Volume 94, Issue 39

Wednesday, November 8, 2000


Editorial Board 2000-2001

Local hopefuls show experience

Editorial Cartoon

Local hopefuls show experience

If you're tired of politics around here (and who can really say they're in that boat) then you might have come away from yesterday's municipal election forums in the University Community Centre Atrium feeling a little refreshed.

But not completely.

When London's Ward 1, 2 and Board of Control candidates came to Western to relay their reasons for seeking public office, it became very clear from the start they were serious about the task.

Unfortunately, the forum that took place on Western soil drew out as many students as there are in a retirement home bingo tournament. In fact, with few exceptions, the forum managed to draw out a sparse crowd of nearby London residents who were not students.

Understandably, the thought of municipal politicians coming to campus to deliver their shtick doesn't seem like the most appealing thing in the world to Joe and Jane Western. Student election forums draw out so few students as it is, why would they be interested in London City Council hopefuls?

Anyone who paid the forum more than a few minutes of attention would have immediately noticed the difference in tone with yesterday's municipal candidates, as opposed to those vying for student politics, we have come to hear each year.

Yesterday, questions were actually answered, instead of danced around as they are in student politics – there didn't seem to be any skating over the issues. The candidates actually had ideas instead of rhetoric and empty catch-phrases. Their experience, although not expressly stated, was implied through their knowledgeable answers.

In the end, the City of London will be happy if they turn out a meagre number of student voters in the upcoming elections. This is in part due to the notion that three-quarters of Western students reside out of town and if any of them feel obligated to vote, their priorities lie with their home town elections.

Perhaps, to get more students out to the polls, the candidates should have come to campus with more material pertinent to student concerns. Problems with landlords and city-wide programs such as trash collection, are issues they could have spoken to at greater length.

Still, budding young politicians at Western should have paid close attention to yesterday's forum – they could have learned how professionals tackle the job of relaying their jobs to the public

As well, by the end of their Western careers, students will have spent a substantial amount of time in London. While it's easy for students to lead an insulated life within campus walls, there are many important issues which require the City's help to solve.

Students aren't just students. They are consumers, family members, taxpayers and for as long as they live in the City of London, they are Londoners. They should vote like it.

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