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Interview with The Honourable Stéphane Dion

Written by Michael Hurley
Thursday, 19 February 2015
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As part of a series of interviews that Think Forward will be conducting with Members of Parliament and political party candidates heading into the 2015 Federal Election, Think Forward Managing Editor Michael Hurley recently spoke with Liberal MP Stéphane Dion to discuss a range of issues affecting Canadian youth, from rising tuition fees to unpaid internships to high youth unemployment.

The following is a transcript of the phone interview that Michael conducted with Mr. Dion earlier this month. 

Michael Hurley: One of the objectives that we're trying to achieve with Think Forward is to engage young people on social and political issues that are important to them, and to generate interest in politics among young Canadians heading into the 2015 Federal Election.

And so we do that in two ways: first, by exploring social and political issues that directly affect youth on our website and social media pages; and second, by recruiting high school and university students, recent graduates, and young professionals as guest columnists for our blog.

And two major concerns for today's students are the skyrocketing tuition fees that they have to pay when working their way through school, and the crushing debt that they face once they graduate.

So my question for you is: Does the federal government need to play a more prominent role in funding post-secondary education? And if not, what can be done to make college and university more affordable for students?

Stéphane Dion: Yes, as you know, the federal government plays an important role in providing student financial aid, and it's integral for the government to play this role.

In my own 2008 platform, when I was the leader of the Liberal Party, what we were proposing for student financial aid was very strong.

And now Justin Trudeau is insisting that we address rising costs for middle class families, including the cost of post-secondary education.

We are also concerned that the debtload that students are carrying right now is far too heavy. And so, I believe both of these issues will be addressed in our platform when the election starts.

We also feel that rather than implementing unfair tax breaks for the wealthiest 10 percent of families, as the Conservatives are proposing, we should instead invest in areas that will benefit all Canadians, and that includes making smart investments in education and improving access to education. And this will be a key issue for Mr. Trudeau heading into the federal election.



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