AMS Election Coverage Kickoff

January 20, 2009

FairVoteUBC  is kicking off our election coverage today of the 2009 Alma Mater Society election. Our goal is to provide some insight and analysis into the candidates’ views with respect to the important issues of student representation, influence and voice.  The voice of students must be heard on campus, across the province and even across the country.

Take a look at the candidates on the AMS website and also consider going to one of the candidate debates over the next two weeks.  You can also read about what is going on through various media outlets (including this site) participating in the Voter Funded Media competition.  Support on-campus media by taking part in this other election.  The winners are awarded money which can go a long way to helping with publishing efforts.  Any funds our site wins will go to the efforts of the FairVoteUBC club to raise awareness about electoral reform on campus and for the upcoming provincial election in May which will include a referendum on switching to BC-STV for provincial elections.

One of our main goals is to encourage the AMS council to endorse the ‘Yes’ side of the referendum and put the significant lobbying resources of the AMS behind campaigning for its passing. So, today I’ll begin our coverage by reporting from the presidential debates that were held on monday in the SUB.

Presidential Debates (Monday January 20, 2009)

There was a great turnout and the pit was full of discerning students and there were some great questions for all the candidates.  I asked the Presidential candidates about the BC-STV referendum and AMS support for the ‘Yes’ campaign.   STV is known to raise voter participation in general and to magnify the voice of under-represented groups such as students.  Students have more to gain from a truly representative electoral system than most groups so we hope that the Presidential candidates would recognize the importance of this issue.

The good news is, all three candidates seem to be in agreement in principle. Here’s what they said.

Alex Monegro

Alex supports electoral reform.  He believes STV is a good first step in that process.  He says he is very interested in student initiatives and would gladly support giving resources to students groups in favour of the referendum.  This is great to hear but in the coming weeks we’ll need to speak to Alex again and clarify what reservations he has about STV as a solution to electoral reform.  If the president is not a heartfelt supporter of the issue it may be harder to convince the council and the student body in general to get behind the referendum en masse or to begin implementation of improved electoral processes on campus.

Paul Korczyk

Paul is very excited about electoral reform and the STV referendum in particular.  He was quite emotional about his disappointment at the failure of the previous referendum by such a close margin.  Paul says he believes STV gives a chance for student voices to be heard and hopes BC can set an example that will spread to other provinces and even to Ottawa.

Blake Frederick

Blake considers himself and advocate of electoral reform and is very interested in STV in particular.  It sounds like he would do what he can as president to gain AMS support for the BC referendum.  As he points out it will be up to the council to decide.  Hopefully this enthusiasm extends to other electoral issues such as the proposal to switch AMS voting to a Condorcet system (you’ll hear more about that on this site soon).

More to come…

So that’s our first report.  More will follow. We will be gathering the opinions of all the candidates with special attention to the VP External and the President.  Once our interviews are complete we’ll let you know all about it and we will be providing analysis of democratic issues on campus during the campaign.  If you support democratic reform you can

The larger our following, the more that will take notice.

Mark Crowley is a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at UBC.


2 Responses to “AMS Election Coverage Kickoff”

  1. You’ll be happy to know that the AMS will indeed be using Condorcet in this year’s election!

  2. Ratel Says:

    That’s great news. Now we’ll need to explain to everyone what that means. The Ubyssey has an article explaining the Condorcet system here.

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