But the question needs to be asked whether public health care, public education and income security are also competitive advantages, for both employers and workers.
Alberta labour leaders threw their support behind the Canadian Federation of Students protests taking place in Alberta and throughout the rest of the country today.
"The situation facing young Albertans in our colleges and universities today is untenable," said AFL President Audrey Cormack. "Our students have had the costs of the federal and provincial cuts to post-secondary education unloaded onto them in increased tuitition fees."
"The consequences are unbearable levels of student debt - and the grim reality that the children of working people will be excluded from advanced education because of the high costs," said Cormack.
She is endorsing the student demands for an immediate freeze on tuition fees; restoration of federal and provincial funding, and a return to a grant program in place of the current student loan program.
"The education of our youth is a national asset, something that, in the long run, will benefit all Canadians," said Cormack. "It's time we treated it that way."
Edmonton and District Labour Council President Alex Grimaldi agrees. "Edmonton has always benefitted from our advanced education institutions. The students and faculty and staff make our Edmonton a richer and more vital community," said Grimaldi. "The impoverishment of students has an economically and socially depressing effect."
"It's time for the public to speak out, in support of our students' fight for fair treatment," concluded Grimaldi.
Both Audrey Cormack and Alex Grimaldi will be speaking at a students' rally today at noon at SUB Theatre at the University of Alberta Campus.
For more information contact:
Audrey Cormack, AFL President @ 483-3021(wk) 499-6530 (cell) 428-9367 (hm)
Alex Grimaldi, EDLC President @ 474-4747