You should vote in the USC elections

They affect you more directly than you'd think

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

You wouldn’t skip voting in a provincial or a federal election, would you? OK, you would â€" but you’d hopefully at least feel bad about it. Even if you didn’t manage to make it out to the polls, most would agree you should vote if it is convenient.

And even if you were totally unconcerned, you’d at least know who the candidates were and what they stood for.

That’s why I don’t understand the apathy that envelops campus during University Students’ Council elections.

Those on campus who are politically inclined â€" or friends with a candidate â€" will talk about the festivities now and then, but otherwise people are unconcerned. I definitely can’t think of many times I’ve heard friends bring it up.

Here’s why this doesn’t make sense to me: unless you’re in fourth year, the USC elections will likely affect you far more significantly and directly than any other Canadian election.

Think about it: you’re likely 19-21 years old. The tax rates probably don’t affect you that much, unless you’re earning a hell of a lot more than I am. You might be interested in international relations and the legal system â€" and they surely affect you in the long run â€" but on a day-to-day basis they’re not your biggest concern. You’re probably not even that worried about the price of gas, since you likely don’t own a car.

Compare that to the USC. Suppose you’ll be living here in the summer. Will you be needing a bus pass, and is the candidate you’re voting (or not voting) for proposing to extend it to a full-year pass? For that matter, you might be a part-time student relying on the candidates to get you a bus pass at all.

Maybe you’re a varsity athlete. Unless you play football or hockey, you can’t be entirely satisfied with your funding and stadium arrangements. Which candidate has thought things through to work with Mustang Athletics? Who’s made it a priority, who’s got a pipe dream, and who’s got a viable plan?

These are only a couple examples, but rest assured there are issues affecting us directly. If nothing else, you must care about the candidates’ respective plans to lower food and textbook costs in the University Community Centre.

Even if you haven’t checked out the candidates’ platforms, you’ve likely met them via their campaigns. If you’ve only met one, that’s a reason to vote for him â€" it seems as if he’ll be more accessible to students.

It’s easy to say the candidates are all alike, but that’s not the case. Their aims, platforms and personalities vary and each will bring something different to the table.

Would we be building a new recreation centre had Ryan Dunn not been elected? If Fab Dolan had lost, what would be the status on the UCC lease?

We can’t know yet what Tom Stevenson’s legacy will be, but it certainly will be different than his opponents’ would have been.

So vote in the USC elections. It affects you far more than you might think.

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