Many young families are wondering if their children will be able to afford post-secondary education in the future, said Lisa Hilton as she met with NDP leader John Horgan in Williams Lake this week.
“We are able to put aside a bit of money for the boys’ future because my husband’s a dental therapist, but for many people we know, that’s not an option,” Hilton said. “Many of our friends are just barely making it.”
Horgan and NDP finance spokesperson Carole James were in the lakecity for two days this week, on a mission to hear from families.
They hosted a public meeting at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre on Monday that drew around 30 people where residents raised concerns about a lack of services for mental health, seniors and those on disability pensions just to name a few.
On Tuesday the two met with Hilton and her three small sons at a local coffee shop.
Horgan said tuition fees have doubled and B.C. has the highest rate of interest on student loans.
“Our government borrows the money at one per cent and turns around and charges students three and a half percent interest,” James said.
Last month the provincial government passed a bill that will see people who are delinquent on student loans unable to renew a driver’s licence, Horgan added.
On top of rising student costs, MSP premiums, camping fees, and hydro fees have also increased.
“At our public meeting last night we heard that some seniors are worried they won’t be able to afford utilities,” Horgan said.
Horgan and James described Hilton’s demographic as the Sandwhich Generation, meaning they are concerned about their aging parents and their children’s futures.
Hilton doesn’t have ties to the party and Horgan said he and James have been visiting non-incumbent ridings not to make mischief, but to gather information so they can tell the stories of families.
“We heard last night that people feel they either voted for us the whiners or the Liberals who are the cheerleaders,” he said.
James said people don’t expect government to solve all their problems, but they don’t expect government to make things tougher.
At Monday evening’s meeting, Horgan said his party learned a lot from their last campaign loss and are gearing up for a fight to win the next election.