Calgary Varsity candidates square off

By Lawrence Bailey

The Speech and Debate Society was relegated from spectacle to spectator as the Varsity provincial election candidates took over Speaker’s Corner Wed., Feb. 28.

Everything from gambling to gas to gay marriages was on the agenda as the four candidates fielded a barrage of questions in MacEwan Hall. Hot button issues were met with evasion, deflection and political rhetoric, although a few replies managed to resonate with the eager public.

While Progressive Conservative candidate Murray Smith rested on his party’s laurels, speaking of past successes and the impending "golden age of education in Alberta," his three counterparts were much more critical.

"Our government does not value education," stated Green Party candidate Tavis du Preez. "They don’t appreciate the fact that the university should be a fertile ground for social voice."

"The $1,200 more that Alberta students pay compared to their counterparts in B.C. is some ‘advantage,’" quipped New Democratic candidate Susan Scott. "Alberta should be proud that we have the biggest and best of everything, including pupil to teacher ratio."

"We’ve gone too far in making the burden of payment [for post-secondary institutions] an individual responsibility," charged Liberal representative Carol Jacques.

Apart from education issues, deregulation and skyrocketing energy costs led the list of concerns, with the general frustration of many in attendance summed up in local businessman John Davie’s question:

"Why doesn’t the government and Enmax follow their own advice and work from midnight to 8 a.m.?"


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