Raj Sherman has been the MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark for the past 13 years. Formerly a Tory MLA and a parliamentary assistant to the minister of health and wellness, he was kicked out of the Progressive Conservative caucus after writing an email that condemned the Progressive Conservative government and Alberta Health Services for their decisions on healthcare and emergency room wait times.
Sherman said the number one issue facing young Albertans is "affordable housing, the cost of tuition and books, and the fact that class sizes are getting larger."
He said there needs to be more professors and support staff in schools, whether it is in grade school or university.
"When you are done your education, the question is what kind of jobs do you have to look forward to?" he said, using the example of the layoffs that are occurring in the education field.
Sherman says the high cost of living and education is felt most by those studying away from home.
Many students are living at the poverty line. He said "access to student loans, grants, and loan remissions would be beneficial. Students are graduating with an extraordinary amount of student loans."
Sherman said the way he would address the situation would be to sit down with students and universities.
"If government doesn't fund the institution they are going to raise your tuition and raise your fees to fund it," he said. "We are one of the wealthiest provinces in the nation, with some of the highest tuition fees and a high cost of living."
Sherman mentioned he has a son in grade 12 and a daughter in her second year of university, so he can understand the difficulties of affording education.
"With the amount of prosperity we have in this great province, I believe young people need a better chance at achieving their dreams. The system should be there for them.Cost should not be a barrier."