A by-election for the SSMU VP Internal position was called following the resignation of previous VP Internal Lola Baraldi on October 1. The voting period runs until November 16.
The VP Internal manages communications between SSMU and its members, oversees the planning and management of campus events, and coordinates relations with faculty associations. The VP Internal also manages the staff in the Internal portfolio.
Alexei Simakov, a U4 International Development Studies student, became the sole candidate for the position of VP Internal after his opponent Céleste Pagniello withdrew her candidacy on November 11. Last March, Simakov ran unsuccessfully for the position of SSMU president. Simakov is the current president of Conservative McGill and has worked with the Moderate Political Action Committee (ModPAC). His platform is fivefold: to undertake a reform of SSMU’s electoral system to make it more democratic, to increase delegation of event operations to event chairs, to facilitate transparency regarding SSMU’s shortcomings, to address the financial inefficiency of the current yearbook system, and to defend students’ “personal and intellectual freedom.”
Endorsement: “No” vote
The Daily endorses a “no” vote for Alexei Simakov as SSMU VP Internal. In addition to lacking experience in areas relevant to the position, such as event planning, Simakov’s platform shows a lack of vision and a questionable understanding of the portfolio: electoral reform, for instance, falls outside the VP Internal’s purview, while the yearbook fee reform is already under active implementation. Furthermore, Simakov’s stance that safe space and oppression are topics to be put up for debate betrays a misunderstanding of equity – an essential aspect of the portfolio. His disregard for the francophone affairs portion of the portfolio is also worrisome.
Another concern is Simakov and his campaign team’s decision to mobilize their efforts toward anonymously and publicly undermining his opponent, rather than following the proper channels through Elections SSMU – a body that, having already issued a censure, had shown itself to be receptive to concerns. Unlike his opponent, Simakov and his campaign team deliberately and unapologetically chose to perpetuate a vicious atmosphere of personal attacks instead of prioritizing their own campaign.
—The McGill Daily editorial board
Coordinating News editor Cem Ertekin was not present for, or involved in, the discussion of this candidate endorsement, as he was involved in the unofficial “no” vote campaign.