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This article was published 16/9/2009 (3198 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
NDP leadership candidate Greg Selinger vowed Wednesday to help lighten the financial burden for post-secondary students by fast-tracking income tax refunds on school tuition.
Selinger said, if elected party leader, he would let students collect rebates on tuition fees while they were still attending classes. Now, those rebates are paid after graduation to students who remain in the province.
He told reporters Wednesday the revisions would give students intending to live and work in Manitoba more money in their pockets when they need it most.
"The bottom line is you get it (the refund) when you need it," he told reporters Wednesday, using the student cafeteria at College universitaire de Saint Boniface as a backdrop.
Sid Rashid, president of the University of Manitoba Students' Union, welcomed the announcement.
"It's effectively turning a back-end tax credit into a front-end grant," he said of the Selinger proposal.
Rashid said the financial barriers to university are still huge for many students, with some forced to drop out after taking on two or three jobs and others unable to attend at all due to the cost.
"Any measure to relieve the upfront financial barriers to post-secondary education, whether that's through tuition fee controls, reductions, grants, I think that's all positive for students and their families,"
A day earlier, one of Selinger's rivals for the leadership, Steve Ashton, said he would reinstate college and university tuition freezes for at least two years. That put him at odds with a Doer government decision last spring to end its decade-long tuition freeze.
Selinger rejected reinstituting tuition freezes on Wednesday, preferring to aid students with what amounts to be an advance on an income tax refund. If a student decides to leave the province upon graduation, that refund would become a loan that must be repaid. Students would have to remain in the province for up to six years to keep the full tax benefit.
"The advantage of this program is it doesn't interfere with the tuition setting policy of the institutions, but it allows you to get 60 per cent of the (tuition) money back when you graduate, with an advance during the time you're going to school," Selinger said.
THE MLA for Minto got an endorsement from the largest private-sector union in the province — United Food & Commercial Workers Local 832 — at an event Wednesday in Brandon.
"Andrew is what we need as leader of the NDP and premier of Manitoba. He offers us the best opportunity to bring the NDP to victory in 2011," the union's president, Robert Ziegler, said in a statement. "Once our members and the rest of Manitoba see Andrew's dedication and ability to lead, they'll know why we're endorsing him," said Ziegler. who is co-chair of the premier's economic advisory council.
Swan also announced Wednesday that he would exempt companies from paying the payroll tax on wages paid to apprentices and journey persons.
"When employers hire apprentices they take on a huge responsibility for training. I want to encourage employers to take on more apprentices to meet our current and future labour market needs," he said.
Ashton made a TV commercial Wednesday morning, met with his campaign team at noon and then flew to Thompson, an official with his campaign said.
The Thompson MLA issued a statement late in the day which claimed that he was the only candidate to support a tuition freeze for post-secondary students.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.