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

PHOTOS: Powder Blues perform in Mission

Tom Lavin and The Powder Blues packed the Clarke Theatre on Sunday

PHOTOS: Mission dancers shine at annual show

Can Dance Studio celebrated its 30th anniversary with the “United We Dance” end of season showcase

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

PHOTOS: Dads, car enthusiasts flock to annual show

Mission’s Old Car Sunday in the Park takes place every year on Father’s Day, thousands come out

Parents of Mission murder victim want personal belongings returned

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

As wildfire season approached, Metro Vancouver experts predict the air will be an issue for many

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Update: Multiple fires along the railway tracks in Pitt Meadows

CP rail has closed tracks while firefighters work

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

Most Read