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Is this OK?

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Is it OK to tout your position on a significant provincial board when endorsing a candidate for provincial office? Especially when you cite the candidate’s abilities to work in the area in which you advise the government?

Apparently it’s within the rules, the province told me late this afternoon, although bureaucrats are continuing to look into the situation.

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Tyndall Park Liberal candidate Roldan Sevillano has a typical brochure listing endorsements, from people such as Sharon Carstairs, Jon Gerrard — you’d hope, wouldn’t you? — and Justin Trudeau.

And there’s one from Rex Masesar, who describes himself as a member of the Council on Postsecondary Education, the provincial body which advises the minister of advanced education on matters involving universities and colleges, including the allocating of government funds.

Masesar, who also describes himself as a former president of the Red River College Student Association, but who does not list his profession — he works for an insurance company as an employee benefits representative — says in recommending Sevillano:

"As someone who has put himself through school, Roldan understands firsthand the challenges that face students who wish to pursue postsecondary education. I know Roldan is committed to making sure that every student who gets the grades in Manitoba will get to go. He will be a strong voice and reliable friend for students in the Manitoba legislature."

Members of the council are citizen appointments, not government staff. They’re free to do as they wish. The question is, is it OK to use the name of a provincial body in endorsing a provincial candidate? Are all voters sufficiently familiar with COPSE to understand that this recommendation for Sevillano came from a private citizen, and not someone speaking on behalf of a government body?

Moving to lighter election stuff.....

I spent some time Sunday with several candidates in tomorrow’s provincial election, and no matter which party, I couldn’t see their hustings.... even though they were supposed to be on those hustings.

Tory leader Hugh McFadyen appeared to be standing on the paved surface of a suburban mall’s parking lot, as was Sevillano. No, not together, different malls, different suburbs. No sign of a husting between the soles of their shoes and the pavement.

Green Party leader James Beddome and Fort Richmond candidate Caitlyn McIntyre were sitting on chairs in a restaurant. Again, nothing between the chairs and the floor.

And yet, they were all on the hustings. I know they were, because we constantly say in our paper that these political candidates are on the hustings.

But I’ve never seen one — a husting, I mean, not a political candidate. Have any of you ever seen a husting? Or better yet, hustings?

Could you describe hustings? Could you send me a photo?

As a lowly proletarian drone, I can’t offer any prize other than recognition in my blog.

Moving on.....

It had been a long time since I’d talked to interim federal Liberal leader Bob Rae, whom I knew back in the 80s when he was leader of the Ontario provincial NDP and I covered the Ontario legislature for The London Free Press.

It was kind of sad how few people seemed to recognize Rae as he stumped for the Grits outside a supermarket Sunday at Keewatin and Burrows.

In other stuff.....

Liberal leader Jon Gerrard had me kind of going when he told me that his campaign-promise post secondary tuition rebate would kick in a month after classes start, the student receiving $800 in October, and $130 each subsequent month of the school year.

Alas, turns out they must be attending a university or college in Manitoba.


On the other hand, Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty is promising a 30 per cent reduction in tuition if he wins Thursday’s election in Upper Canada. Not clear if the students must be Ontario residents, or just attending an Ontario school.

My attention span wanders again.....

I had a voicemail waiting when I got to work today, a guy wanting to make sure I’d received his email inviting me to do an article on university level public relations courses available in Canada. Sure, I’ll get to it tomorrow, looks to be a much higher priority than the election.


And someone from a burger chain who reckoned we’d be eager to do a story on a $1,000 scholarship, since we allegedly rarely write about the good things in schools.

No, don’t hold your breath.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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