Debt and the Canadian family

August 7, 2009

I tacked the following onto a Globe article on student unemployment this summer and how the missing jobs will mean Dad and Mom will be hitting the bank up for more money.
Feel free to add comments about student loan programs and taxes, both pro and con.  If I get some useful material I’d like to turn it into a column in the Review Mirror.
For a major source of the growing indebtedness of Canadian families, you need look no further than the hypocritical attitude of government toward student finances. Remember Chretien’s huge Millenium Scholarship Fund? For all the hype, does anybody know anyone who actually got any money from it?
When I was a kid at Queen’s, my summer jobs as a construction labourer paid the whole shot for the following year at university, and virtually the whole thing was tax deductible at the top category.
Today’s dirty secret is that university education in Canada is much, much more expensive than it was for the previous generation, and almost all of the cost is paid with after-tax dollars. What’s more, the bit a parent can claim comes off the bottom of the tax schedule, not the top.
During my years as a teacher of OAC students my heart went out to the parents of the kids I sent off to post-secondary. There was no way they would let their kids down, but they suffered through a raw deal financially and nobody would acknowledge it.

One Response to “Debt and the Canadian family”

  1. Tony Says:

    CSLP …. hmmmmm.

    A program used primarily by two classes of parents. Ones who truely can’t afford to pay for post secondary education for their kids, and then the vast number of the other kind of parents. These would be the ones who did ZERO planning for their kids continuing education. Instead they bought cars and houses and went to the Domincan Republic every year for a winter vacation !

    Suddenly the kids were 17 years old. Holy cow, how are we going to pay for their education they wondered. I know we’ll have them go into debt to start off their lives out of the nest.

    I seem to recall at one point the CSLP was owed 10 billion dollars. The program was handed over to the banks and the nonesense of giving loans to people who had not a hope in hell of repaying, and instead declared personal bankrupcy ended.

    We have to understand in this country, going to University is not a right, and yes, some will not be able to afford it. That’s life. Pretending you can afford it, taking the money and then not paying it back is quite a life lesson for your kids. It’s also a tax burden this tax payer wants nothing to do with.

    Post secondary is also not the only path to success. Who wants to be a plumber …. an electrician …..

    Finally, who is it that said parents were responsible for their “KIDS” after the age of 18 anyway. Their “KIDS” have been driving for 2 years, voting, and are a year away from legally getting drunk. Parents would be better teaching their kids some life lessons, including the fact that they have to work hard and struggle to get the things they want … like for a University education. I don’t have one, couldn’t afford it. I did awlright !My wife had college only, all she (not her parents), could afford. She has done brilliantly. I think it’s is high time the government supported the parents a little more that cared enough to plan for their kids education. RESP should be fully tax deductable for instance.

    (Note: I work with people who are my age, early 50’s, that have kids and don’t know what an RESP is)

    End of rant………….

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