Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Students Get Chance to Question Candidates

I wanted to let everyone know about this forum that is taking place tomorrow night. As far as I know, only myself and Mike Kehoe (NDP) are attending which, certainly shows something about the other two parties. I'm sure they're busy and all but...
Anyway, should be an interesting forum considering our parties are so similar in policies. Plus, I think Mike is a great man (only met him once, mind you) and an excellent choice for a candidate. It's too bad some NDP candidates in the past went against their own environmental polices and subsidies operations like clear cutting in BC or supported giving gas guzzling car manufactures like GM and Ford instead of calling for these factories to build hybrid cars. The NDP are great if they stick to what they believe in.

But, I digress. Here's the article about the forum tomorrow night which was written for the MUN Gazette. A special thanks goes out to Alex Marland for setting this up!

Town hall meeting on federal election
By Leslie Vryenhoek
The Gazette, Jan 12 2006, page 1

Memorial students will have a chance to ask the questions that matter most to them in this federal election when the Political Science Department hosts a town hall next week.

Candidates running in St. John's East have been invited to attend the forum, part of the third-year course Parties and Elections in Canada.

Alex Marland, the course instructor who conceived the town hall, said the timing of the election offered a chance to give his students first-hand experience with electoral campaigning.

"For many, this is their first exposure to a federal campaign. They feel very removed from the process," Mr. Marland noted, adding that the language politicians use and the things they talk about are not always relevant to youth. "When students listen to election campaigning, they tend to feel that people are talking over them, not talking to them. There are not a lot of young politicians, or even politicians who really talk to students."

Students typically have a particular interest in certain issues ­ for example, the cost of post-secondary education, the job market and employment issues ­ but Mr. Marland said it's the mechanics of voting that seem to raise the biggest questions.

"In my experience they have a complete lack of awareness. They're saying 'I don't know where to go to vote.' They have no idea how to go about it, no idea about the registration list."

While Elections Canada declined to send a representative to the town hall, they will have a community relations officer on campus to help answer those nuts and bolts questions.

In addition to students enrolled in his course, Mr. Marland is inviting all interested students to attend the event on Thursday, Jan. 19 from 5:30 to 6:55 p.m. in the Science Building, room SN-2036. He also hopes media will cover the event, so students can see first-hand how journalists and politicians interact.

Should be interesting. Check it out!

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