Students, graduates upset about axing of Rebate by Liberals

April 8, 2014

(Halifax, NS) Students and young grads say the Liberal government’s decision to cut the Graduate Retention Rebate could force them to leave Nova Scotia to find work elsewhere.

“I’m a nurse and in the last seven days Stephen McNeil has made two decisions that are making it harder for me and my family to stay in this province,” says Amanda Parsons, a nurse who was receiving the Gradation Retention Rebate.

“On Friday he took away my fair collective bargaining rights with Bill 37, and in the budget he took money directly out of my household budget by cutting the Graduate Retention Rebate.”

Parsons says she is now applying for jobs in Newfoundland.

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says the Liberals’ decision to cut the Graduate Retention Rebate amounts to a massive tax increase for young Nova Scotians.

“Stephen McNeil obviously isn’t listening to what the Ivany Commission is proposing in regards to keeping young Nova Scotians from heading out west to find work,” asked MacDonald. “Instead he cut a program designed to keep graduates in Nova Scotia and took millions of dollars of out the pockets of young people. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Jake Rideout, owner of the Inquisitive Toy Company in Wolfville, says the Graduate Retention Rebate made it easier for him to stay in Nova Scotia and start a small business.

“The people receiving the rebate are Nova Scotia’s future leaders in government, in the private sector, and most importantly, in communities across our province,” said Rideout. “Eliminating student loan interest and implementing a hiring incentive comes nowhere close to replacing a program like the Graduate Retention Rebate. It’s yet another slap in the face to those of us who have stayed, found meaningful employment, started businesses and are going to lead our province in the years ahead.”

MacDonald is encouraging the Liberal government to reverse its decision to cut the Graduate Retention Rebate.

“I encourage everyone affected by the loss of this program to contact the Premier, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Advanced Education and impress upon them the negative impact this will have. There is still time for the Liberal government to change its mind,” said MacDonald.