Picking the next USC president
When the University Students’ Council
presidential campaign began a couple weeks ago, The Gazette
vowed to endorse the one candidate its editorial board felt
would make the best USC president.
This was not in an attempt to influence the results, but rather
an honest effort to take the election seriously and encourage
free-thinking student voters to do the same.
We believe the USC president should be everything common sense
would dictate: a good leader and communicator, intelligent,
pragmatic, and someone with good ideas and the will to back
Believe it or not, there have been years where not a single
USC presidential candidate had a sufficient mix of these qualities
to convince critical-thinking bystanders they were up to the
job. This year there are two.
Patrick Harris and Kathy Robineau have each demonstrated they
have the capacity to be a solid USC president. A debate about
both these individuals reveals that Harris has the ambition
needed to stand out and actually attempt to effect substantive
Much of the talk surrounding Harris’ campaign concerns
his promise to lobby the provincial government to lower the
age of majority (i.e. the legal drinking age) to 18. Albeit
pickpocketed out of The Gazette’s editorial following
the collapse of the Wet/Dry Program, lowering the drinking
age to 18 is a legitimate student issue, particularly for the
thousands of first-year students who have been socially segregated
due to the double cohort.
The rest of the talk about Harris deals with his political
affiliation. He served as advisor to the premier and minister
of education for Ontario’s former Progressive Conservative
government. However, this speaks to his experience, and his
platform does not reflect his political ideology the way the
platform of one of his opponents, Dave Molenhuis, reflects
his New Democratic Party dogmatism.
For her part, Robineau has boatloads of USC experience. But
her platform lacks anything substantive that hasn’t already
been tried before.
Both of these candidates have what it takes. Both are competent
and both would represent student interests when dealing with
USC bureaucrats, the university administration or the provincial
The Gazette has been critical of the current USC leadership
for its status quo approach to the year, and we would be remiss
if we did not support the candidate who has all of the above
qualities, as well as lofty ambition.
The question then concerns how feasible it is to get the province
to lower the age of majority. It’s definitely a tough
sell. Yet we’d prefer the able president that will at
least try to the able president that won’t.