Volume 96, Issue 81
Wednesday, March 5, 2003

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Manley visits Mustangs stable

By Tait Simpson
Gazette Staff

It's not often that federal security guards can be found inside the office of the University Students' Council – but yesterday's visitor required just such a precaution.

Yesterday, John Manley, Finance Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and potential Liberal leadership candidate, made a brief appearance in the USC office inside the University Community Centre, to engage in a post-budget meeting with council members, including USC President Chris Sinal and some of the Board of Directors.

When asked about the Liberal party leadership, Manley said he would announce his leadership intentions "pretty soon," but would not be more specific for the small crowd of media and a handful of curious students who were on hand for a brief question period.

"I was in Winnipeg yesterday, explaining parts of the budget to Canadians. That process will wind down soon and then I will make a leadership decision," Manley said.

In response to a question regarding the availability of federal student loans, Manley said it is an evolving process in terms of getting more students access to the loans. "My children are in that group of students who don't qualify for loans right now. We've made improvements to the federal loan system that have increased access and we will continue to do so," Manley stated.

Manley's stay at Western was brief and was only scheduled last week when his officials called asking to meet with students, Sinal said.

"We spoke briefly for 20 minutes on a number of different issues," said Mike Rudd, USC VP-finance. "Post-secondary education was obviously brought up, as well as the new funding changes to the former Canada Health and Social Transfer, which is now split into two funding streams. In order to preserve post-secondary education funding, we'd like to see a third stream of funding created strictly for education."

"I don't understand why they would put Manley on the third floor of the UCC," said Darnel Miller, a third-year classical studies student. He should have held his appearance on the first floor and been more accessible to students."

Before speaking to USC members and the media, Manley and Western President Paul Davenport made it a bad day to skip a Business 257 class, as they walked into a class unannounced, startling students who were treated to a question and answer period, confirmed Marcia Daniel, senior media relations officer at Western.

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2002 THE GAZETTE