Candidates square off on education issues

By Ruth Davenport

Although the Students’ Union presidential candidates look like eight intelligent and qualified individuals, some students are having a hard time choosing one over the others.

"Why should I vote for any of you people?" demanded fifth-year student Adam Pye at the candidate’s forum on Wed., March 7. Pye went on to qualify each candidate in a less-than-flattering manner using such glowing terms as "nutcase," "pretty boy," "monotone girl" and "hair guy."

Seven of the eight declared candidates attempted to provide Pye with proof of their credentials, fielding questions on all the expected topics ranging from tuition increases, campus accessibility, their personal availability and lobby group efficiency. Audience members launched the odd curveball question in the form of "Would you hump Toby White’s leg right now?" but generally expressed disenchantment with the forum.

"I noticed that a lot of people up there were just saying the exact same thing," said first-year student Chris Langloys of the candidates. "They all said they’d lower tuition, but it’s been said for so long and you don’t see them doing anything about it. We’ve heard a few ideas, they’re going to lobby the government or whatever, but only a few people have gotten into how, the rest are just supporting lower tuition. I’m torn between two [candidates] and the rest I could just care less about."

Perennial campus hecklers Steve Pow and Richard MacMillan had a less orthodox perspective on the

"In general, the candidates lack charisma," mused MacMillan. "We’re going to abduct Toby White and create a void that can be filled with charisma."

Pow added his dissatisfaction with the candidates.

"There’s no leader in that bunch. Ryan Yau says he’s the voice of students, but if that’s the case, may I never speak again!"

The candidates themselves expressed a certain level of fatigue and dissatisfaction over the marathon forum which ran from noon until 2 p.m.

"Chairs would have been nice." said candidate Brad Parkyn. "That was a long time to be standing there."

Other candidates addressed difficulties in asking seven people the same question.

"It has to be recognized that there’s a set of problems that everyone’s touching on," said candidate André Rodrigues. "It’s hard to differentiate. By the time six other people have answered a question, your points are gone. What’s the point of repeating them?"

Audience members echoed this sentiment, expressing aggravation over what were termed "P.R." responses to audience questions.

"I guess their options are limited, there are certain things you have to say," said Pye of the candidates’ performance. "If you say you’re not going to fight tuition hikes, you’re not going to do very well, but I think there has to be more to it than that. I was hoping to irritate someone enough to get some originality and I didn’t get it."

When asked to provide a single word to summarize themselves and their campaign, candidates provided answers from "scream" to "you" to "communicate." Regardless of individual differences all candidates agreed on the importance of voting in the forthcoming elections.

"If you don’t vote, then another asshole with just enough friends to get himself elected will get elected and nothing will change," declared candidate Danjiel Margetic. "You can elect any of the eight of us and nothing will change unless the person in power has the students standing behind him. One person alone can’t make a difference."

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