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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, June 4, 1998

  • Nuclear weapons in south Asia
  • The pith of UW's budget
  • Prominent prof earns his PhD
  • WatCard news, and more
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Nuclear weapons in south Asia

[Protest photo]
Anti-nuclear protest in New Delhi, capital of India. (AP Photo)
The testing of nuclear weapons by two of the world's biggest countries, India and Pakistan, will be the topic of two lectures this week at UW.

Today, Ashok Kapur of UW's political science department will be joined by Christopher Raj, a visiting faculty member from Nehru University in New Delhi, India's capital, to speak on "The Nuclear Crisis in South Asia". The event, sponsored by the departments of political science and history and the Centre on Foreign Policy and Federalism, begins at 10 a.m. in Needles Hall room 3001. Kapur has written extensively about nuclear proliferation in south Asia -- arguing, among other things, that it is "hypocritical" for people in western countries that already have nuclear weapons to object to the creation of similar weapons by developing countries.

Then on Friday at 3 p.m., C. M. Bhandari, consul-general of India in Toronto, will give a lecture on "India's Nuclear Tests and Prospect for Peace in the Region." It takes place in Davis Centre room 1302.

The United States is leading a world effort to persuade the two big south Asian countries to abandon their nuclear programs. Says the Indian Express today: "The negotiators who include China's top disarmament specialist Sha Zukang, Russia's Grigori Berdennikov and Britain's Roland Smith are slated to try and frame a mixture of incentives and deterrants in an effort to press New Delhi and Islamabad into confidence-building negotiations. 'Pakistan blames India, India blames China and China says it has no role to play in the current crisis -- in fact China will argue that it is not part of the problem,' a senior western diplomat privy to parts of tomorrow's negotiations and speaking on conditions of anonymity said. Asked if Kashmir would figure in the talks, he declined to comment but said, 'there's no question that the security environment between India and Pakistan will be discussed and when you are discussing security environment you are discussing borders.'"

The pith of UW's budget

As UW's board of governors approved the 1998-99 operating budget on Tuesday, it was looking at a two-page summary from the university's provost, Jim Kalbfleisch. Here's the full text of that summary.

"Income. Provincial operating grants made up 58% of our operating income in 1997-98. These grants have been frozen in 1998-99, and indeed it is still possible that the Pay Equity component could be reduced by as much as one-third ($650K).

"Tuition revenues made up 30% of our operating income in 1997-98. At its meeting in April, the Board of Governors approved a 10% tuition increase except for international graduate students. The estimated increase in tuition revenue takes into account both enrolment projections and higher tuition rates. In particular, graduate enrolment in 1997-98 was higher than projected in the October 1997 budget, and it is projected that this higher enrolment will be maintained in 1998-99. The figures assume that first-year admission targets will be met, and higher enrolment would mean higher tuition revenue.

"Other revenues made up about 12% of our operating income and are projected to remain nearly constant in 1998-99. There are a number of uncertainties here. The amounts for co-op recovery and the student services fee will be affected by enrolment. The research overhead figure is preliminary and does not include potential ORDCF results. Interest income is, of course, dependent on investment returns.

"Overall, operating income is expected to increase by $5.5 million to $183 million in 1998-99. It should be noted that this is still $10 million less than total operating income in the April 1993 budget. Government operating grants accounted for 70% of our estimated operating revenue in April 1993, as compared with only 56% in the current budget.

"Expenses. The total salary budget has been adjusted for salary increases, turnover savings, and replacement hiring. Benefit costs include increased rates for dental and extended health coverage and increased Canada Pension Plan contributions. The budget for student support has been increased by $1.4 million. There is also a 6% increase in the library acquisitions budget.

"At its April meeting, the Board of Governors approved a 75% reduction in pension plan contributions for 1998-99. This produces temporary savings of $5.8 million in the operating budget.

"The operating budget also includes a payment of $3.1 million on the accumulated debt of $6.2 million from prior years.

"The Special Project Fund of $1 million supports a number of major systems projects (Financial, Human Resources and Payroll, and Student Information). This amount will be required in the budget for several years until the total cost of these projects has been recovered.

