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On May 2nd the BCIT Student Association and BCIT Faculty & Staff Association hosted a debate between representatives from the BC Liberals, BC NDP and BC Green Party. The debate centred around Advanced Education and the issues facing post-secondary students today. Below are a few topics that I found the most interesting, plus a full video recap courtesy of BCTSA Facebook Live.
Pre-voting for the 2017 BC Provincial Elections starts today on campus at BCIT Burnaby from 8am to 8pm and will continue until Saturday. On election day (May 9) voting stations will be open again on the Burnaby campus.
David Eby — NDP (Point Grey)
Peter Hallschmid — BC Green Party (Burnaby North)
Andrew Wilkinson — BC Liberals (Vancouver-Quilchena)
On making Advanced Education more affordable:
David Eby: Build more student housing on public land to decrease the cost of building, while adding a $15-dollar minimum wage in the area. This would keep students closer to school, cutting down on metro numbers and the new minimum wage would make it easier on people struggling with student debts and bills. Also get rid of interest costs on student loans to give people a chance to get a good start in life after
Andrew Wilkinson: Take down the interest rate of student loans by 50% with a 2.5% interest rate. We have the fourth most affordable education in BC.
Peter Hallschmid: Cut down on the cost of UPASS prices and make daycare and preschool free. Also add a $15-dollar minimum wage.
Summary: The three candidates all had similar messages in their answers. Cut down on this, cut down on that. Time will tell if this serious problem can climb the mountain that is student costs.
On low wages after graduation and the high cost of living:
Andrew Wilkinson– BC Jobs plan has created 2,200 jobs in the past 5 years leading Canada. Our economic record is very positive; the challenge we face is the rural urban economies are heading in a different situation with students ending up in more rural areas.
David Eby– Metro Vancouver’s economy is the worst in Canada because of rising costs and lower wages, negative discretionary income. There are very serious economic issues. BC Liberals have tax cuts in place for the top 2%.
Peter Hallschmid– Housing affordability, it’s our biggest problem, prices have sky rocketed. Nothing has been done to stop it. BC greens have a strong approach expanding foreign buyers tax to 30%.
Summary: BC NDP and the Green party agreed on changing regulations regarding costs of living. BC Liberals seemed to promote success in recent years, bringing more jobs to British Columbians. In terms of economy and jobs, Hallschmid did not have relevant facts.
On a plan to encourage more students to enter the trades:
Andrew Wilkinson– 700,000 retirements coming up in the next 8 years, we recognized this 4 years ago. We have added $3,000,000 towards trade. Spent 10’s of millions on trades training.
David Eby– There used to be a red seal program that the liberals defunded to add another project that has not paid off. You learn trades hands on, the premier had a throne speech about LNG, the trades training focused on this and the LNG program didn’t materialize.
Peter Hallschmid– Trying to diversify areas to encourage women to get into trades. We don’t have anything specific in the platform.
Summary: Same rhetoric as the previous question. BC NDP and BC Green seemed more eager to make changes to get more people into trades. BC Liberals came back with money spent on trades and people taking over for future retirees.
FINAL SUMMARY: This was not a debate between three candidates. The NDP and BC Liberals dominated the conversation, often leaving the Green Party candidate to remind listeners that there were three parties involved. Wilkinson was consistent throughout the debate attacking Eby, but Eby kept a cool head and often responded with facts instead of emotion.
Watch a video recap below taken Live on Facebook by BCITSA:
Former professional hockey player. Aspiring satirist and radio personality.