The Daily’s 2010 SSMU Endorsements

Editorial board of The McGill Daily endorses five candidates for SSMU Executive office

President – Sarah Woolf
The Daily hasn’t strongly endorsed a SSMU presidential candidate since 2007. We’re pleased to say that we’d be ecstatic to call Sarah Woolf, with her years of relevant experience, our SSMU president for next year.

Woolf was the most well-spoken during the presidential debate, and is best equipped to deal with the unique challenges SSMU will face next September. She is also the candidate we trust most to represent our interests when SSMU revisits the terms of its relationship with the University. And since the education minister has made it clear that major tuition increases are on the way, we’ll need someone with political savvy and well-established priorities to keep the Board of Governors in check.

With a full year of experience on Senate, and two as a SSMU councillor, we’re confident that Woolf will be able to lead her fellow representatives and keep Council and Senate caucus on track. She also has a strong grasp of the role of the SSMU president and her platform is made up of practical and achievable steps toward addressing larger problems. We were also impressed with the way she enforced SSMU’s equity policy in an unbiased way as the Choose Life debate raged earlier this year.

And after seeing her talk down police officers, we believe that she’s got the moxie to support her claims.

Clubs and Services – Anushay Khan
While Anushay Khan is un-opposed for the position of VP Clubs & Services, The Daily strongly endorses her campaign. Khan served as interest group coordinator under current VP Sarah Olle, and has shown a high level of familiarity with the portfolio. She has also been consistently enthusiastic about her duties as coordinator. Khan will take on a lot of responsibility, including handling the immense club budget, and controversial issues such as Choose Life and the Israel/Palestine debate. Olle has said that she has a lot to learn about the politics surrounding opt-outs and student space, but is confident that she will do so. On a personal level, Khan’s friendliness and open-minded nature will serve her well in dealing with the many clubs and services under her purview.

Finance and Operations – Nick Drew
The Daily endorses Nick Drew primarily based on his academic background and for his practical experience as a SSMU councillor. His platform is fairly weak, though that may be due to the fact that he is an acclaimed candidate. Drew is aware of some of the challenges he will face, like renegotiating the Shatner building’s lease with McGill – though he could not comment in depth on this. He also said that he hopes to work with the Financial Ethics Review Committee to ensure SSMU has ethical investments, but again, he could not explain the details of what he hopes to achieve. Gerts has done well this year, and as long as Drew can follow his predecessor’s formula the trend should continue. He did have the good idea of hiring a professional marketing consultant for the bar, rather than leaving advertising to its manager. Drew has not given much of an indication as to whether or not he will be a strong VP, but he will have a competent teacher in the current VP FOPS. We can only hope that he takes good notes.

VP University Affairs – David Lipsitz
Our endorsement for the University Affairs spot goes to David Lipsitz, whose experience with the SSMU External Affairs committee and AUS makes him well qualified to represent students to the University community.

The UA position requires a competent leader who can unite the SSMU Senate caucus around pressing issues, keep track of the multitude of student representatives on University committees, and keep student needs on the minds of administrators. Lipsitz aims to keep the undergraduate experience at the top of McGill’s white paper – a trait that makes him a good fit for this portfolio, along with his willingness to take tough stances on selected issues. He’s demonstrated a keen awareness of the realities of University governance, as well as the UA portfolio, that we haven’t seen in other candidates.

We’re also pleased that Lipsitz, who filled a vacant Senate seat in early February, has at least some experience under his belt as a student senator. After all, ensuring strong Senate representation is one of the most important aspects of the UA job.

Overall, we’re pleased with Lipsitz’s experience, knowledge, and proven ability to lead and represent students. We hope he’ll learn even more as he fills out the duration of his Senate term, and prepares for the year ahead.

VP External – Myriam Zaidi
We’re breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing that someone like Myriam Zaidi is in the running for VP (External).

Strongly opposed to tuition hikes, hindrances to accessible education, and the self-funded tuition model, she’s got the advantage of experience to prove she knows what she’s talking about, and how to get things done.

VP Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan made some important strides this year getting TaCEQ off the ground and laying the foundations for CARE, and Zaidi has been there every step of the way. She’s up to speed, actively involved, and won’t need to cram on Quebec politics at the end of the summer – she’s been living and breathing them for years.

To keep TaCEQ going, we need someone who has already established ties with the organization, and Zaidi is the candidate who can ensure a smooth transition into next year. Another advantage over the other candidates is her fluency in both French and English, crucial for strengthening SSMU’s ties with students, lobby groups, and politicians.

While we’re confident that Zaidi is more than qualified for the job, we would like to see her incorporate a couple of the other candidates’ ideas into her platform, like looking into a campaign for a non-opt-outable fee that goes toward an unlimited transit pass for students and making engineering students’ involvement with SSMU more accessible.

If Zaidi can push for these ideas as well, she will prove herself to be a well rounded candidate.

VP Internal
Here’s our humble take on the candidates for VP Internal:
We were torn.

Tom Fabian would bring a lot of event-planning experience to his position, and we have no doubt that he’ll be able to throw a successful, old-school, raging party of a Frosh. We are concerned that he might focus on doing only that, and devote less time to finding ways to make frosh more accessible and sustainable.

Marta Gruntmane has voiced interest in working to make Frosh more sustainable and accessible, but we’re concerned that she might lack the experience to push through improvements through. She brings some interesting smaller-scale ideas to the position that would be nice to see, like canned food drives for community outreach.

In the original version of this article, The Daily incorrectly stated that Sarah Woolf had spent three years on SSMU Council, and two on senate. In fact, the candidate spent only two years on council, and one as a student senator.