Choosing A President

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

February 10, 2009 Ed Cartoon

With two weeks of campaigning complete, the time has arrived for Western students to choose a successor to Stephen Lecce as University Students’ Council president.

Beyond executing his or her platform initiatives, next year’s USC president has the unenviable task of inheriting a number of major projects, such as handling the fate of the University Community Centre referendum and managing the student government under constrained finances.

With so much at stake for students, the field of candidates running for the position this year has proven to be a bit of a disappointment. While all of them have redeemable qualities, none have shown themselves to be head and shoulders above the competition.

Unlike previous years, there has been no clear-cut standout from the onset of the campaign.

Most disappointing, in a year where so much is at stake for the USC, many of the platforms outlined by most candidates were poorly researched and did not take into account the limited finances of the organization.

Additionally, the debates have been a missed opportunity for the candidates to distinguish themselves, as little genuine discussion has transpired at any of them.

As well, none of the candidates " including those with a track record of USC involvement " have adequately utilized any of the forums to emphasize their past experience.

Despite the overall disappointing nature of the campaign, there have been some highlights.

Emily Rowe’s team has done a remarkable job of getting her name out both on and off campus. Most notably, her “Boom De Ya Da” video has not only spawned other candidates to create campaign videos, but has also garnered national attention from Macleans magazine.

She has taken campaigning to a level not seen in years at Western and has set a high bar for establishing name recognition for future campaigns.

Ashley Bushfield has also had a relatively strong showing over the past few weeks.

While some may have pigeonholed her to be a single-issue candidate at the start of the campaign, Bushfield has been the best spoken at the debates and has shown she can confidently speak on a number of issues.

Bushfield should also be commended for using minimal resources and maintaining a commitment to running an environmentally friendly campaign.

Overall, though none of the candidates have distinguished themselves as the front-runner in this year’s campaign, it is important to still cast a ballot for someone.

More than any other year, the USC president will be involved in important discussions over the next few years. Not voting would only reinforce the stereotype of USC elections being a popularity contest.

Realistically, no person who assumes the role of USC president is fully ready for the position. Vote for the individual you believe will have the fastest learning curve for the job.

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