CAUS chair firmly seated in Calgary

By Kris Kotarski

Winning elections is a breeze for Oliver Bladek.

The new University of Calgary Students’ Union Vice-president External achieved the position of chair of the Council of Alberta University Students by acclamation on May 13, 2001. As CAUS chair, Bladek’s primary reponsibility is to represent undergraduate and graduate students from the U of C, the University of Lethbridge and the University of Alberta in efforts to lobby the provincial government.

For Bladek, the position was easily won as no one ran in the election against him. This was his third acclamation in a row in less than three months.

When asked about his record of acclamations, Bladek joked "I’ve scared away the competition by sheer intimidation and cunning manipulative skill." Bladek was acclaimed in the SU 2001 general election, the U of C model UN presidential contest and the CAUS chair race.

"I think that the reason is purely by chance," he quickly added.

Bladek will have his work cut out as CAUS chair, as he will not have the advantage of a provincial election to assist his efforts this year.

"A lot of the issues are different this year," he said. "They are not visually appealing."

The focus of Bladek’s lobby efforts will be student loan needs assessment, parental contribution and the tuition cap. He hopes to make members of the provincial government take notice of the issues facing post-secondary students.

"It’s important to maintain a professional approach and still get the concerns to the ears that need to hear them," he said. "It’s also important to make sure the information gets to the students so they can talk to their MLAs and give them their concerns."

Bladek is happy to be a part of CAUS, a well-regarded entity in student politics.

"Having the chair here at the U of C is a big bonus," he said. "Dr. Lyle Oberg [Alberta Minister of Learning] called us one of the most successful lobby groups in Alberta. CAUS is very well-regarded and I hope to leave the chair in better shape than when I came in."

Bladek’s term begins June 1, 2001.

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