Sep 10, 2009

On tough times and priorities


The BC government cannot afford $130,000 for the budget of BC School Sports, a volunteer organization which organizes sporting events for students. This is likely to affect 100,000 high school athletes across the province whose meets and competitions will be canceled. “It’s not business as usual right now,” explained Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, quoted in this Vancouver Sun article. “We just were not able to provide all of those grants in full this year.”

While being short of money for school athletics — the type of events that marked the beginning of the sports career of many a BC athlete, including Beijing Olympic medalist Carol Huynh — our Ministry of Education apparently had no problem finding $500,000 to fund Olympics promotion in schools through a new Spirit Schools program.

Whether you support the Olympics or you think it’s a giant waste of public money, it’s hard to argue that learning about sports in the classroom and getting to watch them on TV is more valuable than actually having the opportunity to participate in person. Yet this is exactly the message that the Ministry of Education is sending out to school children with their bizarre funding choices.

It seems that many of the cuts we’re seeing are not about tough times and lack of money as much as they are about priorities. And this government’s priorities raise some serious questions.

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