Frank Klees

Frankly Speaking

December 7th 2010

McGuinty Announces Free Tuition


Brace yourself for this…….


Premier Dalton McGuinty is handing out $30 million in scholarships to foreign students while Ontario students are struggling to pay their tuition and student loans.


This $40,000 per student gift was announced by the Premier on his recent trip to China. His reasoning is that he wants to attract really bright students to Ontario, and that hopefully,some of them will stay in Ontario after getting their free education and make a contribution to our economy.


When I first heard about this, I was appalled. I hear every day from students and their families here in Aurora and Newmarket, who are struggling to cope with the highest tuition fees in the country, and now the McGuinty government pokes them in the eye by taking their tax dollars and giving them to students from China. Not only have these students never paid a red cent in taxes here in Ontario, neither have their parents and never will.


 But beyond the economic absurdity, is the inherent insult to our own Ontario students who must be wondering just how substandard their Premier must consider them to be. For Mr. McGuinty to say that this is necessary to attract the brightest minds to our province, forces us to conclude that he doesn’t believe Ontario has any of its own. Just how out of touch can a Premier get with Ontario families?


At a time when Ontario graduate students are being hit with a 10.6 % increase in tuition fees and undergrads are forced to pay a 5.4 % increase, Mr. McGuinty uses Ontarians’ tax dollars to generously give foreign students free tuition. It seems that the Premier and his government have lost all concept of how their grand ideas are affecting Ontario families. Whether it’s expensive green energy experiments, the time-of-use meters that are causing our hydro bills to skyrocket, or the HST that’s making even basic essentials unaffordable, this latest assault just confirms that the next provincial election can’t come soon enough.


If you’re the parent of a student struggling to pay for post-secondary education, or if you’re a student working part-time jobs to earn that diploma or university degree, I invite you to let me know how you feel about this latest McGuinty government policy. With your permission, I’ll use your letter or email to oppose this policy in the legislature.


What would a PC Government do ?


Given the opportunity, a PC government will immediately put an end to these foreign student scholarships and direct those funds to Ontario students. We will stop people being held hostage by time-of-use hydro meters by giving them a choice as to whether they want to be billed on that basis, and we will put an end to the scandalous and unsustainable subsidies being paid to alternative energy suppliers. We will provide relief from the oppressive tax burden that the McGuinty government has foisted on Ontario families through an endless list of new fees and taxes, and we will restore respect for you the taxpayer, by the government you have elected to serve you.


As always, I invite you to contact me with your comments or questions through my website at or by calling me at 905 750 0019.



Clarification: $10 millon of the $30 million committed to this program by Premier McGuinty will be funded by universities. Depending on the university, 43 to 45 percent of a university's funding comes from student tuition and the balance comes from the government.

Comments from constituents:

Hello Mr. Klees,
I would like to thank your office for informing me of this decision by Dalton McGuinty. I am in my final year of university and frankly appalled with the possibility of our tax dollars benefiting those who do not contribute. I have worked throughout my years in school and my parents have struggled to contribute to paying for my tuition as well. Perhaps Mr. McGuinty should be rewarding these scholarships to our own bright students instead of dealing our money to those who will likely not stay here after they graduate. He does not guarantee that they will contribute anything to our society, whereas a Canadian student would be far more likely to stay in Canada upon graduation. I feel insulted as a Canadian post-secondary student, as my needs and the needs of my peers are not being met, whereas money is being given to students who do not even possess Canadian citizenship, let alone contribute financially to the education system in Canada! Mr. McGuinty needs to realize how much our own students are struggling to afford education in Canada, spending more time than we should at part-time jobs, putting our grades in jeopardy for the sake of graduating with the least amount of debt possible. I have worked since the age of 16 to pay for post-secondary school and maintained an honours status in university; where is my scholarship?  

Thanks again and please feel free to use my e-mail to oppose this (in the) legislature. 

Sanja Vujinovic

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Dear Mr. Klees:

I just read your article in The Auroran about Premier McGuinty giving scholarships to foreign students.

I checked Dalton McGuinty's website, and the actual total is $40,000 each year for up to 4 years for 75  of the world’s best students to pursue doctoral studies at an Ontario university.

I think it is outrageous to think that such a feast would be awarded to international students, when so many of our students at home are struggling with some of the highest tuition rates in the country.  This is my money as a taxpayer that he’s giving away, and I'm not happy.

I am a single parent with two daughters.  One has a (very expensive) degree in Psychology and is currently repaying OSAP an enormous amount every month to try to reduce her debt.  My other daughter is just finishing her undergrad at U. of T. and is hoping to get into law school at one of the universities in the fall.  The tuition at U. of T. has been a struggle, but the tuition for law school is upward of $15,000 or more per year.  Her OSAP student loan is a joke.  Even though we live more than 50 km. away from the campus, OSAP barely covered her transportation expenses, much less anything else.  She is struggling to keep the top grades necessary for acceptance because she has to work part-time as well.  Scholarships are almost non-existent at U. of T., compared to other universities.  We will have to go on bended knee to the bank to see if she will qualify for a professional student loan if accepted.  It would certainly make life easier if struggling students like my children could be given a piece of the government pie to assist them in their studies.  After all, today's youth are tomorrow's leaders. These days, in order to get a decent job one must have a post-secondary education in order to be considered for anything but minimum-wage jobs.  It's time the government realized this and gave struggling students a helping hand. Thank you for the opportunity to share my views with you.


Sue Miller
Aurora, Ontario

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Dear Mr. Klees,  I would comment, most favourably and enthusiastically,  on your article in the “week of Dec.7th The Auroran”,in which you take serious issue with Mr. McGinty’s plan to spend thirty million of our tax dollars to help to attract  “bright” students  from other countries  to come to Canada to study, in the faint hope that they will stay in Ontario and make a contribution to our economy. To me this is unbelievable thinking on the part of the Premier, with a total lack of concern for the many already financially troubled Canadian students.

Why, when we have bright Canadian students, who either cannot afford current university fees, or, like my 19 year old grandson, who works hard all summer to earn and pay just a portion of his extremely high tuition fees.. My grandson has completed two years at the University of Western Ontario, and with high marks has been accepted in the extremely well known ,and difficult to gain acceptance, Ivey Business program. We are proud of his achievement and with his Canadian heritage, he will hope to graduate and work in his own country. The course is difficult, expensive and requires that he live away from home.  More expense.


Why ,why, why, would not an Ontario premier put the emphasis on helping  home grown Canadians, who need all the financial help they can obtain, to insure that they meet their objectives. The parents and yes the grandparents have paid heavy taxes to this country and to this province, but not with the expectation, that our monies would be used to seek out, and be used, to pay university fees, for people who do not even live here. nor  have made any financial contribution to our education system.


When I look at the 2010 graduation class list from the Faculty of Dentistry at the U. of T.,  the preponderance of the students who’s names appear, on that list,  already indicate a multiplicity of ethnic backgrounds, and  certainly speaks to the fact that ethnic diversity is already a fact of life, at our Canadian universities, and certainly does not seem to need an infusion of more,“bright” students from elsewhere . I suspect that other Faculties class lists would confirm what I see in Dentistry.  Thank you for your article, and hope you and your party can change the Premier’s reasoning, for the many cogent points that you have made.  Good luck.



Dr. John Speck

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