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How do the NDP’s policies affect students under new leader Jagmeet Singh?

Jagmeet Singh joined Jack Layton and Tommy Douglas as a Federal National Democratic Party leader who won on the first ballot. It’s unclear what his win will mean for students.

Singh’s main policy focus during the campaign was criminal justice reform due to his background as a defense lawyer. On his campaign webpage there are no policies directed at students.

His policies have a lot of the mainstays of NDP brand politics beyond justice reform; things such as policies to combat climate change, policies to get rid of LGBTQI2S+ discrimination, and anti-poverty.

On Oct. 4, 2017 MTLBlog wrote, “Another early promise from Singh’s platform is a fight against rising tuition fees. Better access to education is important as fees continue to rise.”

But Singh’s early platform no longer appears to be on his webpage, or the webpage of the NDP.

The Canadian Federation of Students gave all four leadership candidates a questionnaire.

In his answers, Singh’s plan is to get rid of all tuition fees for domestic and international students; free tuition would be covered by a dedicated “Post-Secondary Transfer.” This would be separate from the current transfer payments received by the provinces for social programs and capped at $15 billion in the first year. In subsequent years the transfer would increase based on inflation and enrolment numbers. It would be similar to the current Canada Health Act.

Singh also says he will create need-based grants to cover cost of living for those who could not afford cost of living to attend school. These are grants so they wouldn’t require repayment.

As for the current student loan burden, Singh says an NDP government would eliminate the interest on the federal portion of the student loans. He would also try and work with provinces to eliminate the provincial portion of interest. The loans wouldn’t be forgiven outright.

Singh would also eliminate unpaid internships in federally regulated sectors, such as broadcasting and telecommunications, or agriculture, food, forestry and fishing.

The NDP did not respond to an interview request in time for publication.




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