Government must put students and their debt first: Redmond

By Chris Gregory

Oct. 2, 2015

Tom Mulcair spoke to a young couple who had both recently finished their masters degrees, while on tour last year.

He asked them about their student debt.

“$130,000. Together, the two of them owed $130,000 for their studies. I can honestly tell you I was shocked.”

Student debt is a major issue, especially for the younger generation of voters in the upcoming election, and the NDP are looking to change the government’s approach, Mulcair said at a NDP rally Sept. 21 in Charlottetown.

“If you owe $130,000 and the homes in your area are half a million bucks or more, how are you supposed to start off in life?” he said.

“The only way to change is with an NDP government.”

At a news conference held Oct. 1, P.E.I.’s NDP leader Mike Redmond said he wants sustainability in education and tuition costs and, for the younger generation, voting is the first step.

“Vote. The first thing you can do is vote. Young people are more apt to vote to the left side because they see post-secondary as a really, really important issue.”

Liberal and Conservative governments are focused on their four-year term and that’s it. The NDP want to look beyond, said Redmond.

“We need a government that sees a long-term vision, like Mulcair does.”

Governments have been beating around the bush when it comes to post-secondary education and tuition costs, he said.

Take the George Coles bursary for example. The bursary may help students financially, but with tuition costs continuing to rise, they cancel out and no one accounts for that fact, Redmond said.

“We need to make sure that tuition is regulated. Stop building buildings and start focusing on the students,” he said.

“They need to make sure that we have the resources, and we’re not making education inaccessible, and that’s what happening.”