International student. I come to Canada with ~20k debt. After tuition, rent, other expenses, I save nothing. To buy something as simple as a coffee, I have to dig deep into my pockets. I do two part-time jobs, to pay towards the 20k debt I have. After coming to Canada, I have not had any vacation, peace of mind, or any focus. My research is greatly affected. I cannot properly think, or sleep, or eat, or live in general. Research is my passion, and my only dream is to be a scientist working at the highest possible level. But, if as a 'plant' researchers are being subjected to such indigence, would we have 'trees'? Would we have a 'forest'? I'm already thinking to leave academia and join some firms. My seniors did, my friends are doing it, and I will. I can't live with debts by doing PDFs, which is 'nightmare pt.2'. It is odious that a PhD/PDF person has to do 2-3 jobs to survive. The Canadian system has broken my dreams, my passion, and my research mind with such treatment.
If graduate funding was CAD $35,000/yr for all students, how would that change your life? If a future-scientist has to do 2-3 jobs just to get by a month, what message does the system send to the science community? Academia produces the maximum Nobel Prize winners, top ideas, great innovations, and exquisite discoveries. For this to happen, great minds should stay in academia. But if a great mind is put in poverty, the greatness is lost, both for the mind and for the academia. An increment would allow these people to stay in academia. I would love to stay in academia, and an increment would help me pay back my debts, start a family, afford a normal life. As future-scientists who build the world with innovations, is it too much to ask? People who are 'entertainers', 'realtors', etc., who virtually do nothing but nugatory, out-earn us. This has to change. Dreaming to be a scientist should not be a nightmare, and passionate grad students who wish to stay in academia, should not be punished into debts and penury. I hope that the 'decision-makers' understand this.
Additional comments: I don't blame anyone, as it is my fault that I've chosen Canada as it has some rare areas of science. But with a growing exodus of grad students towards non-academic positions, I don't think Canada would protect this uniqueness, because who would want to be special, especially when you're poor? Canadian system should take some efficacious action, otherwise kiss good-bye to 'science in Canada'.