September 10, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 7  

Front Page >> News > Hampton visits Western during campaign sweep


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Hampton visits Western during campaign sweep
NDP leader promises tuition reduction, big tax increases

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

Dave Picard/Gazette
PUBLIC POWER HAS SPOKEN AND HOWIE AND HIS GANG ARE BRINGING UP THE REAR. NDP leader Howard Hampton appeared at Middlesex College on Tuesday afternoon.

Along with London-area New Democratic Party candidates, Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton made a campus stop at Western's Middlesex College to comment on the finer points of provincial post-secondary policy.

"Ontario students need more affordable tuition fees," Hampton said, adding if the NDP is elected there will be a 10 per cent decrease in tuition, saving the average undergraduate student at Western $414 in annual tuition fees.

The cuts made by the Conservative government have brought the quality of education in Ontario 21 per cent below the national average and have made Ontario's universities second last in North American rankings, Hampton stated.

Hampton said Premier Ernie Eves' solutions to problems with Ontario's universities have been to privatize and turn them into profit institutions.

The NDP's solution to Ontario's university problem includes an annual influx of $500 million, $200 million to cover the 10 per cent tuition cut and $300 million to invest in schools to restore the quality of education to the national average.

The money for these reforms is going to come from an increase in corporate taxes to 1993 levels, Hampton noted, adding taxes will also be increased in higher personal tax brackets which have also been cut since the Tories took power.

"Southwestern Ontario was won in big sweeps at one time or another," said Rebecca Coulter, NDP candidate for London North Centre.

The NDP stands a good chance at winning ridings in London, Coulter added, noting the last two elections were held in June when there were no students living in London. This fall's election will see more students in London than ever before because of the double cohort, she said.

"I think people are just fed up," Coulter stated, pointing out most new students are now also experiencing the results of the Tory cuts to post-secondary education, such as line-ups everywhere and larger classes.

"Students are traditionally more apathetic - [turn out among] individuals between 18 and 24 is significantly lower than the average citizen," said University Students' Council VP-education Dave Ford. Students usually have over 15 hours of class and part-time jobs that limit them to educate themselves on the issues, he added.



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