"Operating Deficit. The projected operating deficit for 1998-99 is $859,000, which is about 0.5% of total operating income. However, as noted above, there is still the possibility of a reduction in Pay Equity funding.

"Because of the strength of our applicant pool, there is a good chance that enrolment projections will be exceeded. There is also the possibility of additional overhead income. Therefore, I will recommend to the Board of Governors that no budget cuts be applied at the present time. Given the deep budget cuts of the past five years, additional reductions would be very painful.

"A complete budget update will be provided to the Board in October. If the operating deficit persists, it may be necessary to apply a budget levy at that time to bring the 1998-99 budget into balance.

"Base Operating Budget. It has been possible to avoid significant budget cuts in 1998-99 only because of the 75% reduction in pension contributions. These are temporary savings only, and contributions will need to return to normal levels over the next few years.

"As noted above, there is also an expense of $3.1 million for payment on the accumulated fund deficit. This item can be eliminated from the operating budget after one more year.

"If both of these items were eliminated, there would be a base budget shortfall of about $3.3 million rather than $859,000. In keeping with our policy of balanced budgets, it will be necessary to increase revenues and/or decrease expenses by $3.3 million as pension contributions return to normal."

Prominent prof earns his PhD

Rob Brown, of UW's department of statistics and actuarial science, will receive his PhD from Simon Fraser University today. A news release from SFU tells something about him:
Simon Fraser University graduate Robert Brown -- a professor of statistics and actuarial science at the University of Waterloo and one of Canada's leading actuaries -- says there's reason to worry.

Brown's research points to significant problems with almost all of the federal government's proposed reforms to social security announced over the past few years. In particular, he contends that the "pre-funding" of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) will not add to the plan's overall security -- and may be detrimental to the economy. . . .

Brown says keeping workers active for a little longer -- no more than four years -- is one alternative that would virtually wipe out the financing problems plaguing the CPP. He suggests raising the age of eligibility would "level out" the resources needed to be transferred from workers to retirees over the next 50 years.

"Not only would the extension of working years dissipate the CPP problems, a more productive workforce would then allow the projected rise in the age of entitlement for CPP retirement benefits to be softened," he says. In fact, if worker productivity was to double over the next 35 years (a growth rate of only two per cent per annum), Brown says the age of entitlement would not need to rise at all.

Brown also analysed the impact of the proposed Seniors Benefit program and points out that if passed, the combined income tax and clawback rates would create strong 'disincentives' for middle income Canadians to save for retirement. He claims the total marginal tax rates could be as high as 77 per cent, depending on individual tax brackets. With legislation overdue, Brown predicts the plan may be reworked. . . .

Brown had only a bachelor's degree in math when was hired to teach actuarial science at Waterloo in 1971. He's been number crunching on the future financing requirements for social security ever since, and is author of six books and 31 refereed publications. Brown was promoted to full professor in 1994 -- then decided to pursue his graduate degrees. He earned a master's degree in gerontology at Waterloo before starting his PhD program at SFU, which he undertook while on sabbatical.

He's regularly quoted in national media about pension issues; among other public services, he served for a time as a Waterloo city councillor.

WatCard news, and more

"Good news!" writes Michele Grondin from the WatCard office. "The WatCard is now accepted at parking services. You may now pay for all of your parking fines and tickets with one swipe of the WatCard." Or, of course, you could avoid parking tickets altogether, couldn't you?

UW's Education Program for Software Professionals is the topic of the next in a series of Ideas breakfast seminars for the President's Circle, an exclusive audience of UW donors and friends. Donald Cowan, professor emeritus of computer science, is the speaker at the seminars: June 9 at UW's Laurel Room, June 10 in Toronto's Royal York Hotel, June 11 at the Delta Hotel in Ottawa. Price for breakfast and Cowan talk: $15. (UW's development office can provide more information.) Cowan is director of the model training program, developed by UW in partnership with the Bank of Montreal and the Software Human Resource Council.

The architecture school is running its Arriscraft Lecture series again this term, and next in the series is this evening. People from Atelier Big City, based in Montréal, will speak (on "Confounding Architecture and Landscape") at 7:00 in the "green room" of Environmental Studies II.

Preregistration for winter 1999 courses continues today and tomorrow. See your faculty advisor.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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