“The flip side of the coin is fiscal policy, you have to bring those things together, which we will do in the platform.” – David Coon
Article by: ADAM HURAS
Photo by: BNI archive
New Brunswick’s Green Party has passed a new policy proposal that would give even more financial help to post-secondary students on top of free tuition that’s being paid out under a new program launched by the provincial Liberal government.An annual general meeting held by the party in Saint John saw its membership get behind a resolution that is critical of the Gallant government’s tuition program for not going far enough.
The new policy plank could now find its way into the party’s platform ahead of the looming September provincial election. “That will be up to me and my team in terms of what the platform actually looks like,” Green Party Leader David Coon said in an interview.
The Gallant Liberals introduced its Tuition Access Bursary in 2016, offering free tuition for students who attend publicly funded post-secondary institutions whose family’s gross annual income is less than $60,000 a year. It followed that up with a second program that pays a portion of tuition for students of families that make more than $60,000.
To pay for it, the Liberals scrapped an existing tuition tax rebate program that paid back up to $20,000 to graduates who stayed in the province and worked after graduation.“These programs, however, only apply to the costs of tuition, and not the many other associated costs with a post-secondary education such as materials, transportation, and living expenses,” reads a Green policy voted on over the weekend.
A new policy plank of the party now calls for additional funding for public post-secondary educational institutions in New Brunswick “to enable them to offer tuition-free access for all academically-qualified New Brunswick residents.”
It then goes a step further, stating that a Green government would provide all New Brunswickers enrolled full-time with a “minimum monthly stipend to assist them in meeting their living and other expenses during two academic terms each year.” The same policy also calls for interest-free loans for students needing even more financial help.
Coon said the added resolution was the work of a party policy group.“The flip side of the coin is fiscal policy,” Coon said. “You have to bring those things together, which we will do in the platform.”
The weekend annual general meeting also saw the party pledge to safeguard private sector pensions, if elected into power, among a series of other policy proposals.The party also unveiled a new song written by one of its members at an evening gala.