Students push for Tory voice on campus

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By Jonathan Colford

Alex Lalka wants students to know about all the great things that the Mike Harris government has accomplished.

Lalka is director-at-large of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association, the student wing of the provincial Territories. OPCCA representatives were on campus last week collecting signatures in hope of setting up a Tory club at Ryerson. Lalka, who doubles as president of the PC club at the University of Toronto, said about 35 students have already have already signed up for the Ryerson club. Adam Daifallah, president of the OPCCA, said this is part of a province-wide recruitment drive. They are still trying to find students to lead the group at Ryerson. “We’re trying to identify people to set up the club,” he said. “This is the first year we’ve put up much of an effort.”

Groups that want official RyeSAC status and the funding that goes along with it must approach Leatrice Spevack, the campus groups administrator. They need the endorsement of at least 20 full-time Ryerson students and an executive to co-ordinate their activities. The student groups committee determines their viability and how they will complement student life. Then the group must be ratified by the RyeSAC board of directors. Spevack said the process can take from three to six weeks.

The OPCCA wants to provide a conservative voice in student issues, said Lalka. “We’re still fighting and we’re trying to raise a conservative voice,” he said. The OPCCA has set up clubs at 12 schools. According to Lalka, the U of T Tories have 300 members.  “[Students] are a political force in this country and it’s not unusual for the politics at play outside this university [to come into it],” said RyeSAC President Odelia Bay.

Most of the political parties have shown their face on campus in past years, but they usually don’t last long, Spaveck said. “It seems to me there’s a kind of general apathy for them,” she said. “I think it would be interesting no just to have the party leaders talking but to see students debating these issues.”

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