04/18/2013 09:11 EDT | Updated 06/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Adrian Dix promises more education, childcare funding

B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix made several stops on Vancouver Island today, including one in Comox where he promised to pump almost $700 million into education and child care over the next three years if elected.

Dix told a crowd of parents and children who were at his announcement that 12 years of Liberal cuts and confrontation has left British Columbia with too many overcrowded classrooms.

He promised an NDP government would spend $372 million over three years, including $265 million to hire new teachers, counsellors, education assistants and librarians. He said the money could be used to hire up to 1,000 specialized classroom assistants.

"If you look at what's happened over the last 10 years, education has unfortunately been a battleground, and kids have suffered, and so we have to change that and that's what this plan seeks to do," he said.

Dix promised to spend another $100 million to reduce fees at existing licensed infant and toddler care facilities by 20 per cent and save families up to $2,000 a year.

An NDP government would also redirect the Liberals $300 million RESP fund into an Early Years Innovation Fund, said Dix, but he was short on details for the program when questioned by reporters.

Comox Liberal candidate Don McRae, who also happens to be the Education Minister Don McRae, then just happened to drop by the NDP event to defend the RESP fund. The two had a friendly chat before going their separate ways.