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January 16, 2015

Another promise made & kept:

In Budget 2013, Today’s BC Liberals laid out a clear plan to help families start saving for their children’s post-secondary education. This plan, coming in the form of a Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) grant was promised to be up and running by 2015.

Well – it’s just 2 weeks into 2015, and already, that promise has been upheld.

During a visit to Emily Carr University earlier this week, Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson announced that government is on track to contribute a $1,200 grant into eligible children’s RESPs by as early as August of this year.

This is huge considering that more than 78% of tomorrow’s jobs will require some form of post-secondary education and training.

Post-secondary education or training can unlock a world of opportunity for students,” said Minister Wilkinson, who encouraged families with eligible children to apply for the grant later this year as an incentive to get saving for the future.

Like most important investments, higher education takes discipline and prudent planning to properly finance. That’s why Today’s BC Liberals are committed to making decisions today that benefit all of us tomorrow; we want to leave the next generation with mountains of opportunity – not piles of debt.

But not everyone supports and appreciates this foresight. Take the NDP, for example, who opposed this grant in favour of spending that money now while abandoning any sort of plans for the future. Can’t remember the NDP’s position on the grant? Hopefully this campaign memory will bring you back:

That was premier-hopeful Adrian Dix making very little sense while failing to answer questions regarding what he’d do with the money Today’s BC Liberals have allocated to make important investments in the next generation.

A few weeks after that beauty of a blunder, the NDP finally got it together to outline their idea (very vaguely) in this so-called “reality check.”

The reality is, however, that British Columbian families dodged a very expensive and ineffectual bullet by voting Today’s BC Liberals in 2013. Allow me to explain:

ndp 1
From BCNDP.ca

The New Democrats say they would “help students and children now” instead of “forcing parents to wait until 2024” – but fail to explain what the plan for now (or 2024) exactly is.

They also fail to address the fact that their reckless spending (running a four-year $790m deficit, to be exact) would put this generation of kids on the hook for the debt that would mount in the province from this increased spending, while driving away the future investments that fund family supporting programs. Student debt and provincial debt does not a bright future make.

ndp2

From BCNDP.ca

So wait – let’s get this straight – the New Democrats want to take nearly $300m worth of investment in our children’s future, and put it towards programs that already exist?

Yes, that’s correct – the NDP would put all their eggs in one early childhood basket, and ignore post-secondary planning, while Today’s BC Liberals, through balanced budgeting, are able to help parents now and in the long term.

For instance, look no further than November’s introduction of 1000+ new child care spaces across the province. In addition to these new spaces, government is committing to an additional 1,000 spaces under the B.C. Early Years Strategy by as soon as next spring. This builds on the approximately 107,000 spaces that government already supports throughout BC, and the $146 million government commits annually for child care subsidies. All that while still supporting parents in their savings for post-secondary.

Simply put: Today’s BC Liberals give families the freedom and flexibility to decide how they want to plan for their children’s future, while the New Democrats feel government should go ahead and decide what to do with your money (ahem – your children’s money).

I’ve said it before – if anyone can figure out this New Democrat logic, let me know.

Until then, I know the facts that are tested and true – it’s never too early for parents to get a jump start on making their kids’ dreams and career aspirations a reality.

If you’re a parent, I encourage you to explore your options and get thinking about the very best future for your kids or grandkids – it’s an easy few clicks here and here.

By Jillian Stead