October 1, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 19  

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NDP leader visits Fanshawe

By Anton Vidgen
Gazette Staff

With the Ontario election just a day away, New Democratic Party leader Howard Hampton stopped by Fanshawe College yesterday to thank his supporters and make a final pitch to Londoners to support their local NDP candidates.

Speaking to a cheering crowd of NDP supporters and curious students, Hampton said Ontario is ready for real change and his party was the only one capable of delivering on the promise.

"The Conservatives have been dismissed - the Liberals peaked about 10 days ago and now that they're losing strength and we've continued to gain momentum," he said. "People want to see real change."

Hampton attacked Liberal Party leader Dalton McGuinty's stance on hydro electricity, saying he altered his answer on the issue 15 times. "How can the people of Ontario trust [McGuinty]?" Hampton asked. He also charged the Liberals with engaging in fear-mongering tactics, saying McGuinty keeps alluding to the problems of the current government and how they would remain unless voters elected the Liberals.

"The Liberals are trying to get you to vote out of fear," Hampton said. "The people of Ontario want the politics of hope."

According to Hampton, over 50 per cent of Ontario voters are looking for a minority government, adding the NDP would hold the elected government accountable.

Throughout his speech, Hampton continuously mentioned the NDP's plan to reduce tuition fees by 10 per cent, raise the minimum wage to $8 and install a public auto insurance system - issues many Western and Fanshawe students in the crowd said were important to them.

Western third-year history student Dave Molenhuis said he was feeling the pinch from tuition, adding he might not be able to afford to attend law school. He said the NDP's platform recognized his concerns. "Howard Hampton has a pretty straight-forward plan."

However, second-year Fanshawe general arts student Chris Borges said he was wary of what Hampton's party could accomplish. "I don't trust the NDP because of Bob Rae," he said.

"He's right about the whole Conservatives-being-dead thing," said Nathan Coady, a first-year general arts student at Fanshawe. Coady said the NDP seem like they might actually win in London North Centre, the riding in which NDP candidate Rebecca Coulter is running.

"I think my chances are excellent," Coulter said. "We've started to get the phone calls that say we're winning in London North Centre."



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