Madam Speaker, let me begin, as I have on a number of other occasions, by reminding the hon. member that education, including the establishment of tuition fees, is the responsibility of the provinces.
The Government of Canada cannot intervene directly in this matter. That is not to say, however, that this government does not recognize the financial difficulties of students. We do and we are taking action. The Government of Canada has been listening to concerns of young Canadians who are anxious about job prospects and about the level of student debt.
In addition to supporting post-secondary education through fiscal transfers, the Government of Canada provides support of $1.4 billion to 340,000 post-secondary students through the Canada student loans program.
In terms of student debt, the government took a number of important measures in the last budget to help ease the debt burden. One was the interest relief that was extended from 18 months to 30 months. Education credits have been enriched. The registered education savings plan has been increased from $2,000 to $4,000 to help parents save for their children's education.
Students will also benefit from greater opportunities to pursue research careers in Canada through the creation of the $800 million Canada Foundation for Innovation.
In the throne speech the government also promised to continue to reduce barriers to post-secondary education through further changes to the Canada student loans program, increased assistance for students with dependants and new scholarships to encourage excellence and to help low and moderate income Canadians attend university or college.
On Tuesday the budget will be before the people of Canada. Obviously we would not be talking in the Speech from the Throne of ways of helping students if we had no intentions of following through on our commitment. The member opposite should wait until Tuesday to see where this government goes.