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Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:38 am Post subject:
Oosterhoff to continue Brock studies while MPP
By Allan Benner, The Tribune
Sunday, November 20, 2016 5:56:13 EST PM
Being elected to provincial parliament doesn’t mean an automatic degree in political science.
“Not as far as I know,” said Brock University political science professor David Siegel with a chuckle.
Despite becoming the youngest MPP in Ontario’s history, Sam Oosterhoff will have to earn his degree like everyone else, Siegel said.
“I think he’ll have to continue taking his courses between sessions.”
Nevertheless, Siegel said, a first-year Brock political science student representing the Niagara West–Glanbrook riding for the provincial Progressive Conservative party will “certainly be an asset in whatever courses he’s taking.”
“We emphasize seminars and small group learning, and he will be a real asset in whatever course he’s enrolled in as a resource person.”
Oosterhoff, a 19-year-old who lives with his parents in Vineland, claimed 54 per cent of the votes in last Thursday nights byelection, with 17,651 people voting for him — more than 9,500 more than the second-place finish by New Democratic Party candidate Mike Thomas.
Oosterhoff confirmed that he intends to resume his studies in January on a part-time basis, while his duties to his constituents will be a full-time job.
While it won’t be easy considering the workload at Queen’s Park as well as the challenges of being a student, Siegel said “it’s doable.”
Many Brock students work while earning their degrees.
And just like other students, Oosterhoff “has an outside job to make some money,” Siegel quipped.
Oosterhoff’s job might be a far cry from working at a fast food restaurant, but Siegel said he should still be able to schedule his classes to accommodate his workload.
Pelham Mayor David Augustyn said he looks forward to working with Oosterhoff.
“It was a fast campaign, but it was a good campaign and there was lots of discussion with people talking about it on the street,” he said.
Oosterhoff is replacing Tim Hudak, a former PC party leader with 21 years of experience representing constituents. Augustyn said he’s willing to offer any advice he can to the political newcomer.
“Tim (Hudak) was very helpful when I was first serving as mayor, 10 years ago now, and giving suggestions on how to interact with the provincial government. Perhaps I can offer some help or suggestions for Sam as well,” he said. “Council and I will work with whomever the people have given us.”
Siegel said Oosterhoff was known to have “a particular strong position in his views,” referring to his opinions on issues such as same-sex marriage.
“So it sends a real signal in terms of the way people in that riding at least, view the sort of views that he has in terms of family values and things like that. You always have to be careful about generalizing from one riding to others, but certainly in terms of that particular area it was a pretty resounding win for someone who was not that well known, except he did make his views very well known among people.”
He said Oosterhoff “worked hard, and he was rewarded for that.”
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2 Ontario provincial by-elections taking place on Nov 17