URSU Election Results

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The outcome of the 2011 University of Regina Students' Union general election can be found here. Some incredibly close races, folks. There was also a respectable 19.9 per cent voter turnout. Congratulations to all candidates on a hard-fought campaign. Have a relaxing weekend, everyone!

17 comments

  1. tami 18 March, 2011 at 10:01

    Well, I couldn't be happier. Enough of the nonsense that we have been getting from the old URSU executive. Honesty is always the best policy and that commodity has been lacking around this place since last fall. I am normally non political (esp. URSU politics) but this episode with the CFS vote, the delay and games in giving the results, plus the outside campaign interference that we saw from the John Gormley radio show, have politicized me like nothing was able to do before. Congrats to all the winners. Now – get to work  🙂

  2. Alex 18 March, 2011 at 13:37

    Kent Peterson better not trash the Premier anymore. I will not put up with partisan BS from MY union.

  3. Geoff 18 March, 2011 at 13:52

    Alex, Kent was just elected the president of the University of Regina Students' Union, not Alex's Students Union. It's not YOUR students' union, it's OUR students union. Maybe someday you'll understand that not everyone sees the world in the same way as you – I believe that's supposed to be part of a well-rounded university education.
    Second, there is nothing in the URSU constitution that says the URSU President needs to support every action of the current government. It is the responsibility of the Students' Union executive to forcefully advocate on behalf of students as they see fit. If that involves being critical of the government in power, so be it. Lobby organizations wouldn't be very effective if they didn't use a variable mix of private and public pressure, and there isn't a damn thing that's partisan about that fact.
    Grow up.

  4. Alex 18 March, 2011 at 20:21

    Sorry Geoff, but unfortunately you simply don't understand. Clearly I have struck a nerve with you – I can only assume you are a supporter of Kent. I am not a supporter of Kent (nor was I especially supportive of Kyle, except insofar as to recognize that he was our president). I only care about results. I don't believe in divisive partisanship.
     
    Keep your bias in check, Geoff. I'm arguing from a strictly rational basis. I would ask you to try to do the same.
     
    The president of the URSU isn't supposed to take a partisan stance because that invariably impedes his ability to advocate on behalf of the students. Supporting the NDP is not supporting the students. I am embarrassed by his past behaviour; if he brings a partisan attitude to the presidency it will be to the absolute detriment of the student community. I question whether Kent can honestly represent the student community when he appears to be more interesting in furthering his future political career opportunities with the NDP.
     
    I expect the URSU president – whatever his personal beliefs – to work with the government, not to take a partisan stance against the government and to announce support for the provincial opposition party – you would be wise to expect the same thing. The fact that Kent has taken a partisan stance against the Sask Party means that, in all likelihood, he will be less able to work with the government to further our interests. He has set the tone for an anti-cooperative environment by taking a partisan stance against the government. And, by advocating radicalism as part of his platform, he will only delegitimate the URSU in the eyes of the public (which largely supports the Sask Party).
     
    I would love to hear Kent personally explain how he is going to reconcile his poor, partisan behaviour. I fear that the students' relationship with the provincial government is going to be severely undercut should Kent continue to act in such an irresponsible and altogether inappropriate manner. But go ahead, continue to insult me and question the caliber of my education – I suppose you need that sort of fallback, given how poorly considered your comments were.
     
