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NWCC President is encouraged by Throne Speech

After a review by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, Northwest Community College (NWCC) President Stephanie Forsyth says shes encouraged by what she heard in Gov. Gen. Micha‰lle Jeans Speech from the Throne today from Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Speeches from the Throne are characteristically cautious and today's Speech was certainly no exception, Forsyth said. However, it did contain several references of interest to colleges. In the Speech, the government pledges to strengthen Canadas workforce through a number of measures, including continued support of student financial assistance; taking measures to encourage skilled trades and apprenticeships; recognizing foreign credentials; attracting top international students to Canada; and increasing the uptake of immigrant settlement programs. I am heartened by the government's inclusion of skilled trades and applied research and development as key elements for the country's economic health, Forsyth said. Nationally and provincially, we have been advocating for governments to do more to address the crisis in advanced skills and to acknowledge the contributions of colleges and institutes to applied research. Perhaps our efforts are starting to have some impact. Other similar promised measures include emphasizing improved education for First Nations in partnership with the provinces and First Nations communities, supporting workers in transition and improving labour mobility across Canada by 2010. In the area of investment, trade and international security, the re-elected Stephen Harper government also says it will work with industry to apply the best Canadian scientific and technological know-how to create innovative business solutions; invest in world-class research facilities; modernize copyright laws and ensure stronger protection for intellectual property; and continue to increase funding to meet international development goals. Of particular note was the government's reference to expedited infrastructure spending, adds Forsyth. Colleges in BC and in rural areas in particular are hurting from the lack of funding that has been provided for infrastructure. We are advancing the case that investment in college and institute infrastructure should be eligible for federal funding and will pay dividends.

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