Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Who Pays?

Mmmm... recession. It seems we can speak of nothing else these days. With good reason, of course.

Recession talk leads to the next big "C" word. (Not C-U-Next-Tuesday, you dirty kids) but cuts. Job cuts, budget cuts, tax cuts, etc. Everything is cut. It's a scissor fest these days. And without any real critical analysis, it would appear that the cuts are not discriminatory. Sure, they are in terms of class, because let's face it: It's Jim, Bob and Jane who are making the cars that are losing their jobs and not Robert So-and-So who runs the joint.

But the evil "c" word is also becoming a way to really conveniently "do away" with things that folks weren't too happy with to begin with.

Exhibit A: We've got Women's Studies at Guelph that has been chopped due to "budget constraints". Ahh yes, that other evil "c" word. This would seem like just another run-of-the-mill, aww-shucks cut if it weren't for the fact that "Cutting the Women's Studies program will save *less than 0.17%* of the University's predicted $46 million shortfall. And yet Women's Studies is the only program in the university that's slated to be cut." This was written in a petition to save the program; the program has now officially been cut.

You gonna tell me that this isn't just a wee bit suspicious? I'm not saying this is a full on witch hunt but when cuts are needed and the first thing to do is Women's Studies, which represents such a measly part of the total budget, one's gotta start asking questions.

Exhibit B: Oh Alberta! The land of bounty! Or not. Seems they're hurting in the Health Care department so they are making cuts, too. Massive cuts, it seems. Although there have only been two major cuts announced and they are *drumroll please*

Chiropractor services: Which will save them 53 million a year


"Sex Change Surgeries": Which will save them 700,000$ a year.

"The latter move has become particularly controversial. " No shit, 53 million vs. less than one million. Hmm...

I get that these will be two of many cuts but once again, you gotta start thinking this through. It's no coincidence that when the axe comes down, things like Women's Studies and sex re-assignment surgery are seen as disposable and easy to chop.

Women's Studies is chronically underfunded everywhere and in the case of Guelph, represents peanuts in terms of financing. Sex re-assignment surgery in Alberta, with only 26 people currently undergoing it and 20 people on a waiting list, represents such small numbers in terms of people and in terms of money, but represents so much to the livelihood of trans people that it makes no sense to see it go at this point. Unless there's a hidden agenda at play here.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I call bullshit on both the University of Guelph and the province of Alberta.

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