Parliament defeats NDP motion

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By Jeffrey Ferrier

A private member’s motion to get banks out of the student loan business was defeated in Parliament.

Libby Davies, the NDP’s post-secondary education critic, introduced a motion last week that called on the federal government to “reverse the privatization of student loans, support national grants and establish accessibility as a national standard for post-secondary education.”

Davies believes the government, not banks, should be responsible for the collecting of student loans.  But she wasn’t successful in passing the motion, which was defeated 218 to 35.

Davies, who introduced a private member’s bill in early October that would repeal changes made to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, says she plans to continue working to get that bill passed.

The act makes graduates wait 10 years after graduating before they can declare bankruptcy on student loans, whereas in the past the wait was only two years.

The introduction of the private member’s bill followed an announcement by the Canadian Federation of Students, who plan to launch a Charter challenge against the act, saying it discriminates against graduates.

The CFS earlier reported it would file the challenge in late November, but national chair Elizabeth Carlyle says they can’t go ahead with the challenge until a graduate’s application for bankruptcy is rejected.  And that may not be until the middle of 1999, Carlyle said.

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