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

Kelowna classroom where child allegedly overdosed re-opens after cleaning

An 8-year-old was unresponsive and unable to walk after ingesting an unknown substance at school.

Video: Rain doesn’t deter Terry Fox runners in Salmon Arm

Dozens showed up to continue the Canadian icon’s marathon of hope.

Friends and family gather for Parkinson SuperWalk in Salmon Arm

Word on the street: How has Parkinson’s Disease affected you or your family?

Vote online to help light up the Larch Hills

Larch Hills Nordic Society competing for Kraft Heinz Project Play funding

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Road block was costly legal battle for Summerland

Resolving Garnet Valley dispute took six years

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Most Read