By Rob South
As a sparse crowd of about 20 looked on at Speakers’ Corner this Tuesday, candidates for the one open slot on each of the Students’ Union’s Operations and Finance Commission and the External Commission presented their case for election.
"We need to make tuition cheaper for students," said External Commission candidate Paul Chinook. "But I don’t know if lowering [tuition] is the answer. We need to make more funds available to students to help them finance their education."
Chinook outlined his platform of having the SU and the University of Calgary search for more funding from the private sector. His opponent Chanh Trinh spent more time talking about the need for greater communication with students. Trinh also spoke about what mediums of lobbying he thought were effective.
"Petitions and letters are effective," said Trinh. "But protests, you look like a bunch of idiots standing in front of the legislature. And the news cameras come along and capture that."
When asked for their opinions on what the SU should do if a federal or provincial election is called, both candidates expressed similar ideas about increasing communication to students and the public.
Increasing communication with students was also a large topic of conversation for the Operations and Finance Candidates, particularly for Sam Chhean.
"I am a first-year student as well, so I don’t know a lot about where money is going, so I hope to find out," said Chhean. "If I get my foot in the door I will show students what the SU is all about."
Candidate Lara Kaiser believes the SU should do more to inform students about what is happening. She presented a number of ideas.
"You need to have student consultations and forums," said Kaiser. "By doing this students would feel more involved and better about the SU."
Candidate Robbie White wanted to make sure students understood he would have a professional relationship with his brother, SU President Toby White, if elected an Operations and Finance Commissioner.
"People might think that being in the SU with my brother might not mean I will speak against him," said White. "That is not true; I am here for students."
The centrepiece of White’s platform is a review of the finances of the U of C-run Dining Centre in residence; he believes the operation needs to be better able to serve students.
The forum was organized by the SU’s Elections Promotion Committee in an effort to raise awareness about voting, which occurs from Oct. 11-13.