John Wesley Chisholm talks student debt

PC Party electoral candidate for Halifax-Chebucto says biggest issue for students: debt

John Wesley Chisholm answers his own phone. After a dozen cold calls answered by media managers, public relations people, and volunteers with a phone – it was surprising. It was so unexpected, that the first 30 seconds of the interview was establishing that it was in fact, Chisholm on the phone. John Wesley Chisholm answers his own phone.

“The biggest issue facing students today is debt,” says Chisholm. “At the exact moment in life when people should be free to pursue big ideas, big dreams and take chances and start new things. The smartest, brightest and best educated among us are burdened with a mountain of debt.”

His solution has two parts:

The first would be a Nova Scotia Youth Corps. Education could be paid for with public service instead of money. A year spent in the civil service would then earn a person a year’s free tuition. The positives of this program would be that tuition can be paid for without incurring debt and people who have spent time in public service would be more invested in the province. The program would also pay a salary. The negative is that right now it has a minimum of two years in the program.

The other half of the debt solution would be a modern debt jubilee.

“It’s a super old timey, like, old testament old-timey notion of forgiving problems, grievances, and debt,” said Chisholm.

A debt jubilee would mean that a student’s obligation to pay back a loan would disappear.

“Here’s the big downside,” he said. “Convincing people the problem costs more than the solution.”

The cost of forcing students into debt to go to university is far greater than any solution involving free tuition.

He wants to make sure that the end goal of our education, from kindergarten all the way to PhD is clearly defined. Which makes sense. If we don’t know what we’re aiming for, how can we hit it?

His ideas to solve student issues are not currently part of the PC platform.

“I came into this to bring in new ideas for Nova Scotia,” says Chisholm. “New ideas are delicate things and can get destroyed with a furrowed brow or sigh or sideways look. I’m hoping that I can be amongst the first politicians in generations to bring genuinely new ideas in and get them treated the way they should be.”

He joined the PC party for this election because he genuinely believes that the PC party in this election is the best one to foster new ideas.

“Cynicism will not bring me down, it’s not how I work,” says Chisholm. “I’m 100% positive that Nova Scotia’s best times are ahead.”

According to, “If you are a Canadian citizen who will be 18 years or older on election day and have lived in Nova Scotia for six months before the day the election was called, you can vote!”

To find out if John Wesley Chisholm is a candidate in your electoral district look up your civic address on Elections Nova Scotia’s website here.

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Matt Stickland

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