Manley stresses education,
says Martin just talks "generalities"
By Anton Vidgen
|IF I LOOK DETERMINED
ENOUGH, MAYBE MARTIN WON'T WIN. John Manley talks to student supporters
in The Wave yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister
John Manley stopped by Western yesterday to talk with supporters and curious
observers about the ongoing federal Liberal leadership race and his vision
of reinvigorating post-secondary education in Canada.
Speaking to a student-heavy crowd at The Wave, Manley also the
current finance minister stressed the importance of a strong education
system to bolster Canada's economy and enrich the lives of its citizens.
"The vision that I've been trying to talk about around the country
over the last number of months is a Canada that is four things: intelligent,
innovative, inclusive and international," Manley said. "A big
piece of that puzzle has to revolve around education and access to education
and learning opportunities."
Manley said his platform calls for the creation of a Ministry of Innovation,
which would lay out a blueprint for strengthening the education system
and act as a much-needed federal link with the Council of Ministers of
Education. Coupled with a focus on early childhood education, post-secondary
education, distance learning and lifelong learning, Manley said those
objectives are key to making Canada an intelligent and innovative country.
Manley said his policy stance on education is clear, as opposed to one
of his leadership opponents, Paul Martin. "I don't think that, other
than generalities, [Martin] has said anything specific," he charged.
For Sheila Copps, Manley's other rival, he focused on their similarities
such as their belief that education should be a right, not a privilege.
Asked about Canada's reluctance to join the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Manley
said the lack of international consensus made it impossible for Canada
to support the action. The disagreement on the conflict should not be
viewed as a failure on the part of the United Nations, Manley argued,
but instead as simply a failure of countries to agree.
The back room deal-making at last weekend's federal Progressive Conservative
leadership conference was a very bad start for the Tories, Manley said.
"It's undermined [newly-elected PC leader] Mr. MacKay ability to
appear to be principled."
Supporters and observers alike were impressed by Manley's performance
Southwestern Ontario Youth Co-chair for Manley's campaign and former Western
student Josh Morgan said he was convinced early on of Manley's potential
as the future prime minister of Canada. "I've had the opportunity
to lobby both [Manley and Paul Martin] and quite frankly, Manley gave
better answers," he said.
Morgan said his involvement with the campaign stems from his firm belief
in Manley's commitment to empowering youth. "I think it's important
for youth to get involved in Manley's campaign.
Fifth-year film studies student Giovanni Paola said Manley has a lot of
promise. "He seemed genuinely sincere there wasn't political
fluff," he said. "I believe he'd be a great prime minister."