Parrsboro students meet local candidates

Andrew Wagstaff
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Baillie a no-show for high school event

PARRSBORO – Local students got to meet most of their candidates in the upcoming provincial election this afternoon, in a forum hosted by the Parrsboro Regional High School students’ council.

Larry Duchesne of the NDP, Liberal candidate and Kenny John Jackson and Green Party candidate Bruce McCulloch took to the stage Wednesday afternoon, providing 10-minute presentations followed by a question-and-answer session with the students. Progressive Conservative leader and incumbent MLA Jamie Baillie did not attend.

The event was somewhat subdued, with no actual debating or exchanges taking place between the candidates, but the students seemed to take most interest during the Q&A session, particularly when it turned towards education.

A couple of students questioned the Liberal commitment to put $65 million towards cutting classroom sizes, both arguing that the money would be better spent on more hands-on learning opportunities, such as technical courses.

“You’re 100 per cent right,” Jackson told one student. “There is more to life than going off to university and taking a Bachelor of Science or Administration. Nova Scotia is going to be short 4-5,000 labourers in the next four years.”

Jackson did, however, defend his party’s commitment to smaller classroom sizes, saying individual students get more one-on-one time with their teachers when classes are smaller.

The NDP are giving particular attention to areas such as mathematics and reading, Duchesne explained, as statistics have shown that Nova Scotian students have been under-performing in those areas.

“We wanted to put more emphasis on that to get it back up to where it needs to be,” he said. “Mathematics is so important to many careers; many scientists require strong mathematics skills. It doesn’t mean we’re going to drop other things that are important in education. A well-rounded education will always be important.”

When asked how he would change school curriculum if elected, McCulloch’s answer was simple. He would not change it at all.

“We’ve had various experiments in school curriculum for years and years,” he said. “Teachers go to teachers’ college to learn how best to teach, and my own view is to let them get on with what is being taught. Maybe some tweaking around the edges, but anything substantial I’m not in favour of.”

The most cheers from the crowd came when the inevitable question came on the legalization of marijuana, which was directed towards Duchesne. While he said his party did not have an official position on it, he offered his personal opinion that legalization was “way past overdue.”

While there was expected to be a video message from Baillie at the event, no such video was presented, although a Baillie campaign representative said later that the video was sent to the school at noon. It has since been uploaded to YouTube.

The students will hold their own vote on Oct. 7.

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: NDP, Parrsboro Regional High School, Kenny John Jackson and Green Party

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Nova Scotian

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Recent comments

  • Eddy M
    October 02, 2013 - 23:11

    The invisible man (Mr Baillie) does it again,no show and no video.I bet if the TV cameras where there,he show up.