Buoyed by her triumphant inclusion in the leaders’ debates, Green Leader Elizabeth May was hoping to ride the momentum late last week with her first major policy statement of the federal election campaign. One day after winning her populist battle to join in the televised debates, Ms. May announced her party would boost student aid and forgive half of each graduate’s student loan. “Young people in Canada deserve a quality education that doesn’t leave them with a debt sentence,” Ms. May said at St. Francis Xavier University in the heart of her Central Nova riding.
Ms. May said the additional support would come in the form of an expanded Canadian National Student Loan and Bursary Program. The Greens would also forgive 50 per cent of a student loan for those who complete a degree or certificate program, she said. Ms. May said the measures would end what she called a double penalty, where students face “onerous” student fees and then pay interest on the money they borrow to pay them. “To make matters worse, this is at a financially vulnerable point of most students’ lives,” said a party statement.
The Green party would also increase federal transfer payments to the provinces to help secure the independence of post-secondary institutions. “Canadian universities need stable and reliable funding to ensure they are not captive to corporate philanthropy.”
The party would target research grants to institutions with a specific focus on applied research to support new technologies in renewable energy, smart growth and energy conservation. And it would expand industry-based job training and apprenticeship programs to address Canada’s shortage of trained workers.
-a report from Canadian Press