Thursday night Council sessions are like an excerpt from Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit: a bunch of people eating Tiki-Ming and talking at each other for what feels like eternity.
Most of the discussion seems to revolve around procedure and housekeeping motions, and the occasional “contentious issue” is either introduced by a member of the executive or one of two councillors. If by chance any action is taken in Council, it is usually added to a long list of SSMU directives and quickly forgotten about.
This year’s procedural rules also seem to have deterred casual observers: the format is boring and indiscernible to anyone who’s not a seasoned gallery member.
While the SSMU executive often bears the brunt of The Daily’s criticisms, it’s really Council that has failed this year. At the fall General Assembly, many councillors were late or absent. They also drafted few motions, and took little initiative to advertise the event.
Besides introducing new ideas at Council or actually showing up for their jobs, councillors might find their work less futile if SSMU amended its bylaws so policies were implemented in a more effective manner.
For starters, they might want to drop by Thomson House.
While PGSS isn’t perfect, they have a much more coherent approach to matters of policy, as Neilson and Olle have both pointed out. PGSS adopts very few official positions after a rigorous review, but they are on the books for five years. Council motions expire each year, presumably to accommodate political fluctuations that come with a new year of councillors.
Adopting the PGSS approach might make Council politics more coherent to students, and encourage outsiders to get more involved if they see that their contributions will actually mean something.