These research papers were completed as part of one of Mount Royal University’s third-year public relations classes, which focuses on government public relations and Canadian political communication (currently PUBR 3860). The papers are among the first full research papers that the PR students complete during their degree, taking over a month to individually select a topic upon which to write, research, edit and review prior to submission.

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Rural Disadvantage: The Accessibility of Doctors, Specialists and Medical Services in Rural Area by Kylie Steedman (FIRST PLACE)

Those living in rural areas lack healthcare resources such as general practitioners, prenatal care, cancer treatment and access to specialists (British Columbia Ministry of Health, 2015; Crowe, 2019; Fleet, Archambault, Plant & Poitras, 2013; Giesbrecht et al., 2016; Scott et al., 2013; Shah, Milosavljevic & Bath, 2017; Taplin, 2019; Zingel, 2019). Giesbrecht et al. (2016) state: “eligibility for, access to, and availability of healthcare services… is largely dependent upon where one lives” (p. 274). This inaccessibility can cause problems for small-town residents such as long wait lists, travel and lack of access (British Columbia Ministry of Health, 2015; Fleet, Archambault, Plant & Poitras, 2013; Giesbrecht et al., 2016; Taplin, 2019). Provincial, federal and municipal governments must intervene with policy and incentives to retain doctors in these areas. In this paper, I argue that those living in rural areas have inadequate medical services and resources.

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The Fight for Funding: Canadian Universities Face a Rise Tuition and Decline in Quality Education by Shelby Pedersen (SECOND PLACE)

University tuition costs are at an all-time high and continue to rise yearly. According to Statistics Canada, it is estimated that the average full-time student will be roughly $28,000 in debt once they have completed a bachelor’s degree (Statistics Canada, 2019). After World War II, the federal government began its role in funding for post-secondary institutions across Canada. This was done in support of Canadian veterans (Nicholson, 1973). In 1966, the federal government cancelled all its general payments to universities across the provinces and “the dependency of the universities upon provincial government became so predominant as to be absolute” (p. 23). Since then there has been a struggle between the federal and provincial governments as to whose responsibility it is to help fund post-secondary institutions across Canada. “The philosophy about ‘who should pay’ to the stance on expanding degree-granting privileges. Funding and regulatory developments at the provincial and federal levels combined to create a period of unprecedented change (and uncertainty) in the post-secondary landscape” (Snowdon, 2005).

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The Equalization Formula and How it is Portrayed in the Media: A Review of Agenda Setting Theory by Chris Axford (THIRD PLACE)
There has been a recent history of division in Canada pertaining to equalization, how it works, how it benefits provinces and what problems there might be with it. More well-off provinces and their premiers will often lament the formula behind equalization. A great deal of misinformation surrounding equalization is often disseminated as fact by people lamenting it. Equalization is presented as a complex formula boiled down to a simple analogy in social media posts by its opponents and reformers, and the nuance and truth of how it works are lost in these simplified analogies.

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