Student leaders respond to provincial campaign promises

With the provincial election less than three weeks away, the parties are doing what they can to appeal to young voters.

'In theory, it's a good idea': Jack Saddleback, students’ union president

The University of Saskatchewan campus. (@usask/Twitter)

With the provincial election less than three weeks away, the campaigning parties are doing what they can to appeal to young voters.

Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall announced two promises this week aimed at post- secondary students.

In theory, it's a good idea.- Jack  Saddleback

If re-elected next month, the Sask. Party pledges to bring a program called the First Home Plan. It would allow Graduate Retention Program recipients to put up to $10,000 of their unused GRP benefits toward the down payment on the purchase of a first home.

They also pledged to increase the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship from $500 to $750 per student, per year when the province's finances strengthen.

Student leaders weigh in

"In theory, it's a good idea," said Jack Saddleback, president of the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union. 
President of the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union Jack Saddleback. (Facebook)

He said these promises may be large, but some things such as the Graduated Retention Program shouldn't have changed in the first place.

"[For] those who are more in a difficult financial situation, that actual financial boost that came with the Graduate Retention Program was a huge help in regards to them being able to survive after graduation," said Saddleback.

He said it should be the students who are consulted for what needs to be done for post-secondary needs.

He said he would rather see promises of funds set towards making university more affordable and accessible for students living in northern Saskatchewan.

Money should go towards maintenance

"I don't think that anyone with $15,000 in student debt or $25,000 in student debt is looking to buy a house anyway," said Devon Peters, president of the Students' Union at the University of Regina.

Some people on campus jokingly refer to the tarps and hoses that catch and drain rain water into garbage buckets as 'catheters' at the University of Regina. (CBC)

According to Peters, money should be spent on helping students afford to go to school.

He said he would also like to see the capital budget for both campuses increased to help fix more immediate maintenance problems.

"I know it's not glamorous, but fixing the leaking roofs and the breaking down buildings is crucial," Peters said. 

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