In a recent cabinet shuffle, New Brunswick Premier David Alward named Jody Carr the new Minister for Post Secondary Education and Employment Development.
Carr previously held this position in 2006. Prior to September’s cabinet shuffle, he was the minister responsible for early education.
The news of his new appointment has so far been received positively by the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA). Mount Allison Student Union President Melissa O’Rouke said that though she has yet to meet the new minister, she has heard “great things” and said he is “extremely experienced.”
Mario Levesque, a professor of Canadian politics at Mount Allison University, was more skeptical. Levesque predicted that there will not be much action from the department, saying “I don’t think we will see any bold moves,” and arguing that this had been the case when Carr last held the position. Levesque also pointed out that an election is close, meaning that until a platform is established, there will likely be little movement from the portfolio.
Carr recently announced a partnership with The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation to devote $7 million over five years of graduate scholarships in the province. Only graduates who are nominated for the Tri-Council Award, those studying one of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) disciplines, and those whose discipline is deemed socially innovative will be eligible.
Carr’s department has yet to act on the fact that St. Thomas University recently raised tuition by $434, well over the government’s tuition cap of $150.
And despite the requests of the NBSA, there has been little improvement in funding toward post-secondary education. “There have been some concerns raised over the high turnover rate in that portfolio over the past number of years,” O’Rourke added.