B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson (Black Press)

B.C. Liberal leader says students should pay interest on loans

NDP move to eliminate interest encourages debt, Andrew Wilkinson says

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson’s opposition to interest-free B.C. student loans is sparking an online backlash similar to his recent remarks about renting being a “fun” time of transition.

Wilkinson questions the move in the NDP government’s recent budget to eliminate interest from the B.C. portion of student loans, arguing that it may encourage young people to take on more debt than they can handle. He said financing is important for students, but removing interest from loans is “probably not the right way to go about it.

“My own experience is running into students who have $80,000 in student debt who haven’t completed their degree,” said Wilkinson, referring to his time as advanced education minister in the Christy Clark government.

“I paid tens of thousands of student loans myself to get through medical school, and student loans are a very important part of our education system,” said Wilkinson, who trained as a doctor in Alberta before obtaining a law degree in Britain as a Rhodes scholar. “The concern with the NDP taking the interest off them completely is that students in their early years may get a little carried away with how much they’re borrowing. If there’s no interest whatsoever, then students are likely to borrow more.”

READ MORE: Wilkinson under fire for comments on renting being ‘fun’

READ MORE: Students pleased with removal of B.C. student loan interest

NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon posted an audio clip on his Facebook page of similar comments by Wilkinson on RedFM radio in Surrey, where he questioned whether students would ever pay back debt if interest wasn’t accumulating.

“That’s like saying nobody pays back zero-interest loans on cars,” said one commenter.

Others referred to Wilkinson’s recent comments on renting being a “wacky” and “fun” time for young people, for which he later apologized, saying he was referring to his own experience in his 20s.

Federally sponsored student loans are interest-free for the first six months after graduating, after which interest applies at above the prime rate.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

WildsafeBC comes to the Okanagan to reduce wildlife conflict

Bear activity on the Westside has been an issue in the past few weeks

Line up for Revelstoke Summer Street Fest announced

The line up for Revelstoke Summer Street Fest has been announced! Starting… Continue reading

Revelstoke Secondary School celebrates Pride Day

Students at Revelstoke Secondary School celebrated their first ever Pride Day on… Continue reading

BC Book Award finalists coming to Revelstoke Library

Two finalists of BC Book prizes will be visiting and reading at… Continue reading

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Okanagan city to give out fines for sitting on sidewalk

Residents of Penticton will soon be fined for sitting or laying on sidewalks

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

Pesticide use in Okanagan park prompts warning

Civilian goes out of his way to post caution signs

BC Wildfire Service to send 267 firefighters to Alberta

Sufficient personnel, resources remain in B.C. to respond to any fire activity

Car crashes into semi-truck in West Kelowna

Highway 97 heading northbound by Boucherie Rd. closed

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Most Read