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

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

June Saxe, 2, enjoys the sunny shoreline at Whiffin Spit with her dad on March 5. The family had come out from Victoria for a day in the sunshine. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Warm weather brings Sooke’s Whiffin Spit to life

Visitors, locals enjoy warm weather at coastal viewpoint

Funding requests for the 2021 budget year, submitted by the Administration and Finance Committee, was approved by Langford council at the Feb. 16 meeting. (Black Press Media file photo)
Food awareness, seniors among Langford’s approved 2021 funding requests

New and returning community organizations to receive financial boost

Underground utility installations are underway on Latoria Boulevard at Latoria Road near Royal Bay Secondary and on Metchosin Road south of Latoria Boulevard. (City of Colwood image)
Road work hinders Colwood drivers in Royal Bay

Underground utility installation could run most of March

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read