September 30, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 18  

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NEWS

Youth debate juvenile as never ending shouting match ensues

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

Dave Picard/Gazette
X MARKS THE DEBATE. Representatives of the youth parties from left " Patrick Harris (Progressive Conservative), Arzie Chant and Julia Knox (Liberal) and Eric Fortin (New Democratic Party) " debate in the UCC yesterday.

In the University Community Centre yesterday, a crowd was drawn by the debate/shouting match between representatives of the youth parties for the provincial Progressive Conservative, Liberal and New Democratic Parties.

The debate began with a short speech from each representative; Eric Fortin for the NDP, Julia Knox for the Liberals and Patrick Harris for the PCs. Dave Ford, VP-education for the University Students' Council, asked the trio questions about each party's stance on post-secondary issues.

When Ford raised questions of accessibility, tuition de-regulation and student loans and grants, each candidate explained their respective party's position, then engaged each other on more controversial issues, which soon devolved into deafening shouting competitions.

On the issue of medical school enrollment, Ford had to cut off the shouting.

"We have produced the opposite of brain drain," Harris insisted, citing economic improvements he believes keep doctors in Ontario. "The doctors are coming!"

"You're trying to make it legal - private health care," Knox said.

Harris disagreed and was visibly upset, getting to his feet for a moment during the dispute. Notable in the audience were a group of PC supporters, who vigorously clapped after each of Harris's statements.

"I think [the youth debate] is a really great idea - it is a good way for students to hear the issues from a youth perspective," said Merideth Rady, a first-year social science student, adding it is intimidating to approach politicians running in the election, but students are more prone to listen to youthful representatives debating the issues.

There's more shouting to come: SmartVote will be holding provincial election information sessions this Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Saugeen-Maitland Hall, and at 8 p.m. at Delaware Hall. Fortin, Knox and Harris will be in attendance, as well as some political science professors, Ford added.

 

 

 

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