By Jesse McLean
If Nora Loreto becomes prime minister, she will blame Chris Drew. Loreto, president of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), posted her submission on YouTube last October for the CBC show Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister.
She submitted the video, which calls for the elimination of tuition fees nationwide, after VP Finance and Services Drew told her that he was going to join the competition.
“Then he backed out, the bastard,” Loreto said. But Drew was quick to defend his political reputation. “I was just so busy with the things I volunteer with, I didn’t have time,” he said, adding that he’ll remain eligible for the competition until he’s 25.
“I still don’t know a lot about Canada, but it’s certainly something I’ll consider in the future,” Drew said. Loreto’s five-minute submission has its rough edges: the camera’s low-quality microphone adds an unfortunate lisp, marring s-heavy statements like “address the issues of tuition fees.”
All the while, Loreto rocks back and forth, occasionally looking off screen and laughing. Yet her speech is impassioned.
Loreto proposes returning the Goods and Services Tax back to seven per cent, in which the federal government would funnel the two per cent into post-secondary institutions.
“Through education, everything can be solved, through different ways, of course,” she said in the video. A 2007 Statistics Canada report cites Ontario for having the third-highest tuition fees in Canada, averaging $5,160 a student.
By erasing tuition, and in turn student debt, Loreto says students and recent graduates will be able to put more money into the economy. Loreto’s YouTube clip already has more than 1,500 hits since Oct. 31.
On Jan. 10, CBC will announce 10 semi-finalists who will be given a second challenge. If judges choose Loreto, she will take part in a two-day bootcamp in Toronto in early February.
The winner gets $50,000 and a six-month paid internship with Magna International Inc., Canada’s largest auto-parts manufacturer, and other companies.
But Loreto isn’t thinking about winning just yet. “We’ll just see if I make it into the next round,” she said.