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McGuinty talks shop
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Seeing is believing
McGuinty talks shop
By Mike Murphy
Provincial Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty came to speak to Western students yesterday, but despite his high-profile as the official opposition chief, only about 40 people showed up to hear what he had to say.
"I didn't want to come here today and do the usual opposition leader thing and just dump on the government," McGuinty said, in conclusion to his speech on possible new directions for Canadian health care delivery.
When he added, however, the Mike Harris government had given him ample reason to criticize them, the crowd applauded spontaneously.
During his address, which lasted about 45 minutes, McGuinty said there were many advantages to having a strong health care system like Canada's. "I like living in a country where the doctor says, 'How much does it hurt?' not 'How much have you got?'"
He added more innovative medicare delivery methods must be developed such as telephone and internet information services, health professional teams that ensure around-the-clock care and better smoking education programs.
While McGuinty focussed on health care, the audience members who questioned him mainly asked about post-secondary education, poverty and affordable housing.
Matt Rae, a second-year history major, said he was unimpressed by McGuinty's claim government should roll back tuition rates by 10 per cent.
"I was disappointed," Rae said. "Ten per cent is not sufficient. We've reached the point where people are making the decision not to go to university because of the policies of the Mike Harris government."
One student who stepped to the microphone, said McGuinty's criticisms of the Tory record on poverty were unfounded. The Liberal leader replied the Harris government was wrong to refuse cost of living increases to welfare recipients, while endorsing a 42 per cent raise for Members of Provincial Parliament.
"I think he ducked the question," said fourth-year honours history and politics student Brett McDermott, who asked the question.
Josh Morgan, who invited McGuinty to speak, said he was pleased with the way things went. "I thought it was a decent turnout. There was a good mix of questions," he said.
McGuinty shrugged off the less-than-packed house, saying he enjoyed the chance to interact with students. "I'm pleased with the numbers that did turn out. I'm always interested in having more young people, in particular, take an active interest."