Brendan Kergin, News Editor Ω
Student grants, or the lack of them, brought the B.C. NDP leader to TRU Monday.
Adrian Dix, leader of the official opposition in the Legislative Assembly was on campus to make an announcement promising students of B.C. more money in the provincial grants system if the NDP are elected next election.
“As part of the NDP platform for the next election we have made a specific commitment to $100 million non-repayable student grant to be paid for by reinstating a minimum tax on banks in B.C.,” said Dix at a small press conference in Common Grounds on Nov. 7.
The tax had been in place up until 2004 when the B.C. Liberals removed it.
Dix believes bringing the tax back will cover the $100 million grant program and some extra.
When the tax was scrapped in 2004 it was collecting about $80 million.
Part of the reason Dix and the NDP wish to increase funds towards students is the worry that B.C. will lack skilled labour force.
He said the transfer of money from banks to students will help the economy.
“In our economy today we need young people to get training, to get the education they need, to get the jobs.
The governments own statistics say that by 2020, 80 per cent of the jobs will require some form of post-secondary education.”
Dix said that previous generations are doing much better than those under 35.
He related this to the lack of a grant program and increased tuition compared to when his generation was in school.
“This is not what our generation should be doing.
“It’s in our own interest, surely, that young people have access to the training they need so that we don’t have a future where we have jobs without people and people without jobs,” said Dix.
“Our generation needs to do better than we have.”
Dix was surrounded by local NDP politicians and TRU faculty and student members supporting the announcement.
“I want to say that we are very excited to hear an announcement like this, it makes education more affordable at TRU and across B.C.
“It also helps students facing financial burdens and barriers,” said Jordan Harris, TRU External VP.
The next scheduled provincial election is May 14, 2013, though one may be called before then.