Photos by Mariah Wilson

SU election supplement 2018: vice-president external

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The Students’ Union election is right around the corner and every year the Gauntlet puts together the fine SU election supplement that you’re holding in your hands right now. The supplement is made to inform students of who is running, what they hope to do if they’re elected and who we think is most likely to actually accomplish their goals.

We cleaned up the office, put on some clean shirts and invited all candidates with eyes on executive positions to make their case for this year’s election. After a five-minute platform pitch and a 10-minute question-and-answer session with a panel of Gauntlet staff, we put together these snack-sized profiles to help inform students on the election candidates.

It will be an interesting year for all incoming SU representatives. In early 2018, a long-awaited resolution to the MacHall ownership dispute was put forward, with the SU to take management and the University of Calgary to take ownership of the building on May 1. The need for a strong student government that’s ready to represent students’ interests on the Joint Liaison Committee — the committee that will be responsible for any future developments in MacHall — is more necessary than ever. In addition, Elizabeth Cannon has announced her resignation and will be on her way out on
Dec. 31. This rare combination offers the potential to set a new status quo for relations between the
SU and administration.

We’re well aware that election time isn’t a joy for everyone. It’s impossible to walk to class without getting every meme-riddled election poster seared into the deepest parts of your brain and you’re probably not paying attention to every classroom pitch ahead of your morning lectures. While it can be annoying, SU elections have a significant impact on all U of C students whether you’re here for several more years or not. Electing competent officials to represent the student body deserves at least a day’s worth of attention every year.

Once you’ve read the Gauntlet candidate profiles, check out our endorsements and take the time to review every candidates’ platforms for yourself. We’re happy to help present you with as much information as we can but the choice will always be yours. Every platform is available on the SU website and every candidate is available during the campaign period to answer your questions themselves, so don’t hesitate to ask them anything.

So what next? Well, park yourself down and give this a read, then make sure you vote from March 6–8. You can vote online through your student centre or in-person via ballot boxes across campus.

External

The vice-president external is the Students’ Union’s representative to municipal, provincial and federal governments. They are also the primary delegate for the many umbrella lobbying organizations the SU takes part in. Vote for the candidate you think can hold their own in a meeting with cabinet ministers or city councillors.

Emma Hopper

With a logical, comprehensive and refreshing platform, Emma Hopper is a great choice for VP external. Her desire to advocate for students was evident in both her platform and interview, which she delivers confidently and succinctly.

Each of Hopper’s points tie back to University of Calgary students. There are also multiple avenues to include students in her work and advocacy embedded in her platform, as she said making the VP external a prominent figure both on and off campus is important to her.

“I know what can be accomplished when students come together and fight for what is right.”

“I know what can be accomplished when students come together and fight for what is right.”

Hopper plans to advocate to expand the VP external’s budget — the smallest of all SU executives — to accomplish her goals, like offering five-session lobbying workshops to give students the knowledge and tools needed to understand and engage with the government. Her plans around “get-out-the-vote” campaigns for the provincial and federal elections in 2019 include advocating for increased funding for the Post Secondary Students Support Program, a federal program that provides financial support to Indigenous students.

She also included platform points similar to the priorities of the Council of Alberta University Students and Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. This includes lobbying the provincial government to regulate tuition by tying it to the Consumer Price Index and advocating for a “student-friendly” copyright policy, which the federal government is currently in the process of amending. She wants this policy to maintain education exemptions from copyright rules, which enables professors to share literature with their students at no cost.

Most notably, Hopper is willing to budget and plan to mobilize students for protests if the government doesn’t address students’ needs. She established that she is not afraid to face resistance on some of her ideas and that fighting for what students believe is necessary.

Hopper argues that her experience advocating for people with disabilities and extensive club experience makes her qualified for the position. She plans to have open communication channels to keep students informed on what she is working towards, but it’s questionable how much support a monthly vlog would get from unengaged students. Regardless, Hopper is an excellent candidate for VP external.

Selected Qualifications:

• Vice-president internal, University of Calgary Debate Society

• Director of strategic planning, Faculty of Arts Students Association

SLC deputy speaker

 

Puncham Judge

After stepping into the vice-president external role midway through last November, Puncham Judge brings forward a largely conventional list of advocacy priorities for the coming year.

“I know what the role entails and what is expected of me.”

“I know what the role entails and what is expected of me.”

Judge’s platform places the greatest emphasis provincially, both where an election will happen earlier and where most decisions pertaining to post-secondaries are made. Her biggest platform point addresses the tuition freeze, which the provincial government recently extended through to 2018–19. Judge rightly calls the freeze a “band-aid solution” and says advocating to legislate tuition by rolling it back to 1992 rates and tying it to the Consumer Price Index will give students affordable and predictable tuition.

Tuition at 1992 rates is a tantalizing idea and one that seems possible with the province’s current New Democratic Party government, who might try to swing for the fences for the student vote before the 2019 election. However, the platform point is directly adapted from the Council of Alberta University Students’ 2017–18 priorities list, which is reflective of much of Judge’s platform. While staying consistent with advocacy points she’s currently undertaking is important, Judge doesn’t present any original ideas.

Provincially, Judge is also focusing on the expansion of the Student Temporary Employment Program and elimination of market modifiers.

When Judge was appointed as VP external last semester, she was upfront about her intentions to run for the position this term. Now, she’s honest about difficulties she had during her time in the position with minutiae, which she attributes to not having a full transition period into the
position.

However, much of Judge’s argument for her own re-election is the experience granted by her status as an incumbent. But she considers her greatest accomplishments during her term to be action on secondary suites, which was mostly sparked by new council members elected before she took office, and the tuition freeze, a development she is devoting extensive time to finding a long-term alternative for.

Judge could be a dependable VP external. Though she currently lacks confidence with in-depth policy discussions, she’s someone students should feel comfortable representing them to decision makers.

Selected Qualifications:

SU arts representative, 2017

SU vice-president external, 2017–18

• Internship at the World Federation of United Nations Associations, February 2018

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