Ideas, concerns and more than a little cynicism
Matt Carter is a Ryerson University journalism student. He worked for the Toronto Sun before coming to CBC News Online.
When students in Rick Rakosy's Grade 12 politics class talk about the Jan. 23 federal election, there's no shortage of students with their hands raised. "I think they're following the campaign very closely," Rakosky says. "Some of them will get to vote for the first time, so they've taken a signficant interest." A quick chat with the students from Toronto's Martingrove Collegiate shows a wide range of ideas and concerns, and more than a little cynicism. Here it is, in their own words.
Preferred party: Conservative
Most important issue: Education
"I'd like to see politicians make education a priority instead of putting it on the backburner and saying that what we have now is fine. A (post-secondary education) tuition freeze would be nice."
On Stephen Harper: "The trust is there, that he'd lead a more honest government, but I have a problem with his social policies. He said he wanted a free vote on gay marriage. The fact that he would reverse something that is already law and has made the country a better place is a really poor decision on his part."
Preferred party: NDP
Most important issue: Health care
"My grandfather died last year, so I spent a lot of time in the hospital and saw the bad state the system is in. It was overcrowded, some of the equipment was in bad shape and parts of the building seemed really worn down."
On party leaders: "I get the feeling none of them can give a direct answer. They skirt around questions and go straight to their talking points."
Preferred party: Green
Most important issue: Immigration
"When immigrants come to Canada, they're forced to move into poor neighbourhoods, neighbourhoods that are in trouble. The kids grow up violent. You can't grow up neutral in a place like that. It needs to be addressed federally. The government needs to help immigrants find a place to stay that's safe for kids and families."
Election peeve: "It's a bad time to call an election. They should have waited. It's just going to get the same result as last time. It's a waste of money that could be going to something else."
Preferred party: Undecided
Most important issue: Integrity
"The bulk of campaign promises are crowd pleasers. One guys says one thing and the next guy has to one-up him. They all have these great promises. The key is picking out which ones are really going to work out."
On party leaders: "I'd like to see a charismatic leader. It's something we haven't seen in Canada in a while. The ones now, there's nothing striking about any of them. There's nothing horrible either. They're typical politicians."
Preferred party: Green
Most important issue: The environment
"We can't continue going the way we are. The problem is here, it's now. I think (Green Party Leader) Jim Harris is the only one who would keep his promises. He's not afraid to speak his mind."
On the Gomery commission: " How you can be finance minister and be totally unaware of where your finances are going is beyond me. That just shouldn't be allowed."
Preferred party: Liberal
Most important issue: Trust
"I have a problem with politicians being untruthful. For example, Paul Martin saying he's going to ban handguns. It sounds good on TV, but handguns are already pretty much banned. It's just a way for him to sound like he cares about the public. In reality, they should focus on things they can actually change."
On the Gomery commission: "I see it in all parties. The Liberals basically stole money. It seems like they're done with that for now, but next the Conservatives will get in and it'll be their turn to steal some money.
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