ever heard of it.  Doesn't work that way out here - or so I've been told.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I've never heard of a university not offering free tuition to dependents of faculty--it's not usually the case with staff, but once you reach a certain pay grade, tuition is free for staff as well.

Webgear

Education should be free to all.

Caissa

At our university I believe the tuition subsidy for dependents is 50%. Staff have a certain number of courses they can take per year without paying tuition fees. This are considered taxable benefits and often have been arrived at through CA negotiations.

And of course, I agree with webgear that tuition fees should be abolished.

Unionist

Bacchus wrote:

No but they do use them for the children of their workers who generally gee free tuition. A bit hypocritical of the profs no?

Of course not. The profs have called for free tuition for everyone, and universal access. The profs are protesting against the glorification of war through "Project Hero". They are not complaining about the misuse of scarce endowment funds. But I'm not sure if you've read their letter, or are only commenting on the comments.

 

Michelle

Fidel wrote:

And I think children of university and college employees are exempt from paying tuition if I'm not mistaken. It's become a real classist setup in our Northern Puerto Rico.

This is true at the university I work at, and it's because that's what we've demanded in collective bargaining.  No apologies here.  Our secretaries and food service workers can send their kids to university because of it, and we consider it part of our compensation as unionized employees.

I've been drowning under my student debt for years with no end in sight - I'll probably still be paying it off when my son is university age.  So you're darn right I want my son to get tuition for free if he decides to go to my employer for university - that's part of my paycheque, just like my other benefits are.

It's not because it's legislated, it's because it's bargained as part of our pay.  Same with the profs - they have their own unions, and if they get it, it's because they've bargained for it with the employer.

P.S. As employees, we get free tuition too, and so do our spouses, not just our kids.

Michelle

P.P.S. I'm all for free tuition for everyone, by the way.  If there were free tuition for everyone, then we wouldn't need to trade that for something else we might want at the bargaining table.  We win just as much as anyone else does if free tuition is universal.

triciamarie

If the Boards are doing their job correctly there should be exactly enough money coming in from employers to fully cover the costs of all work injury claims.

Excusing some employers from providing worker's compensation coverage seems to be a vestige of the old "voluntary assumption of risk" excuse that employers could use to defend themselves against personal injury lawsuits, prior to the introduction of our no-fault WC system. Most of the high-risk industries that were initially excluded from coverage have now over time been included. However non-coverage remains a part of the system for many (mostly non-unionized) industries, including some jobs where workers are exposed to high risk, and others where the risk is much lower, such as hairdressing.

Bringing soldiers and RCMP under WC would ensure that they have access to a robust right to appeal adverse decisions, free of coercion and without all the obscure nonsense of a military tribunal. It would allow wider entitlement for psychological stress and occupational disease claims.

Public adjudication of military injuries and deaths could also lead to pressure on government to implement better health and safety precautions for soldiers, including above all avoiding combat, by giving soldiers an outside independent venue to explain the circumstances of their injuries and their effects on their lives.

Webgear

Triciamarine, I believe Veteran Affairs now provides the same services as Workers Compensation.

I believe the two systems need to be separated due to the differences between civilian and government workers and their activities.

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