September 17, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 11  

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Campaign and Clubs Week collide as Cunningham visits

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

The provincial election campaign is on your TV and in your newspaper, but now it is on campus as well. Among the crowd perusing the Clubs Week booths yesterday, one of the candidates mingled.

Dianne Cunningham, the Progressive Conservative candidate and current member of provincial Parliament for London North Centre, visited the University Community Centre yesterday afternoon to support the Ontario PC Youth Association.

Cunningham, who also serves as Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, noted her involvement with the club has been a well known fact for years.

-We have a great club, [they are] very active in this campaign,” she said. Cunningham was confident the club would grow bigger and better each year.

She expressed appreciation to the OPCYA for their involvement in the present campaign. -The Western PCs have led us to victory [in the past two elections],” she said.

Post-secondary tuition was an issue she felt the PCs had dealt with effectively. -Tuition has been frozen at a two per cent increase per year, [whereas] it was 10 per cent per year when the [New Democratic Party] and Liberals were in office,” she stated.

As an example of her concern for student issues, Cunningham pointed out she has worked to secure funding for expansion on Western's campus. There was $67 million allotted to Western, as well as $38 million to Fanshawe College for new buildings, she said.

Cunningham said this year's campaign was going very well. When asked how she feels about the busy campaigning time, she said it was fun for her.

-Dianne has always been great for coming on campus,” said Patrick Harris, president of the OPCYA. -She likes to boast that Western has the biggest Clubs Week,” he said, adding Cunningham is also looking forward to attending Homecoming festivities as she does every year.

-She might as well be an honourary student,” Harris said. Cunningham has always been very visible on campus, he added, noting she will be back on campus this Thursday as well.

Harris said the OPCYA is very appreciative of her support.

-Education is a very important issue to [Cunningham],” Harris said, citing her efforts to obtain funding for expansion as an example. -She is a great proponent of student activism,” he added.

-It's great to see politicians out meeting with students,” he said. -This speaks very highly of [Cunningham's] character,”

Deb Matthews, the Liberal candidate for the riding will be on campus on Wed., Sep. 17, said Lissa Regan, a member of Matthews's campaign team.

Rebecca Coulter, the riding's candidate for the NDP, is also expected to make an appearance on campus sometime this week, according to her campaign team.

Voters hit the polls on Oct. 2.



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