Elections loom

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author: john loeppky | editor-in-chief 


Those in question / Jeremy Davis

By-elections to decide URSU President

The URSU by-elections are taking place as you read this in print and the most visible names on the ballot are the five students running for the presidency vacated by Haris Khan.  

Those five candidates are Sukhdeep Brar, Matthew Fedler, Shawn Wiskar, Rashad Haque, and Colton Macdonald. Fedler, Wiskar, and Macdonald have previously campaigned for executive positions, while Brar and Haque are new to campaigning.  

Last week saw the all-candidates forum and campaigning in the Riddell Centre hallway heating up. Below is a summary of each candidate’s platform.  

Fedler, a political science major with experience running for the New Democrats, has four main pillars to his campaign (via his social media): reconciliation, accessibility, campus safety, and sustainability. His tagline being “Fight for Change.” 

“If elected URSU President I would begin work immediately to create and implement an action plan to campaign for more investment in post-secondary education, as well as a tuition freeze at the U of R.” 

“Work with student leaders and advocacy groups such as the Women’s Centre, UR Pride and Our Turn to push the University to improve our D+ rating when it comes to our sexual assault.” 

He also promised the creation of an “URSU Indigenization Workplan.” 

Brar’s platform is predicated on reducing the fees paid by students, according to his campaign statement.  

“[I] will work on the paid parking issue (bus pass fees being applied students who drive to university).”  

The claim would equate to gutting the U-Pass, the topic of two previous referendums and solidified through an agreement with the City of Regina. Brar also campaigned on the promise of making changes in “the transparency issues in associations under URSU,” while also creating “better accommodations for newcomer International Students” while “cut[ing] down on the fees which are not used by students that University of Regina is taking, i.e. Recreation & Athletic fee.” 

It is unclear what fees this would mean removing other than the fee that goes to the gym. Brar’s approach is opposed to Fedler’s promise of “Work[ing] with the municipal government to improve and expand bus routes to make them more accessible to U-Pass holders.” 

Macdonald’s approach to the presidency is based upon five focus areas as well: halting tuition, reducing parking fees, “speed[ing] up student loans,” making URSU a living-wage employer, and fighting for “Fair and Affordable Education.” His slogan is “Let’s work for real action to help students.” 

Wiskar’s campaign focuses on his previous experience as an URSU executive as well as the restoration of the Owl’s reputation and moving forward with a referendum to leave the Canadian Federation of Students. 

“Over my past two years working for the URSU executive, I have revamped and rejuvenated many crucial areas of URSU. I began as the primary student advocate working diligently to raise the profile of student issues such as discrimination or inequalities within the faculties. I worked with my other exec’s to expand this portfolio with the creation of a full time URSU advocate, the expansion of the emergency bursary program, and the creation of the URSU Cares pantry and 

breakfast program.” 

Rashad Haque’s “goal is to make student life easier, cheaper, and more fun. I’ve been attending this University for about two years on, and we really lack the motivation to hold great events on campus. I wanna empower clubs to hold many events through out the school year, to engage students and/or spread awareness regarding specific issues.” 

The week also included the All-Candidates Forum where students were given the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates. As usual, social media was a hotbed for campaign material and Jermain McKenzie posted about the importance of the election in a lengthy post that pointed to his accomplishments and his role for students, much the same as he did at the forum, while taking issue with presidential candidate Shawn Wiskar. 

“I don’t have a friend at the Carillon to tell lies to and half truths, so until I publish my full experiences in URSU, you can feel free to reach out and ask what have I done for you during my time in office. Lots more to tell, but in time it will all be revealed. So, I implore you, please look at those running and ask what did they do when they had the opportunity to help you. Ask them what are they actually going to do to help you. Come and talk to me and I will always tell you the unadulterated truth as I have nothing to hide. Please vote and please vote wisely!” This is in addition to his campus-wide email weeks ago, as quoted in a previous Carillon article. 

The presidential race is not the only one being run during the by-elections. Those include the positions of Arts Director, FNUC Director, Francophone Students’ Director, LGBTQ Director, Part Time Students Director, along with positions on Senate and Executive of Council.  

Voting will take place on Oct. 17 and 18 through UR Self Service.  

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