Singh commits to cancel up to $20,000 in tuition in election campaign-style promise

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OTTAWA — New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh is renewing his pitch to young voters, pledging that an NDP government would cancel up to $20,000 in tuition.

Singh says that, if elected, he would also freeze federal student loan payments until the pandemic winds down and cancel interest on student debt.

The announcement, to be presented today as a campaign-style pledge ahead of a possible election this year, comes as federal parties prepare to battle it out for the hearts and ballots of young voters.

Statistics Canada found last fall that more than 60 per cent of post-secondary students were concerned about using up their savings and taking on more debt.

The Liberals imposed a moratorium on Canada Student Loan payments between last April and September, but the freeze has long since thawed and student groups have urged Ottawa to suspend interest obligations again.

Singh says the government has been "profiting off the backs of young people" by taking in more than $4 billion in interest payments since 2015.

"Young people are making student loan payments the size of mortgage payments — spending years under crushing debt, not able to get ahead. And the COVID-19 pandemic only made matters worse," he said in a statement.

“An education should help young people get ahead, not leave them further behind."

Singh also repeated his commitment to work with provinces and territories toward tuition-free post-secondary education.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press