Dix calls for return of student grants

NDP leader Adrian Dix visited a college campus Monday to call on the B.C. government to reinstate the student grant program it canceled in 2004.

NDP leader Adrian Dix listens as Camosun College faculty association president Bronwen Welch describes financial hardships of students.

NDP leader Adrian Dix listens as Camosun College faculty association president Bronwen Welch describes financial hardships of students.

VICTORIA – NDP leader Adrian Dix visited a college campus Monday to call on the B.C. government to reinstate the student grant program it canceled in 2004.

B.C. was spending $80 million a year on grants to top up the federal-provincial student loan program, and an NDP government would reinstate a minimum tax on financial institutions to fund $100 million worth of grants per year, Dix said.

Flanked by Camosun College students and local MLAs, Dix acknowledged that his announcement was to have formed part of an election campaign prepared for this fall. With the next B.C. election now put off to May 2013, Dix encouraged Premier Christy Clark to adopt his policy now to relieve debt that he said now averages $27,000 for B.C. post-secondary grads.

Clark is set to announce a job growth plan next week, with a series of announcements around the province culminating with a speech Sept. 22 to the Vancouver Board of Trade. That plan is expected to include employment training assistance.

Dix made a similar promise when running for leadership of the B.C. NDP this spring. Monday he had few other details, which he said would have to be worked out with post-secondary institutions based on previous grant programs.

“My own view is that being 10th in Canada in student grants, doubling tuition fees, and having the highest debt loads for students is not the direction we need to be going when we’re asking young people and needing young people to get access to the very education they need to fill the jobs of the future,” Dix said.

Camosun College faculty association president Bronwen Welch joined Dix for the announcement. She said she sees students who can’t afford a $100 textbook for her English literature classes and still make their rent, because of tuition and other costs.

“What I don’t understand is at this point, why are people not rioting in the streets?” Welch said. “This is an investment in our future, this is not a cost.”

The B.C. Liberals say average tuition paid in B.C. last year was $4,802, fourth lowest in Canada, and average student debt is third lowest.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Heather Smart poses with her certificate as the first women in a decade to earn this credential in the Kootenays. (Photo submitted)
Local shift boss blazing the way for women

Heather Smart is the first women in the Kootenays in ten years to receive this certification

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Crown prosecutors have stayed attempted murder charges against Kelowna’s Jesse Pez. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Man accused in Kelowna Halloween stabbing has attempted murder charge stayed

The Crown only proceeds with charges when evidence provides ‘a substantial likelihood of conviction’

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Most Read