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Who's not happy with the budget? University students

The budget logo on Jim Flaherty’s shoes.

BLAIR GABLE/REUTERS

Postsecondary institutions – colleges and universities – did not get any big surprises in the budget. Which, given the financial climate, is seen as largely a positive. Students, on the other hand, were hoping for more. Here's what university presidents, students and researchers thought of Thursday's budget:

"It is definitely enough to put us on the right path. The question I will have is, is it enough to create a significant strategic advantage for Canada vis-a-vis our competition? I don't think it will do that. We need to make more investments in short order." – Amit Chakma, president, University of Western Ontario

"We think the language in this budget has actually been pretty careful to be a broad appreciation of the human resource challenges facing Canada. I think in some of the initial trial balloons there was some messaging that was perhaps ill-considered. We need more university graduates. We need more college graduates. We need more skilled trades. And the public policy objective is not to pit one group against the other, but to get us all working together more collaboratively." – Paul Davidson, president, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

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"Really, what are we doing here in terms of our investment in terms of those who need to access post-secondary education? You know, one of the things, the investments ($70-million over three years to support 5,000 paid internships for postsecondary graduates) is kind of like throwing candy out at the parade: You get only those in the front row. That's quite disappointing." – Zachary Dayler, national director, Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

"I think they touched every point that we raised. I mean, it's quite remarkable. They embraced every suggestion, some to a greater degree, some to a lesser degree, but all in very positive ways. It's a wondeful platform to build on." – James Knight, president and CEO, Association of Community Colleges of Canada

"Obviously, there's some contentious issues with the Labour Market Agreements, but we'll have to wait and see how the provinces and the federal government work that out. I think the big news here is that this budget is a budget that is looking at industry to step up and invest in skills training, research and technology investment as key drivers of productivity. ... This is a very college-friendly budget." – Robert Luke, assistant vice-president of research and innovation, George Brown College

"Under the international higher education strategy, what they're really signalling is we need new and clever ways of marketing our universities, on both undergraduate and graduate programs, but also – and I think this is important in the language in the budget – that they would like to see a robust strategy to get our students out to get international experience." Arvind Gupta, CEO and scientific director, Mitacs

"One of the encouraging thing about this budget is that in a tight year, there are signals about government's recognition of priorities in several different areas that the universities share as well." – David Barnard, president, University of Manitoba

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About the Author
Banking Reporter

James Bradshaw is banking reporter for the Report on Business. He covered media from 2014 to 2016, and higher education from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, he worked as a cultural reporter for Globe Arts, and has written for both the Toronto section and the editorial page. More

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