Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why not a GI bill for Canada?

I was watching CNN last night and they ran a story on the issue of U.S. soldiers coming home for Iraq and becoming saddled down with student loan debt as they attempt to pursue higher education.

It’s long been a recruiting pitch for the U.S. military: serve your country, and then go to university on the government’s dime. However, according to the news reports the finding formulae has become some outdated that the program now barely covers community college tuition, never mind books and other expenses or university tuition, leaving many former soldiers to abandon their educations or become saddled-down with loan debt.

The Senate is trying to resolve the problem, naturally it has become bogged-down in political wrangling and whether benefits should be focused on soldiers that serve their four years and leave or more on career soldiers.

What occurred to me though is that the Liberals should propose a similar program for Canada, I think it would be a real winner. Free college or university education for Canadian soldiers that have served their country for a set period of time. It would be a suitable reward for those that have sacrificed to serve, and the country and the economy would benefit from a more educated workforce.

I think we should give it a try. The only challenge, with Harper and Flaherty having flittered away the surplus, would be finding the funding. Surely though, for something like this, it could be found.

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Hardness said...

Why not? Quite simply, Canada does not require a larger army than it already has. It is also becoming critical that the entire 'public' education needs drastic funding so that tuition becomes manageable. The last thing we need to be doing is pumping money into forces and education rather than just education.

A BCer in Toronto said...

How would this lead to a larger military? This is about helping military members after they leave the forces.

On recruitment though, we actually do need a larger military to help us meet our commitments in Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and it's getting difficult to meet those recruitment goals. While it's not the intent, this could help.

The Mound of Sound said...

I have to say Jeff that Canadian veterans are already treated vastly better than their American counterparts.

After WWII we had the Veterans' Land Act and other programmes.

My own dad is a severely wounded WWII vet and I can't begin to describe just how great Veterans Affairs has been to him and those like him, at least over the last 20-years.