    Alex

  5. Geoff 18 March, 2011 at 21:03

    I'm not sure what bias you're referring to in my comment. I didn't mention the NDP, and I didn't even mention Kent except to say that he represents all students, not just you.
    My point is this: I think we can both agree that Kent is probably not going to have a great working relationship with Rob Norris or Brad Wall. The difference is that you think that's the worst thing that could ever happen to a lobby organization, and I don't. What good is a cozy working relationship if it doesn't bring results? As far as I can tell, Rob Norris was ready to drape his arm around Kyle's shoulder at the drop of a hat for a nice photo op, and they were great pals as far as those things go, but tuition still went up. Kyle Addison was a dream come true for the Sask Party government, because Kyle would never be a pain in their ass, and would never try to sway public/student opinion in a way that didn't suit the government. Tuition went up, and Kyle allowed the government to say "See, students don't mind." And some don't. But some do, too. Enough to elect Kent and his slate, anyway. (Though I'm sure the whole CFS thing played a role, too).
    Look at it this way, to reverse things a bit: When Lorne Calvert was Premier, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation didn't walk around on eggshells because they wanted to maintain their good working relationship. They fired up their cannons for every budget and hammered away. Because they disagreed. They changed the conversation, they impacted public opinion (over many years), and taxes went down. 
    Now, I suppose Kyle agreed with the current government on most of their policies. That's fine. That's not a partisan thing, per se. Let's call it an ideological thing. That's also why the Students Union has elections, because that simple agreement or disagreement really matters. Kent resigned from the NDP, ran, and won. Now, he can disagree with the current government. Vocally and in public, if he so chooses. Because maybe that will get better results than the photo op followed by walking away empty-handed on budget day. If you really can't stand the idea of Kent (or his successor) doing that, I think the nominations open again in February 2012.
    I apologize for taking a shot at your education, that wasn't nice or fair. But don't tell me I don't understand, because I do, very well.

  6. Alex 18 March, 2011 at 21:46

    Geoff,
     
    It sounds like we're more in agreement than not. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I hope that Kent advocates on behalf of the students and not on his personal feelings about the Sask Party. I also worry that much of the damage might already have been done; however, Kent will certainly have an opportunity to offer a cooperative hand, moving forward.
     
    While you're correct to point out that photo-ops without substantive results are meaningless endeavours, I worry that no photo-ops and an obstructionist anti-Sask Party sentiment/platform will have the same effect – except that it will also make the URSU look like it's playing political games to the rest of the public, which I don't think will help the URSU nor the students in the long term.
     
    I suppose we'll have to wait and see what Kent brings to the table. My first comment was as much out of frustration over much of the behaviour of the previous URSU leadership as the incombent leadership. I guess I just feel that the politics of the URSU often gets in the way of students, who, for the most part I think you'll agree, don't really care one way or the other about who holds the purse strings of the URSU.
     
    When you have a person in a leadership position that has shown a particular type of partisanship (or ideology, if you would prefer) I think it has the effect of pushing people away. I was hoping that we could move toward a more cooperative political environment. That being said, we'll have to wait and see whether Kent brings his personal belief system to his position.
     
    As for the education comment, don't worry about it. In all likelihood you're as stressed out and under-the-gun as I am. It happens. I'm likewise sorry for implying that you don't understand the issue; certainly, reasonable people can reasonably disagree, and, as I said, I think we're more so in agreement than anything. Results are what matters.
     
    Oh, and as an aside about the tuition issue: the problem is that the cost of education is rising – dramatically. When you institute a tuition freeze it invariably leads to a decline in the quality of education at the end of that freeze. Certainly there is a role for student unions in that process, and advocating for lower tuition is certainly part of it, but a tuition freeze alone is not a solution – it's a band-aid. I hope that the URSU can work with the University executive (another reason I was concerned by Kent's past behaviour) and the Sask Party to identify the systemic causes of the rise in tuition (something that the CFS has apparently been unable or unwilling to actually examine) and come up with novel solutions to curb its rise.

    Alex

  7. tami 19 March, 2011 at 09:10

    Alex you need to come clean about something. You are a big fan of Brad Wall and you are not at all being honest with us here. You want our new President to quietly accept whatever the Sask Party government offers us and not disagree with them in any way. That is more than obvious when you write "I expect the URSU president – whatever his personal beliefs – to work with the government, not to take a partisan stance against the government".  You are acting like a mole for the provincial government. What you are doing is called passive aggressive. You are a Brad Wall hack and we have had enough of that around here.

  8. Alex 19 March, 2011 at 11:45

    Thanks for the fantastic contribution to the comments, Tami! I really appreciate your excellent and well considered comments (I am obviously being sarcastic, in case that was not readily apparent). You have just demonstrated exactly what I despise about student activism – the baseless, arrogant partisanship that undermines rational discussion and proper discourse. Thank you for illustrating my point so eloquently (though unintentionally, I am sure). 
     
