The weight of student debt

OshawaDebate ON COLLEGE TUITION: (From left to right) Colin Carrie (PC), Michael Dempsey (Green Party), Tito-Dante Marimpietri (Liberal), and Mary Fowler (NDP) debating Ontario’s tuition costs at Durham College and UOIT.

The federal Conservatives aren’t the ones to blame for high tuition, says Colin Carrie, the Tory MP for the Oshawa riding. He says that one of the biggest reasons Ontario has high tuition is the “complete mismanagement of the Ontario economy through the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne.”

Carrie made the comment at an Oshawa riding all candidates debate hosted at the Durham College and UOIT campus on September 30th.

Carrie also says the Conservative government is responsible for providing education funding to the province of Ontario.

The provincial government has jurisdiction over the educational system and where the money will be used, Carrie says.

Carrie also says that the Conservative government has established better student grants, enhanced the Canadian student loan program and eliminated work penalties for students who would like to work at the same time as going to school.

He also says that his party has increased the amount of money that is given to provinces and territories for their educational systems. The Conservative government has also given tax credits to students and enhanced Registered Education Saving Plans (RESPs).

But the other candidates in the Oshawa riding disagree with Carrie’s position.

Liberal Tito-Dante Marimpietri says, “I hear from a number of students that it costs more for their loans than it would for a house that they are purchasing.”

Marimpietri says the Liberal party thinks there should be a national strategy to help make tuition more affordable.

The Liberal party also will take a look at what costs are being burdened onto students and try to eliminate some of those, says Marimpietri.

Meanwhile, Michael Dempsey of the Green Party says his is one of the first parties to try and eliminate tuition for post-secondary education, so that debt doesn’t become an issue.

He says the Green Party is also looking into implementing a debt forgiveness program to help graduates get rid of their student debts.

Dempsey also says that by eliminating tuition, it will not only reduce post-secondary education cost by half but also will allow students to focus their finances by taking care of the things they need most like food, clothing and housing.

NDP candidate Mary Fowler believes there should be adequate funding to post-secondary institutions so then the burden doesn’t fall onto students.

“It’s very unfortunate that under the Conservatives, debt load of students has been very much ignored, instead of increasing taxes to our largest corporations, they’ve chosen to ignore the struggles that these young people are facing as they exit post-secondary institutions,” Fowler says.

Some of the other topics that were talked about at the debate included: youth unemployment, making public transit better, promoting post-secondary education, the environment and pensions for seniors. The debate attracted a crowd of about 100 people including students and community residents.

A Durham riding candidates debate took place after. The candidates for the Durham riding includes, Erin O’Toole (Conservatives), Derek Spence (NDP), Corinna Traill (Liberal), Stacey Leadbetter (Green Party) and Andrew Moriarity (Christian Heritage).