Candidates debate tuition, jobs at Algonquin

Ottawa-West Nepean candidates duked it out in front of two dozen students over tuition, tenants’ rights, jobs, and healthcare at Algonquin College Monday.

Journalism student Samantha Brazeau-Wilson, 19, was listening carefully.

“I’m paying a little over $5,000 for just my courses,” she said.

“I needed to buy a new laptop this year, a camera for my program, as well as textbooks (which) are ridiculously expensive.”

Liberal incumbent Bob Chiarelli touted his party’s promise to reduce tuition by 30% for full-time undergraduates whose families earn less than $160,000 a year.

“Education is the single most important investment we can make,” he said.

Wendy Byrne from the New Democratic Party referred to the NDP’s work on the Tenants’ Bill of Rights.

She said the party would develop an Ontario housing plan that would license landlords and give tenants more rights.

Students were all ears.

“The tenant issue is huge, ’cause we’re all renting apartments,” said journalism student Michael Aubry, 22.

Chiarelli and PC candidate Randall Denley bickered through the 90-minute debate, sitting next to each other.

Addressing the economy, Denley ripped the Liberals’ clean-energy plan.

“Businesses create jobs, not government,” he said.

Denley referred to the province’s 7.5% unemployment rate, saying his party has a plan to create 200,000 jobs in trades over four years.

Discussing health care, Green Party candidate Alex Hill said the his party wants to take care of seniors.

“That’s why we’re committed to investing $2 billion in long-term care facilities and in home care for seniors,” he said.

@ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/09/19/candidates-debate-tuition-jobs-at-algonquin

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