    I stated several times that I do not hold a political leaning toward either of the competing interests vying for control of the URSU.. I also gave no indication toward my provincial political leanings (which, I assure you, are sufficiently complex that I cannot be lumped into either party's support base). What I do have, though, is a practical recognition that the voting public prefers the Sask Partys cooperative style of politics compared with the oppositions decidedly obstructionist and divisive tactics; my hope – consistently illustrated by my comments – is that the URSU can adopts similar style of political discourse. As that old idiom reminds us, you'll attract more flies with honey than vinegar.

     
    While I welcome constructive counter points (should you have any to offer), I have no interest in your partisan rhetoric. You might call me a hack or a mole, but at least I was able to articulate my thoughts. You, on the other hand, clearly have no interest in participating in a proper, rational discourse. Ironically, you are actually demonstrating why partisanship does not work – instead of continuing this discussion to the benefit of both of us, I'm just going to end the discussion.
     
    All the best.
     
    Alex

  9. tami 19 March, 2011 at 13:40

    Let's examine the facts. Alex says that 'he' is not partisan but both I and Geoff are. His statement "I also gave no indication toward my provincial political leanings", comes on the heels of this one " Kent Peterson better not trash the Premier anymore".
    Sask Party hack. Pure and simple. What you say in one post is not matching up with what you say in other posts.

  10. Amy L 19 March, 2011 at 14:52

    Tami – I saw nothing in Alex's comments to suggest that he is, as you say, a "hack." (And let it be said that I hold very little love for the current government.) Truthfully, all I saw was a very mature and interesting exchange between two individuals. It's refreshing to see that both were able to own up to poor choices in their initial comments, and that both were able to show respect to the other despite any opposing viewpoints. That's the kind of exchange that would have been appreciated throughout the campaign!
     
    One can support the Sask Party without being a hack. Thank goodness for that, because if they won the election, I hope there is some logic behind supporting Mr. Wall. I happen to prefer other candidates (and strongly), but that doesn't mean that anyone who feels differently is insuperior in some way. Alex and Geoff differ less in their political viewpoints and more in their vision of how closely our URSU representative should align with the current government, and both raise valid points about such a role. I lean more towards Geoff's opinion, but recognize the points Alex is making and hope that our new president will consider both viewpoints. I'm conident that he will, Tami, and I hope that you can do the same.

  11. tami 19 March, 2011 at 15:41

    Thank you Amy. You make a lot of sense. I lashed out somewhat because Geoff and I were being accused of being 'partisan' by someone who argued that he wasn't being so,  while taking a definitive stand pro the current provincial administration. Do we not have an academic responsibility to question and challenge? Clearly my opinion has no more validity than does Alex, but he has been quick in this thread to label others as partisan because our opinion differs from his.

  12. Jesse Leontowicz 19 March, 2011 at 15:44

    Alex called Tami out on being partisan, and her response was unbelievably partisan, that's just funny.
    But the question I ask: Is a tuition freeze even reasonable? Education isn't cheap at the University level, and while I would love everyone to have access and afford it, is it really reasonable? Someone has to pay for it, just stating "it should be free" or "tuition costs should be reduced" without any means of where the money will flow in from or how to do so. Yes I believe Education is a right, but do we force the entire Sask population to pay via taxes for this? (By that I mean Post-secondary education). Maybe we are just stuck with a bill that we have to pay, as their is no other fair option. Maybe there is a way, but no one has ever shared that idea.
    Obviously, well-off parents or students who can pay for their education are not the target for a tuition freeze, but isn't this where bursaries and scholarships level the paying field? If your rich, you can't get alot of the scholarships due to a "based on financial need" rule. Scholarships should make tuition free for every financially poor student, yet everyone complains that tuition is too high while millions of dollars of scholarships go unclaimed every year. Maybe all that is needed is a much easier, fluid system for scholarship applications (because they are a gigantic pain in the ass)
     
