The Liberals unveiled their first batch of election promises this morning in Charlottetown, targeting university and college students in their first week of classes.
Premier Robert Ghiz pledged to eliminate interest on the provincial portion of existing student loans for those who remain on the Island. That includes existing outstanding loans and all future loans.
He also promised to introduce a new $2,000 bursary for students in their final year of study and to increase the existing first-year George Coles bursary by $200.
Ghiz said he wanted to focus his first election announcement on education because he believes investing in higher learning is an investment in the future of the province.
“Unlike some other jurisdictions, we are not blessed with oil, timber or precious metals. Here on the Island our greatest resource is our people,” Ghiz said to a room filled with media and the entire Liberal caucus.
“Making sure Islanders have the best possible access to educational programs will pay long-term dividends for generations to come.”
The Liberal candidates will be spending the day doing door-to-door campaigning in their districts. Many of them told The Guardian this would be their first opportunity to devote dedicated time at their constituents’ doorsteps.
Ghiz, however, will be spending much of his day in the ridings formerly and currently occupied by the Opposition Tories. He will begin in Progressive Conservative Leader Olive Crane’s riding of Morell-Mermaid, campaigning with Dan MacDonald.
He will then join Liberal candidate Kevin Gotell in Georgetown-St. Peters, the riding formerly held by Mike Currie. Currie resigned earlier this spring to make an unsuccessful bid to unseat Liberal Lawrence MacAulay in the federal riding of Cardigan.
Later this afternoon, Ghiz plans to head to the Montague-Kilmuir district to campaign alongside Allan Roach in the riding previously held by Jim Bagnall, who chose not to reoffer this time around.
Tonight, the whole Liberal caucus will reunite in Charlottetown for Ghiz’s nomination meeting at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel.
Check out tomorrow’s Guardian for more details on the Liberals’ post-secondary education promises and for coverage of Ghiz’s nomination meeting.