Liberal Tim Tessier talked to students about election issues at a meet and greet with federal election candidates at Vancouver Island University Thursday.

Liberal Tim Tessier talked to students about election issues at a meet and greet with federal election candidates at Vancouver Island University Thursday.

Election 2015: Campaign promises target Nanaimo students

NANAIMO – The student vote could factor in the federal election, says a member of the Vancouver Island University Students' Union.

The student vote could be a factor in the 2015 Canadian federal election, says a member of the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union.

Patrick Barbosa, union spokesman, said issues like child care, rising tuition and the environment are issues of interest to students. The union is encouraging students to vote, he said.

“I don’t know who’s going to win the election, we can all make guesses, but chances are that it’s not going to be by a huge majority, so students getting out there and exercising their right to vote could have the potential to help choose who’s elected in our area,” said Barbosa.

Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP candidate, said her party has post-secondary students in mind with part of its election platform.

“One is making life more affordable, whether that’s re-investing in affordable housing, public transit, things that would make a difference right on the ground,” said Malcolmson. “We’re going to do what we can to partner with the provinces around reducing tuition fees for university. We’ve got platform announcements coming up on that really soon ….”

Paul Manly, Green Party candidate, said his party too has a policy that will benefit students.

“We have a policy to reduce tuition fees, step-by-step, incrementally until we eliminate them by 2020. Reduce student debt so that it’s capped at $10,000 and make sure people have access to post-secondary education, whether it’s trades or whether it’s university, but people need access to education,” said Manly.

Tim Tessier, Liberal candidate, said his party will create thousands of new co-op placements for students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business programs and by helping employers with a portion of the cost to fill the placements.

“We will develop or expand pre-apprenticeship training programs to help young Canadians gain the skills they need to enter high-demand trades,” Tessier said.

Mark MacDonald, Conservative candidate, said there are parties that are promising students free education and it’s difficult for students to look past that. Nothing is free though, he said.

“If students can understand that solid economic policy and giving people incentive to grow and move forward is the way to go, then they’ll vote for the Conservatives, but we’re not promising free education and I think those that do, they can say whatever they want because they’re in opposition, but no mistake about it, somebody has to pay for it,” said MacDonald.

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