September 24, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 15  

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Wave broadcasts political bitch-fest

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

Dave Picard/Gazette
TURN IT TO THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS! Interested parties watch intently as the provincial election debate unfolds on the big screen at The Wave.

Students gathered at The Wave last night to view the provincial election leadership debate between Progressive Conservative Party leader Ernie Eves, Liberal Party leader Dalton McGuinty and New Democratic Party leader Howard Hampton.

Hampton stated tuition had risen over 150 per cent over the last 10 years and accessibility to Ontario's universities is difficult. His solutions were a 10 per cent decrease in tuition, a restoration of funding to universities and assistance for needy students.

McGuinty said students' expenses were costing them $25,000 a year and said the Liberals, if elected, would freeze tuition. He also said he intended to revise OSAP, assist the students in the lowest 10 per cent income bracket and assist part-time students as much as full-time students.

Eves mentioned the two per cent freeze on tuition the Tories had implemented and it is expected the Tories will pour more money into universities to improve the quality of education in Ontario.

McGuinty criticized Eves for his proposed plan to cut $5 billion in taxes to senior citizens, mortgage holders and corporations, and questioned Eves' ability to follow through with that promise while spending another $5 billion.

On the question of the banning of teachers' strikes in Ontario, Eves questioned McGuinty on the validity of banning strikes and lockouts, repeatedly requesting a yes or no answer, to which McGuinty refused to answer.

Hampton blasted both candidates for favouring privatization of hydro electricity, running the government at a deficit, damaging health care and education in Ontario and favouring corporations.

Eves noted the Tory record while governing Ontario was good and he intends to build upon the solid policies of the past, noting the favourable policies for businesses of federal Liberal leadership candidate Paul Martin as a step in the right direction. "Mr. Martin gets it," he repeatedly added.

"If I could afford it we would get a steak dinner and a pony for every boy and girl," McGuinty asserted, noting reasonable fiscal responsibility is the key to good government in Ontario.

Hampton pointed out taxes are necessary for quality social programs and everyone must contribute a little bit, adding privatization would simply raise costs.

After the televised debate a selected panel gave a commentary while approximately 20 students present asked questions and offered comments.

"I would have liked to have seen a little less bickering - but I thought Hampton got his point across," said third-year politics student Ryan King.

"I think Ernie Eves won the debate hands down - [the Liberals and NDP are] not ready to run the province," said third-year politics student Patrick Harris.



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