Bill Sundhu: Personal Reflections on Student Debt and Jagmeet Singh’s Announcement
This is great news!
Jagmeet Singh and the NDP just committed to big step on student debt cancellation. This is overdue and will make a huge difference for millions of young Canadians. I want to tell you a quick personal story about why I’m so pleased to see our party act here.
I am the son of working class immigrants from India. My parents settled in Williams Lake, in the Cariboo. We had to work hard for everything. My dream was to go to university, but kids of immigrants whose parents worked in the mills weren’t expected to go to university. But, that’s what I did.
I started at UBC in the fall of 1976. My tuition was $482 that year. In today’s dollars that’s $2,152. I was able to pay for my education by working in saw mills during the summer. I graduated from UBC with zero debt.
The opportunity to go to UBC opened up an exciting world for me. I later went to law school in order to achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer, but I passed the bar with very little debt.
Young people today face a completely different reality. The Canada that allowed me to get an education without going into crushing debt has been disappearing for years. What happened?
Decades of cuts to Post Secondary Education (PSE) funding have led to skyrocketing tuition and post-secondary costs.
Student debt is a crisis in this country. Deep cuts to federal PSE funding from both Conservative and Liberal governments have forced whole generations into debt to get an education that is increasingly a necessity in today’s economy. This must change.
There’s one party that has the courage to tackle this crisis and help young people in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo and across Canada achieve their potential. That’s the NDP.
We’ll all benefit from cancelling student debt. I know that from my own experience.