Baillie to Liberals: High school students are not a waste of time

October 01, 2013 at 11:48 am

HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie is calling on Liberal candidate Tim Harris to apologize to high school students he dismissed as being “a waste of time” following a forum at Sir John A. Macdonald High School in Upper Tantallon.

Harris admitted to CBC Radio yesterday he stated to the high school teacher supervising the forum that candidate participation was “a lot of effort for only three votes,” since most of the high school students were not eligible voters.

Baillie said Harris’ remarks are troubling and represent the opposite of the type of message that should be said to any Nova Scotian, let alone youth who are interested in the political process.

“How can we encourage young people to take more of an interest in something important like politics if those who want to be their MLA think listening to their concerns is a waste of time?” asked Baillie.

Baillie also called on Liberal leader Stephen McNeil to acknowledge Harris’ comments crossed the line.

“As a leader Stephen McNeil is also responsible for the actions and comments made by members of his team,” said Baillie. “Stephen McNeil must clearly make it known these comments are offensive and unacceptable. Tolerating this kind of behavior speaks to Stephen McNeil’s own lack of leadership.”

One of the high school students at the forum noted that while Janet Irwin, the local Progressive Conservative candidate, was asking and answering questions and engaging students, Harris “didn’t seem like he wanted to be there.” The student also told CBC Radio she was told by her teacher Harris said following the debate, “I wasted all my time for a couple of friggin’ votes.”

Baillie stressed that young people – and all voters – deserve better.

“Tim Harris should apologize to the students and teachers at Sir John A. who organized this important forum,” said Baillie. “The Progressive Conservatives will be there for all Nova Scotians – young and old, voters and non-voters.”