Volume 96, Issue 94
Thursday, March 27, 2003

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Paul Martin likes 'em young, Web site says

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff


Have you ever felt that voting is a waste of time? That Canadian politicians are out of touch with the common voter? Paul Martin feels your pain.

A Web site was recently launched with the specific intention of encouraging students to get involved with Paul Martin's bid for the leadership of the federal Liberal Party.

"[This Web site] is a way for young Canadians who don't view themselves as just a demographic to express their political will," said Chris Cowley, president of the University of Western Ontario Liberal Association.

The Web site is a way for students to not only get informed about Martin's campaign, it is also a way for them to join the party, said Marlene Floyd, the national youth director for Martin's campaign. It will give them a chance to vote in the upcoming leadership campaign in November, she added.

"The deadline to sign on to the Liberal Party [and vote in November] is June 20," Floyd said. "The Web site was launched at this time to make sure youth on campus had the ability to get in under the wire."

At the November leadership vote, student voters will be important because they could make up more than a third of delegates in attendance, Floyd said.

Students are important to Martin, she explained, adding he was a member of the Young Liberal Club when he attended the University of Toronto.

"The idea of reaching out to youth is something extremely positive," said Josh Morgan, University Students' Council VP-education, while noting the importance of youth involvement in the political process.

"The USC stance is one that encourages all students to do as much research as possible before deciding who their vote will go to," Morgan said. In addition the USC SmartVote program will be extended to the federal level in time for a federal election, he added.

Cowley applauded Martin's attempt to reach out to students and actively receive their opinions.

"Paul Martin's office in Ottawa has been constantly in touch with [the Liberal Association of Western]," he said, adding this shows a real concern for issues important to students. Often students do not feel like they are heard in the Canadian political arena, Cowley added.

Whether to get informed, participate in the political process or just to look at amusing pictures of Martin kissing babies, check out his new site at www.youthformartin.ca.

–with files from Paolo Zinatelli.

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