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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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October 30, 2003


Alum come in all political stripes

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 respective districts.

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 Applied Science.

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 alumni.

The PCs will form Newfoundland and Labrador’s next government, winning 34 seats. The Liberals claimed 12 and the NDP two.


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Next issue: November 13, 2003

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