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Nova Scotia Green party leader worried university becoming a business

Thomas Trappenberg of the Green party thinks university is too expensive

Thomas Trappenberg is the leader for the Green party. He is also the only leader to accept the Gazette’s request for an interview, which he did so from Alaska.

According to Trappenberg, the biggest issue for students?

“Clearly the student debt. Universities are too expensive.”

Trappenberg thinks that universities should be more of a public institution and less of a business.

Like Willison, Trappenberg believes that subsidies for industries such as the Oil and Gas industry – ones that can be self-sustainable in their financing – should be cut. Instead of subsidizing, governments should be putting that money into university education.

“I think we also need a better two-tier system,” says Trappenberg. “Not everybody has to go to university. Some people are not happy there. So we need a much better professional system.”

Trappenberg says that the Green Party would reduce tuition, and invest in the professional system by using the money from shifted subsidies. The professional system being like NSCC and apprenticeships that prepare young people for a specific trade or profession.

The Green party believes that MLA’s should represent their constituents first and foremost. Voting within the Green party, should they be elected, will not be whipped, meaning the MLA’s won’t be forced to vote party lines.

Being party leader does not allow an MLA to adequately represent the constituents who voted them in.

Trappenberg has considered the challenge of being a party leader and an MLA. On a personal level, he’s “thought about it. If I’m elected someone else should take on the leadership.”

On a party level, the Green party wants to see a mixed-member proportional system such as the one that was voted on in PEI.

“Our system is all so, leader-centric, it makes them little kings,” says Trappenberg. “Why do we have a democracy?”

With a mixed-member proportional system candidates can represent the best interests of their constituents, or party depending where they are running. It would remove some of the tension that an MLA can face if the best interests of their constituents go against the best interests of their parties.

“I’m very concerned that [university] has become a business,” says Trappenberg. “I’m shocked that the youth unemployment rate is so high. Sometimes I joke that if you get a degree your likely-hood to get a job is even less.”

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Matt Stickland

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