At the CARE (The Collaborative Applied Research in Economics) conference on September 15, 2021, former Premier Roger Grimes commented on the recently approved tuition hike at Memorial University of Newfoundland during the question period part of President Vianne Timmons’s presentation. The transcript is below:
Roger Grimes: Not necessarily a question. Roger Grimes, attending today, by the way, in my capacity as Chair of the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board. Just want to make a comment with respect to Matt’s commentary. I’ve appreciated your participation all day by the day, delighted you’re here, been making a great contribution. In context, I was Premier of the province when we reduced tuitions in Newfoundland and Labrador by 25 percent over three years with the objective to be the lowest tuition in the country, and my understanding is this: that was 20 years ago, by the way, 21 years ago now and nothing, it hasn’t moved. It’s been frozen at that level for 21 years, and I was asked to comment on it a few years ago. If I were a student today, I’d be disappointed; I’d be upset; I’d probably be protesting. I protested when I was there in the 60s. We carried caskets up to the Confederation building about the death of free tuition, can you believe that? It was the death of free tuition; we carried coffins up the parkway to the Confederation building. So, I’d be protesting, and I’d be making probably some of the same commentary as Matt. But just for context, my understanding is that… because we’re talking about fiscal reality in the province, the increases now would be such that we will still be where I wanted to be in 2000. We’ll be at the lower level, if not the lowest in Canada, and there’s nowhere else you can go to get a better deal because I’ve done it three times with three different degrees from Memorial. There’s nowhere on the planet you can go to get a better deal for the price than Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. So, stick with it Matt, I look forward to seeing you in a future leadership role in the province. Thanks for the opportunity to make the comment.
Vianne Timmons: Thank you, Roger.
Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.