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Alcohol education 101
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Caught on Campus
Budget on meeting agenda
By Stephanie Cesca
Students who wish to express their concerns regarding the upcoming 2000 federal budget are urged to voice their opinions in a town hall meeting at London's City Hall tonight.
Kevin Concannon, executive assistant for Pat O'Brien, Member of Parliament for London-Fanshawe, said the event was organized so all of the MPs in London, including Joe Fontana for London East and Sue Barnes for London West, could ask their constituents for their pre-budget opinions.
These ideas, Concannon added, will be addressed to the federal government before formulating the budget. "It's pretty well open the MPs are there to listen," he said.
Concannon added students are also welcome to put in their two cents during this annual meeting.
Scott Reid, communications director for Finance Minister Paul Martin, said all constituents, including students, should attend the meeting if they have something to say.
Reid added Martin takes the advice in the reports the MPs formulate from their constituents very seriously. "He really was the person that originated it," he said of the meetings. Reid added Martin encourages all constituents to meet with their MPs at such meetings.
Post-secondary education has been an issue where the minister has felt much pressure in the past, Reid said. "Certainly it was a focus in the preface of the 1997 budget."
Reid also said Martin plans to spend a lot of future time on the road, gathering up as much feedback as he can, while he hits all the provinces.
Reid said Londoners will probably see the minister in the near future. "I'd be shocked if another year went by and we didn't come to London," he said.
"Bring everybody you can there," said Joel Harden, Ontario chair for the Canadian Federation of Students. "We have a post-secondary education system that's teetering towards the American system. The more Paul Martin hears that from his constituents, the more impact."
Harden added this is an important time for students to pressure the federal government. "They never take flack for some of the things they've done to the Canada Student Loans Program," he said.
Harden said the $12 billion federal surplus made this year a golden opportunity for students to get their voices heard.
Mark Kissel, VP-education for the University Students' Council, said an invitation has been extended to him by O'Brien's office to attend tonight's meeting.