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Overselling small programs damages premier's credibility, says Dix

It's a mistake for Premier Christy Clark to try and sell a $700,000 announcement as a "pillar" of her agenda, said NDP Leader Adrian Dix.

Yesterday Clark announced a joint plan with the federal government that will reduce the amount of money people have to pay back on their student loans depending on their income.

In a news conference and press release Clark described the plan as the third pillar in her families first agenda. The first pillar included policy changes to the provincial welfare system that are anticipated to cost $5 million a year. The second pillar was $66 million to fund 168 anti-gang police officers for more three years.

Clark's 9 a.m.. announcement didn't say how much the student loan reductions would likely cost the government, but an advanced education ministry spokesperson provided the $700,000 figure late in the afternoon. The amount will likely rise over time, he said.

Government announcements don't have to cost a lot to be meaningful, but this one was small considering it was supposed to be about helping people out financially, said Dix. "Calling that a 'pillar' is a bit of an exaggeration," he said. "To try to dress it up I think is a mistake."

The government's wider budget anticipates spending of just under $44 billion this year.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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