AMS Exec. Endorsements and Commentary

January 27, 2009

This year, a significant part of the portfolio of the Vice President External – and to a lesser extent the President – will be making student issues heard and getting students out to vote during the provincial election.  Along with this provincial election we will have a referendum on whether to change to the BC-STV voting system recommended by the BC Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.  As we have discussed in our post ‘Why is the BC-STV Referendum So Important for Students?,’ we think this referendum is even more important for students than the election, and we hope that the VP External and the President will be strong advocates for BC-STV.

Thus, we make several endorsements below based solely on the candidates’ views of BC-STV and the role they would have the AMS play on this issue. We provide discussion and links in hopes that you (the voter) will read more and make your own decision.

You will be able to vote through the AMS elections website Starting Jan. 29th at 9AM.

Vice President External

Our Recommended Ranking (You get to rank candidates 1,2,3, etc. when you vote) is:

1  Timothy Chu

2  Iggy Rodriguez *

3  Fire

4  King’s Head


Fortunately, there are no candidates that came out strongly against BC-STV. (* Update: It turns out there may be one. )

We chose Tim as our first choice because he is passionate about voting reform and thinks that the AMS should be active on this issue.  He also has concrete ideas as to how the external office might raise awareness and support for BC-STV, and his year of experience as an AMS councilor should help him hit the ground running.

While Iggy supports changing our current voting system to one that is more representative, he is fairly neutral on BC-STV specifically.  Nonetheless, he is gung-ho about making sure students were aware of the issue and using it to increase student voter turnout in the 2009 provincial election.  He would respect an AMS endorsement, but was again fairly neutral as to whether the AMS should endorse BC-STV.  He has a great deal of experience in political campaigns with Vision and the Federal Liberals, which should stand him in good stead, however he does not have any experience on AMS council.  We hope he will first run for AMS council, and then run for VP External again next year.  (* UPDATE: It appears Iggy is the creator of the ‘No to BC-STV’ Facebook group, so he may be more against BC-STV that we originally understood.)

Both Tim and Iggy have strong partisan affiliations (Tim with the NDP, Iggy with the Liberals of Canada and BC).  While I’m sure they would not bring their partisan affiliations into their AMS executive positions explicitly, their backgrounds will certainly influence their views of issues in the external portfolio, so we think this is an important consideration to keep in mind.

Fire and King’s Head are joke candidates, which is why we have ranked them last, despite great entertainment value.

Candidate bios
Other blogs
Coverage from the Ubyssey

President:

All the candidates for President are quite good and we encourage you to do your own research, but just based on which are strongest on BC-STV our Recommended Ranking (You get to rank candidates 1,2,3, etc. when you vote) is:

1  Blake Frederick
2  Paul Korczyk
3  Alex Monegro

Fortunately, all the candidates appear to be in favour of BC-STV, just with varying degrees of enthusiasm.  Since this position is very important for the AMS (not just for BC-STV), we encourage you to read more and make your own decision, taking other issues into account as well.

Blake Frederick is very passionate about voting reform, as well as other issues like transit, housing, the environment, etc.  I would expect him to be a strong advocate on these issues as well as the quality of education.  He was Assistant Vice President (AVP) Academic and then AVP External in two consecutive years, so he certainly has a great deal of relevant experience (probably the most of all the candidates), which I believe is a definite plus for a president.  He was also on the Senate (the Chair of the student caucus if I remember correctly).  Blake’s major is philosophy.

Paul Korczyk is very passionate about democracy in general and voting reform in particular.  He has leadership experience in the residences (i.e. as a residence advisor), but he has very little experience in student politics, and thus did not demonstrate a strong understanding of what he might do as president and how.  He is therefore a bit of an unknown, which is not to say that he might not turn out to be a great president.  Paul is going into education.

Alex Monegro is another excellent candidate for president.  He is the current Vice President External for the Commerce Undergraduate Society, and has been on AMS council for one year.  I would also expect his background in business to stand him well in making the AMS run smoothly and likely in dealing with the university administration as well.  His intended focus as president is working for better quality of education at UBC, as well as making the AMS run smoothly.  He believes that the AMS should play a supportive role when it comes to BC-STV, however.  Granted, he is an international student and understandably isn’t particularly passionate about electoral reform in BC.  He sees BC-STV as one of many worthwhile initiatives (not of special importance as we do).  I suspect this applies to some of the other more political issues, where Blake and perhaps Paul might prefer a more active role for the AMS.

With two, maybe three very qualified candidates, this race comes down to what kind of president you would like more than which candidate is most qualified.

The candidate bios

Other blogs
Coverage from the Ubyssey

Other Positions:

There are three other executive positions as well as two seats on the Board of Governors at stake in this election.  Since these positions are not particularly relevant to BC-STV and voting reform, we recommend that you consult our previously discussed sources of information and vote for the best candidate.  The candidate bios are here.

VFM (Voter Funded Media) – $8000 in Prizes!

This is where you vote for how much money each media source should get for providing good election coverage.  We hope you give us $2000, and all the other media what you think they deserve.

Also, don’t forget to invite your friends to vote as well!

By: Bruce Krayenhoff, Eric Nadal, and Richard Wong

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2 Responses to “AMS Exec. Endorsements and Commentary”

  1. Mark Crowley Says:

    UPDATE on VP External: It appears Iggy is the creator of the ‘No to BC-STV’ Facebook group, so he may be more against BC-STV that we originally understood. We definitely encourage you to vote for Tim Chu unless you agree with Iggy that we should wait for another chance at electoral reform to come up. To do this you should feel the need to
    1- propose a better system than BC-STV which is actually quite hard when you look at the details
    2- wait for a government to willingly allow us to vote on the change again even after several referendum defeats…good luck with that, hope you grandchildren enjoy the new system!


  2. […] at Fair Vote UBC were happy to see that the two candidates we endorsed, Blake Frederick for AMS president and Tim Chu for VP External, were both elected in their […]


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