Presidential forum draws one

If attendance at Monday’s Presidential Forum was an indicator of the outcome of the presidential race, predicting this year’s winner would be easy. In real life, though, it’s not that simple.

Of Tyler Brekko, Faisal Rana and Toby White, only White showed up to face outgoing Students’ Union President Rob South’s barrage of questioning.

Brekko was apologetic about missing the forum.

“Although I expected to attend the forum, I spent the morning counselling a friend,” he said.

Rana did not attend for personal reasons.

“The reason I wasn’t at the forum was because I was taking my mother to the hospital,” he said.

Although White may have been intimidated at facing the lunching crowd solo, he quickly warmed up after some well-answered questions.

“It probably helps me a lot that I was able to get my platform out,” White said afterwards. “But it might hurt me a little too, because I didn’t get to clash my platform or bounce anything off the other candidates.”

The forum, which took place in the middle of MacEwan Student Centre over the lunch hour, began 15 minutes later than scheduled while organizers waited for the two remaining candidates. Once it became clear that the forum could be postponed no longer, South began the event with a series of questions all candidates received beforehand.

“[White] was well-prepared,” said South afterwards. “He did very well with the fact-based questions, and he seemed to have a well-formulated opinion on the opinion-based questions.”

Because White had the microphone all to himself, he had a chance to answer all the questions posed, and answered almost all of them correctly, sometimes to the cheering of supportive sections in the audience.

As it was noon in the food court, the forum had an “audience” of over 100 students. But exactly how many students found the forum more interesting than their meals was debatable.

South was also disappointed with the turnout.

“I just wish we could have had more of a competition there,” he said. “It would have been more interesting for the students. I think more people eating their lunches would have paid attention.”

With a number of acclamations already declared in this year’s election, White believes that more students will have time to concentrate on picking a good president.

“I’m hoping that the number of acclamations might be able to help us, and it’ll provide more focus on the presidential race,” said White. “People will have less info to go over, and they’ll be able to go into detail when they’re researching the presidential position.”

A second presidential forum is scheduled for next Tuesday at noon at Speaker’s Corner. Both Brekko and Rana say they will attend.

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