Volume 93, Issue 4

Wednesday, May 28, 1999


Senate revisions disable confusion

Western removes toxic substance

Post-secondary funding, taxes fuel debate

London population grows stagnant

OSAP repayment plan gets facelift

Birthday suits now welcome in mega city

Public suports more funding



In the city

Post-secondary funding, taxes fuel debate

By Stephanie Cesca and Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

With provincial and municipal election campaigns drawing to a close, candidates in the London North Centre riding were on hand this week to share their views with a student audience.

An on-air debate Tuesday at CHRW-FM 94.7, Radio Western set the stage for an all-candidates discussion where a range of questions, including taxation and post-secondary funding, were fielded.

New Democratic Party candidate Marion Boyd said she acknowledged she had been pitted against Progressive Conservative candidate Dianne Cunningham in the race for London North Centre. The winner will become the sole representative of what was previously two separate ridings. "Both of us have cabinet experience. Both of us have opposition experience," she said

Boyd explained the NDP's major issue was a removal of the 30 per cent tax cut to the wealthy, which would create $1.5 billion to be re-invested into the economy.

She added the NDPs have pledged to reduce university and college tuition fees by 10 per cent in response to concerns about post-secondary accessibility. "We believe greater accessibility is essential to ensure money does not become the barrier," she said.

Although Cunningham was not in attendance at the debate, her spokesperson, Steve Coats, cited an eight per cent increase in overall applications to post-secondary institutions as an indicator accessibility was not in danger of diminishing.

"The PC party funds the bulk of post-secondary educations, but we do feel students should have the opportunity to pay for their educations," he said, adding the Ontario Student Assistance Program has received a 33 per cent increase in funding over the last four years. "Students bear 35 per cent of the cost of their educations. We think that's fair."

Coats said the PCs have given students more job opportunities. "We've managed to make some tough decisions that have resulted in the creation of 546,000 jobs in the last four years," he said. "Tax cuts create jobs."

Boyd said since the election comes at a time when many Western students have left the city, it may be hard to peg how many would be likely to vote. "It's difficult for students since they are in a period of transition. We're urging students to get themselves on the voters' list," she said.

With the London North Centre riding encompassing the university and its surrounding area, the candidates acknowledged the importance of student participation by voting. "It's going to be a very close race that will depend on absolutely every vote," Boyd said.

Sid Noel, a Western political science professor who provided a post-debate commentary, said while the candidates' on-air time to respond to their questions may have been insufficient, the leading candidates still hammered away at their platforms. "The debate was overwhelmed by the health and education mantra," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999