By Kristine Hamlyn
Attending Memorial University of Newfoundland may not be
a prerequisite for political involvement, but the recent
provincial election shows that it seems to help. Not only
did MUN alumni represent all colours of the political spectrum,
but of the 48 elected members of the House of Assembly,
38 attended Memorial.
Liberal MHA Judy Foote graduated from Memorial with a bachelor
of arts and bachelor of education and was formerly director
of University Relations at Memorial. Progressive Conservative
MHA John Ottenheimer also attended Memorial where he received
his bachelor of arts and bachelor of education degrees.
Both were selected as the successful candidates in their
New Democratic Party president, Raj Sharan, is also a MUN
alum having completed a bachelor of science and master of
applied science in environmental engineering at Memorial.
Mr. Sharan is currently working on a master of science in
environmental science from Memorial and his father is a
professor in Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and
Although not elected as the successful candidate this time
around, Mr. Sharan shows no signs of leaving political life
in the near future.
“I think being an active citizen is a requisite of
a healthy democracy,” he said. “How the government
is run affects so much of our lives: the type of schools
and universities we go to, their funding, their curriculum,
the roads we travel on, the type of health facilities we
have, the health of our economy.”
Green party candidate, Steve Durant is currently completing
his fourth year of an honours bachelor of arts in political
science at Memorial. Passionate about issues such as innovative
health care, universal education and a healthy environment,
Mr. Durant felt it was his responsibility to put them on
the election agenda.
“The decision to run for office has to be personal,”
said Mr. Durant. “It has to be one that is deeply
felt, perhaps even automatic.”
Although not elected, Mr. Durant felt the experience to
be very rewarding.
“Not only did the Greens benefit from having a candidate
on the ballot and a chance to get our very important messages
out, but this particular election was a great learning experience
for me, as it was my first time running for office.”
Memorial seems to being doing well in providing its alumni
with a strong platform for the future. Leader of the Progressive
Conservative Party and new leader of the provincial government,
Danny Williams, Liberal leader, Roger Grimes and leader
of the New Democratic Party, Jack Harris are all Memorial
The PCs will form Newfoundland and Labrador’s next
government, winning 34 seats. The Liberals claimed 12 and
the NDP two.