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Alberta Election 2023: What are each party’s policies on post-secondary?

The Gateway examines the platforms of the major parties running in the 2023 provincial election.

On May 29, Albertan voters will vote in the 2023 provincial election. With Election Day less than a week away, voters are thinking about which candidate they want to vote for.

The Gateway has compiled a summary of what the five major parties running in the election have promised to do for post-secondary education in Alberta, if elected.

United Conservative Party: Graduation Retention Tax Credit

The United Conservative Party (UCP) — which is running for re-election — has one specific policy goal for post-secondary education in their platform.

The UCP said that if re-elected, they will introduce a Graduation Retention Tax Credit ranging from $3,000 – $10,000. This commitment is part of their Alberta Job Growth and Diversification Strategy. The tax credit will be for students working in qualified high-demand professions that choose to stay and work in Alberta post-graduation.

New Democratic Party: freezing tuition growth, new campus in downtown Calgary, and support for agricultural programs

The New Democratic Party (NDP), currently the official opposition to the UCP government, has outlined six specific post-secondary education policy goals in their platform.

If elected the NDP said that they will freeze tuition growth at 2022-23 levels. Additionally, the party said they will reverse the latest tuition hikes set by post-secondary institutions for 2023-24 and cap all future tuition increases at the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Two of the NDP’s policy goals are related to post-secondary education in Calgary. First, the NDP said that they will work with post-secondary institutions in Calgary to relocate or expand campuses downtown.

Secondly, the NDP said they would provide up to $200 million for a permanent post-secondary campus in downtown Calgary. The funding would also go toward student housing downtown, and the campus will be designed to “facilitate collaboration and innovation.” These policy goals aim to revitalize downtown Calgary.

As part of the NDP’s commitment toward supporting agriculture in Alberta, the party is promising that if elected, they will provide support to post-secondary institutions that offer agricultural programs. In addition, the NDP said that they will make sure post-secondary technology strategies include agriculture.

Lastly, the party is committed to investing $1.87 billion toward Edmonton, part of which will go toward building a NAIT Skills Centre.

Alberta Party: operational funding, tuition cap, and funding for mental health supports

The Alberta Party has four specific policy goals for post-secondary education in their platform.

If elected, the Alberta Party said they will make operational funding for post-secondary institutions “stable and predictable,” on a multi-year basis. Additionally, the party has committed to capping tuition increases for both domestic and international students at Alberta’s CPI.

The party also said that it will advocate to the federal government for an increased income threshold on student loan repayment for recent post-secondary graduates.

Lastly, the party plans to provide continuous funding toward mental health supports for post-secondary students if elected.

Alberta Liberal Party: affordability for trade programs

The Alberta Liberal Party has three specific goals for post-secondary education outlined in their platform.

In their education platform, the party said that if elected they will reverse tuition hikes, cuts to funding for post-secondary institutions, and “experimental funding models” that are currently in place.

In their economic platform, the party also said they will make “post-secondary education in the trades and at universities more affordable.” Additionally, if elected, the party plans to create a “Workforce Development Strategy,” that would involve businesses, post-secondary institutions, and other economic stakeholders.

Green Party of Alberta: free post-secondary education, support for agricultural courses

The Green Party of Alberta (GPA) has three specific policy goals for post-secondary education in their platform.

The GPA said that if elected, undergraduate post-secondary education will be made free for all citizens and permanent residents. The party also said they would provide basic income to Canadian students over 18 years old.

To support farmers in Alberta, the GPA said they would provide support to post-secondary institutions and technical schools so that they can offer courses and programs related to agriculture.

Advance voting poll at the University of Alberta, May 25 – 26

May 23 – 27 are advance voting days. During these days, voters will be able to vote at any advance voting location in Alberta.

Advance voting at the University of Alberta will be available on May 25 and 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., in the Cascade Room in the Students’ Union Building.

Lily Polenchuk

Lily Polenchuk is the 2023-24 Managing Editor at The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 and 2022-23 News Editor, and 2022-23 Staff Reporter. She is in her second year, studying English and political science. She enjoys skiing, walks in the river valley, and traveling.

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