Matthews in, Cunningham out as Liberals
By Emmett Macfarlane
I PROUDLY VOTE HOMER SIMPSON LEADER
OF THE FREE WORLD. A Western student drops his ballot for
London North Centre in the Unniversity Community Centre
Mirroring events across most of the province last night, the
Liberal Party was victorious in London North Centre, as Liberal
candidate and Western graduate student Deb Matthews became
the new member of provincial Parliament.
Matthews defeated incumbent and former Progressive Conservative
minister of training, colleges and universities Dianne Cunningham
and New Democratic Party candidate and Western education professor
"Guys, they're going to say I won this, but we won this," Matthews
said, adding she has some big shoes to fill after Cunningham
congratulated her. "When we took on this riding, we knew it
was going to be a tough fight."
Matthews further praised Cunningham, saying she paved the
way for women in politics.
Matthews said the Liberal platform was very clear. "There
will be a two-year freeze [on tuition]," she said. "We will
re-regulate [all] deregulated programs, reform [the Ontario
Student Assistance Program] and there will be a tuition waiver."
In reference to spending cuts made during the Conservative
government's reign, Matthews said those in need were hurt the
most and the Liberal government would reverse those changes.
Matthews said during her conversations with Londoners, she
found they were most concerned with the state of health care.
Education, environment, social problems, poverty and housing
were other important issues, she added.
"Provincially, there was a mood for change," said Dan Macdonald,
communications director for Cunningham. "But we didn't expect
such a sweeping victory for the Liberals," he added. "Once
a government has been in power a fair amount of time, [there
is] contention between government nd the media."
Macdonald said he would not change any strategy locally, but
noted last night's results might show negative campaigning
does not always work.
"The campaign was an amazing experience," Coulter said, adding
there was a steep learning curve. "You learn a lot about how
people think about politics." She added she would not be running
again in the future.
"The NDP will carry on as we always have," Coulter stated.
The party will remain a social conscience in the province,
she added. "I think with another major [Liberal] government,
[the NDP is] going to have it's work cut out for it."
"It'll be interesting to see how Dalton McGuinty and his party
will ruin the province of Ontario," said Moira Rushton, a second-year
biology student at Western.
"A Liberal government will wreck Ontario," said Nick Caughey,
a fourth-year media, information and technoculture and political
science student. "It will wreck the progress we made."
Mitch Peters, a Matthews family friend, said he would never
have been involved in the campaign if it were not for Matthews
herself. "She's [genuinely] a concerned and committed person," he
-With files from Marshall Bellamy, Dan Dedic and Laura Katsirdakis