David Eggen goes back to the NDP basics with bill to cut school fees

A flagship bill to cut school fees by 25 percent is familiar and friendly territory for the Alberta’s New Democratic Party. Introduced  in the Legislative Assembly today by Education Minister David Eggen, Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees, eliminates fees for textbooks, workbooks, photocopying, printing and busing transporting.

Last year’s Bill 1, which established a series of job creation and economic diversification committees, was much more technocratic than this year’s first bill. Eggen’s bill returns to retail politics and goes back to the NDP basics. It moves the NDP closer to fulfilling one of their campaign promises from the 2015 election, to “reduce school fees for essential services such as lunch supervision and busing.”

As an opposition party, the NDP railed against growing out of pocket fees that Alberta parents were forced to pay under the old Progressive Conservative government. Eliminating these types of school fees, which cost Albertans an average of $50 million each year, is a change that will have a positive impact in the lives of a lot of Albertans.

The elimination of fees is likely to be a popular move, and it is also shrewd politics. Like the NDP government’s increases to the minimum wage and introduction of $25 per day child care, it will be politically difficult for the conservative opposition parties to campaign against cuts to school fees in the next election.

5 thoughts on “David Eggen goes back to the NDP basics with bill to cut school fees

  1. Frank

    Absolutely, watching Brian Jean today voice his opposition was to Bill 1 was laughable. It shows that the supposedly conservative opposition in the legislature does not get that the demographics in the province have changed as that the median age of the majority of people in Alberta today is 36.5.

    This group of people are the one’ so who probably have a kid or two that are starting or are in elementary school and in the economy right now in Alberta welcome the opportunity to save a few dollars or more for other needs or wants.

    The problem with the Wildrose Party is that their base is made up of mostly white, older, rural, Evengelical ” born again” Christians, who are nostalgic for a one room school house with gas lights and an outhouse. This group does not understand the modern complexities of today’s world.

    Myself as a centrist Red Tory Conservative, who is single with no kids welcome this decesion by the NDP Government.

    Reply
    1. David

      You might be somewhat right about the demographics of many of Wildrose supporters, but I would add to it well of in this case. I think the people opposed to reducing school fees understand their reality quite well – more user fees on lower and middle class Alberta’s provides more revenue to the government so they can press for lower tax rates for higher income earners.

      Reply
  2. Darren

    I guess it all comes down to who pays? Is the government planning on raising education funding to cover the cost? If so, where is that money coming from?

    Reply

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