NDP Leader Singh pledges to forgive student debt during campaign stop in Sudbury
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was at Laurentian University on Saturday to support Sudbury candidate Nadia Verrelli and her push to become the next federal representative in what is sure to be a highly contested riding.
A former Laurentian University professor, Verrelli was laid off as part of the school’s restructuring in April that saw over 100 faculty members lose their jobs.
With her first return to the campus since her position was terminated, Verrelli welcomed Singh to the steps of the University of Sudbury where the two wasted no time in criticizing the Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau for not stepping in to save jobs at Laurentian.
"Trudeau's Liberals refused to stand up for students, Trudeau's Liberals refused to stand with the professors, with the staff, with the Francophones, with the indigenous communities," said Verrelli at the press conference.
"Trudeau’s Liberals refused to stand with this community. It was the NDP that held press conferences. It was the NDP that attended the SOS meetings and heard our stories."
For his part, Singh doubled down on Verrelli’s statement and says that Trudeau turned his back on northern Ontario when they needed him most.
"This is a center for Sudbury, of course, in the surrounding area. But it's actually very vital for the North and losing Laurentian and the cuts that have already happened are a devastating blow to indigenous communities, to Francophone communities, and to people in the North who want to learn here, want to stay here. This has been a serious blow," said Singh.
The federal New Democrats were granted an emergency debate regarding Laurentian University in the House of Commons, where much of the country learned of the massive staffing and program cuts seen at Sudbury's largest public insitution.
Joined by several northern party representatives, Singh also laid out his plan to assist students across the country by cancelling interest from federal loans and forgiving student debt.
"What we're going to do for students, we’re going to permanently remove all interest from federal loans for students immediately and permanently. We also know that students are dealing with record levels of debt, far more debt than any of us when we went to university," he said.
"Students are struggling when they graduate. So we want to go beyond just forgiving or for eliminating entirely interest. We want to also forgive student debt to help young people to give them that first step, to make sure that they are not being crushed under the weight of that debt we're going to forgive student debt as well."
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