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Vol 38  No 8
January 12, 2006


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Student View

By Megan Jackman



Post-break, pre-polls

Holidays are, in one word, over.

So, what to expect next? I assume most of you know the drill: back to classes and back to the books. Thatís nothing out of the ordinary. Therefore, I do not plan to use this piece as a platform to preach the top-tens of successfully launching forth into a new semester ≠ Iím sure you can find literature on that elsewhere.

So, what will I write on? Well, after two weeks of being miles away from the university campus and student life, my potential topics on everyday issues and events occurring at MUN amounts to nil. Yet, lo and behold, after spending two blissful weeks in an excessive-sleep-and-food state, Iíve found something else to become preoccupied with, something a little less routine than beginning a new semester.

The 39th General Election.

I know, I should ďplease spare you the pain.Ē After returning from a laid-back, carefree break, you probably donít want the first Student View you read to be an informative lecture on national politics. You want something to get you roaring-and-ready, something to send your drive and motivation skyrocketing. But maybe the topic of federal elections should do that for us students.

After watching some of the Leadersí Debate (involving candidates for the next Canadian Prime Minister) which aired on CBC in December, I decided that it was time for me to find out more about federal politics and the effect that the 39th General Election will have on me.

You may be thinking that I must have gotten pretty desperate to pass away some time over the break. But when I think about the major issues facing myself and other university students, I realize how important it is for me to make a vote that counts. I want affordable tuition rates to be maintained; I want a cleaner environment; I want to see decreases in poverty at home and abroad. So, I must also want a government that will aim to do all of that.

Come on, arenít some of you willing to participate in tuition-freeze marches? Arenít you eager to have your voice heard when you want fair trade to happen more frequently? Well, on Jan. 23, we have an opportunity to get the support we need for some of the causes we so passionately champion. A student body voting for the same reasons, likely for the same candidate, can make an impact.

Iím not going to ramble on about the platforms of each potential-prime minister and their respective parties. That could potentially introduce a biased opinion ≠ one which is my own. Iím not out to influence votes. I will point out, however, that the political promises of the main players do indeed appear similar at a first, very brief, glance.

Jack Layton, of the New Democratic Party, promises an investment in post-secondary education, more foreign aid, and action to reduce poverty worldwide.

Prime Minister Paul Martin, of the Liberal Party, promises improvements in childcare, continuing commitment to international development, and increased investment in Canadian security.

Stephen Harper, of the Conservative Party, proposes security and fair taxes for seniors, new choices in child care, and a boost in Canadian Forces.

These are just a select few of the many proposals of each party leader. But because the proposals of each party seem similar, itís important that we do our homework; weíve got to ask ourselves questions such as, ďHow does each party plan on carrying out each proposal?Ē After all, the means is just as important as the end.

We must realize that not all promises can be fulfilled in a day. So, when checking the specs on each party, pay attention to details and emphasis. Proposals that are usually outlined in detail with a specific time frame and budget plan as well as ones that appear more frequently than others are usually at the top of a partyís to-do lists. Visit the official Web site of each party for more information: www.ndp.ca, www.liberal.ca, www.conservativeparty.ca.

Another way to make a more informed voting decision is to welcome the media. Perhaps you are not sold on the reliance of the media but, at this political pinnacle, the media is presenting facts otherwise missed by the public. Party leaders are also exposing the worst of their opponents right now via media.

The idealist in me would like to believe that we could do without the drama and scandalous exposures when dealing with political decisions. But, truth be told, we have to know the wrongs if we are going to try to make a right. And, anyhow, we all need a little drama now and then.

Yes, after an hour and a half, I could no longer bear the bickering and banter of the televised Leadersí Debate (nor could I deal with the tick, tick, tick of the clock reminding me that I should not be letting my precious break-time slip away via television). Still, I will take the time to vote this January.

I donít want to become cynical or bitter towards political matters when, instead, I could be getting information to help me make a vote that might make a difference. I also donít want people to read this and think that I am government happy ... Iím certainly not a future politician.

I do hope, however, that this short piece makes an informed voter out of at least one student. Perhaps we could set up the polling stations in The Breezeway and regard the event as a reason to throw a back-to-school bash. Yes, perhaps that would lure more students to cast their vote ... thatís pre-poll thinking.

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