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.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Efforts to replace the aging Rutland Middle School have been put off by another year by the ministry of education. (File photo)
Education ministry won’t replace Rutland Middle School anytime soon

New Westside Secondary top priority for ministry of education

West Kelowna Warriors goaltender Roman Basran stood tall in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Vernon Vipers Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
Vernon Vipers fall to West Kelowna Warriors in shootout

Kelowna Rockets goalie Roman Basran helped the warriors to a 4-3 SO win Friday night.

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

City Park, Oct. 23. Image: Lynn Morran
Snow forces tunnel closure under W.R. Bennett Bridge

Branches from trees are breaking and falling across City Park

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Andrew Allen performed for two intimate crowds of 50 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Oct. 17. (Camillia Courts Photography)
Live events continue on North Okanagan stage

First Andrew Allen plays two sold-out shows, next up have a laugh with comedian Mike Delamont

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read