Students’ Union Endorsitorial

Tuesday, 2 March 2004 — 11:49pm | Studentpolitik

First off, I finally saw The Passion of the Christ last night, but I would hardly call my thoughts on it collected at this stage.

Relatively speaking, however, my thoughts are collected regarding tomorrow’s election. Without further ado, here’s where my votes are going – noting, of course, that the candidates are treated preferentially and these are my endorsements for first place:

President: Adam Cook. It’s a win-win this year to some extent, as both Cook and Blatz are reasonable people with both enthusiasm and tact, and I would not be uncomfortable with either in the Presidential seat – that is, until they royally screw something up. Their stances on Council issues – or in Cook’s case, his voting record – has little effect here, as there I have disagreements with each of them on certain controversies. Overall, I favour Adam on account of his experience working in the system, not just through Council and the committee structure, but especially his familiarity with services and programmes such as Orientation. Blatz has repeatedly tried to pass off his LHSA presidency as sufficient experience in a similar system of smaller scale, but from what I have observed of the structure and operations of the LHSA, the comparison is faulty. However, I would like to see both gentlemen sit on next year’s Council, and only a horrendous display of incompetence or ideological wonkiness would dissuade me from ranking Blatz highly should he run again in a year.

VP Academic: Lisa McLaughlin. Vivek is running a very similar campaign to the one he ran last year, with small technology-based solutions to immediate problems concerning schedules and textbooks. This year, that campaign is even less relevant given Stephen Kirkham’s developments at Bear Scat, as Kirkham was quick to point out at Myer. Although one can see his reasoning behind how these technical issues are the easiest to ensure repairing within the span of a year, this does not justify shunting aside the bigger picture. Lisa’s campaign, albeit rife with generalities in need of a more specific plan in the near future, is extensive, broad, and indicative of a lot of preparation going into the election.

VP External: Alex Abboud. Nobody can fault Heather for her dedication and enthusiasm, but to put her in this position amidst the volatility of a triple election year is far too risky, given her emphasis on aggressive media campaigns, gearing a significant cut of student fees to political advocacy, and her having pushed a premature Universal Bus Pass referendum on the table. The lack of tact in her “What the f@#k else do you need?” poster slogan, albeit attention-getting in the same way joke candidates are attention-getting, does not bode well. While both candidates are knowledgeable, committed and demonstrably experienced, Abboud has the upper hand on the basis of moderation.

VP Operations/Finance: Josh Bazin. It’s been said elsewhere, but this portfolio has hardly been a relevant presence this election. Law finally had a platform extending beyond the cartoon of the little guy zapping the Power Plant when he got up and spoke at the Horowitz – and granted, he had some good ideas – but a last-minute salvage of a platform does not reflect well on his readiness for the position this year. Bazin ran on a similarly thin platform, but has the edge when it comes to knowledge of how the Students’ Union actually works. There are places in the SU for newcomers, but Operations and Finance isn’t one of them, unless you are a total hack who shares a name with a hockey player who sent the Calgary Flames to the Stanley Cup finals.

VP Student Life: Carmen Gustafson. For the longest time I was going to put Daignault on top, and on my ballot, he will still finish a very close second. While he does take a status quo approach to the SL position as one focused on events and programming, which is of questionable usefulness in the grand scheme of things, he is by far the best equipped to handle the portfolio as it exists. Gustafson is a radically different candidate with an approach to bring the more neglected side of SL back into the spotlight. While I am ideologically opposed to her decidedly left-wing stance on certain issues, revitalizing SL as a useful position may pay off in the long term. This, of course, only bumps her up to second. To be quite honest, my real motivation for putting her first is because she recognizes the need for a piano on SUB Stage.

Board of Governors: Roman Kotovych. He has been one of the best student representatives in the past year, and his opponent lacks a clue.

Legacy Fund Elimination: Yes. Athletics are currently overvalued, and student fees already go to them under other blanket expenses. $3/semester is a measly sum in absolute terms, but I still expect $3/semester of added value.

Universal Bus Pass: No. Personally, as a semi-regular transit user, I like the idea of having a massive discount or subsidy of some sort on the basis of being a student. In fact, even $60/semester is getting there. The problem, however, is that the referendum question as it currently stands is junk. U-Pass should not be going to anything even approaching referendum until there is an acceptable deal already in place. The current question aims to be a bargaining chip and a yardstick of demand, yet compromises this by binding the Students’ Union. This should be defeated, though it should not be an abandonment of transit-related initiatives.


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