Volume 96, Issue 79
Wednesday, February 19, 2003

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Local activist to run for NDP

By Anton Vidgen
Gazette Staff

Fuelled by a desire to increase democratic participation, a London social activist has her sights set on the provincial New Democratic Party candidate nomination for the riding of London North Centre.

Julie Glaser, founder and co-ordinator of Western's Youth Anti-Violence Education Project and spokesperson for the London Homeless Coalition, said her campaign platform is geared towards "Revolutionizing democracy," stressing democracy must be revolutionized as much as it should evolve.

"It's looking at where we are as a community and where we are as a people," Glaser said of her platform, adding her knowledge of how campus and community groups operate have influenced her approach to corralling grassroots support.

"We are targeting specific groups of people through their associations," Glaser said, concerning her coalition-building efforts, while specifically mentioning the anti-globalization and antiwar movements as plausible targets.

Glaser, a supporter of federal NDP leader Jack Layton, said she believed the most important issues to students are affordable housing and rising tuition.

"Students have a very difficult time securing housing," Glaser said, adding she has witnessed an increase in students' use of homeless shelters in the London area.

The deregulation of tuition and the rising costs associated with getting a post-secondary education are the most troubling concerns for students and perpetuates a system of poverty for those who cannot afford the financial burden, Glaser said. "Everybody needs to be able to access an education," she added.

University Students' Council VP-education Josh Morgan said he is pleased to see Glaser is associated with Western, but noted the USC will foster a close relationship with whoever wins the election for London North Centre.

"No matter who wins, I look forward to inviting the candidate to campus to discuss their ideas regarding post-secondary education, so that our students can become better informed on where all the [political] parties stand," Morgan said.

Karla Baker, leader of the NDP party for Western's model Parliament, said Glaser's platform appeals to political activists and disenfranchised youth. "I definitely support her as a member of the NDP," Baker said, adding she believes Glaser would actively encourage youth to speak out on issues that directly affect them.

"As far as bringing about effective change, winning the riding and providing a strong voice in the province, Julie [Glaser] is the way to go," Baker said.

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2002 THE GAZETTE