    Thanks

  13. Mike Burton 20 March, 2011 at 03:46

    @Jesse,
    So you make it sounds like it is an enormous cost to offer lower or even free tuition.  For every student in post secondary in Saskatchewan to have a completely free education would cost about $150 million a year.  To put that in perspective when the NDP cut the PST by two percentage points it was estimated that $320 million was how much that tax  cost the government.  So, free tuition would cost the taxpayers 1% increase in the PST.
    You bring up the point that all Saskatchewan tax payers will be funding this system.  That is correct but post secondary graduates in general and University grades in particular make significantly higher incomes then people with only high school.  That means via our progress tax system the government, and therefore the people of Saskatchewan will benefit from every post secondary graduate that is produced.
    Awards that have as their main requirement financial need are called bursaries.  Awards whose major requirement are marks are called scholarships.  Do some scholarships go unclaimed, for sure but the reason for that is often that the donor who gave the scholarship made the criteria so limiting that very few students are eligible to attend.  The best way the government could increase the accessibility for low income students is through a system of needs based grants. 
    In closing, it's important to remember that we are not talking about huge numbers that fully funded tuition freeze that existed for four years of the previous government and one year of the current government cost tax payers about $20 million a year and helped move Saskatchewan from being the third highest tuition in the country to the fifth highest.  Saskatchewan students still pay about $1200 more then our neighbours in Manitoba.  Although I am not sure tuition should be reduce to zero I am positive that it should be lowered to at least Manitoba levels.  That would probably cost the government $45 million dollars but in the long run would mean higher government revenues through the progressive tax system.  To me that sounds like a win, win for students and tax payers. 

  14. Jesse Leontowicz 21 March, 2011 at 00:04

    Thanks Mike, it's nice to hear a WAY of getting tuition reduction, with legit plan to back it up! But forcing the population to pay for the minority of post-secondary University seems a tad unfair, even if it is beneficial. We will always need grocery store workers and cashiers, why tax them, with their lower incomes, for the benefit of others? And just taxing the people with a degree seems detrimental to actually getting a degree. It's a big issue that needs to be addressed when you want to tax everyone, the reason behind the tax matters more than the size of the tax. It is interesting how in most trade-based post secondary education, the gov't pays half their wage via EI and the employer pays for their schooling. (I think, I could be wrong). But if you compare that, from tradespeople getting paid to goto school to University students who have to pay to goto school; it's weird how that works. What do you think Mike (or other people), what are some fair ways to lower University tuition/ make it affordable? I know a career in carpentry was enticing, I would be making money the first day out of High School, with Uni, my first possible wasnt for four more years, at the earliest!

  15. Bradster Wall 21 March, 2011 at 05:41

    great work Kent.
    I like to screw students by jacking up there tuition fees, and screwing workers!

  16. Mike Burton 21 March, 2011 at 15:23

    Jesse,

    University grads on average make $20, 000 more a year than people with only a high school education.  That means that University grads pay significantly more income tax but also pay significantly more consumption tax because they have a larger income in order to consume with.  The point is that the upfront investment by the tax payers will make for higher tax revenues in the long term.  When that grocery clerk or cashier retires, they will have access to a publicly funded pension through the CPP or additional supports through the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Old Age Security.  Those will be funded by the higher income earner post secondary graduate who those workers put through school.  So will, for that matter, their health care costs.  To me, the grocery clerk would benefit from their tax payers dollars being spent on education because not only would their kids have a chance to attend but also because those grads would fund the government program that takes care of those workers after they retire. 

    I never suggested that we just tax the person who gets a degree.  I suggested that since they make more money they will pay more taxes.  That is how a progressive income tax system works. 
    Finally, I agree that there are problems with the EI system.  For example University students pay EI premiums while they are in school if they work or get a summer job  but they are ineligible to collect EI benefits.  If you aren't insurable you should not have to pay the premium, in my opinion.
    Thanks for your post.  It's an important dialogue to keep having. 

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