During his visit to China this week, the Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced an “exciting” plan to provide scholarships to mostly Chinese students, which will cost $30 million to the Ontario taxpayers.
The details of the scheme are as follows: we, the taxpayers, will provide 75 students with $40,000 per year for up to 4 years. In return, the students are supposed to say: “Wow, you guys have great universities in Ontario!” That’s all he needs in return, because the program is supposed to “boost the profile” of the Ontario universities.
So, what’s wrong with that picture? The Premier apparently has forgotten that the province is in recession. The young people from Ontario are scrambling to find money to finance their own education. And unlike the Chinese students who will study for free and leave to never come back, the young Ontarians will work for their province after they graduate.
I can only guess why McGuinty is doing this. He probably wants to reverse his imminent defeat in the next provincial elections by winning the Trinity-Spadina Chinese vote and the benevolence of Olivia Chow.
However, Olivia and the Toronto Chinese should oppose that money drain to a country that is not theirs. Would they do that?
Or maybe this is just another piece of the chain of reckless spending that has nearly bankrupted Ontario? Like the eHealth disgrace or the $1 billion in inappropriate welfare payments, uncovered last year.
Or maybe McGuinty is preparing to get a cushy job in China after he is booted out. His buddy George Smitherman already had all his expenses paid by China for a mayors’ conference there, although he wasn’t even a mayor of Toronto (but for some reason he was confident that he would win).
There was a Chancellor of Germany named Gerhard Schroeder, who after he did everything to make Germany dependent on Russian gas, got a nice position in the Russian gas exporting monopoly, Gazprom. I am sure that McGuinty is not going to pull off something like that.
However, whatever the reason to give away that money, McGuinty should stop for a moment and listen to the people of Ontario yelling: Stop wasting our money! (Unless, of course, he has a stash of $30 million of his own earned money, which he surely can give away.)