News  Jonathan Mooney elected PGSS President

Election period marked by 'no' campaigns

The Post Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) election results were announced last Friday night. Jonathan Mooney, who ran uncontested, will be PGSS President for the 2012-13 year.

Mooney will be working with Pooja Tyagi, who won the position of VP Finance, and Errol Salamon, who will be the new VP External. Michael Krause will take the position of VP Internal, and Adam Bouchard will hold the position of VP Academic.

“What I heard from all the candidates were coherent platforms, people who clearly want to work for the best interest of the PGSS, who have a very good vision for what’s going to happen next year, and I’m looking forward to working with all of them,” said Mooney.

Current PGSS President Roland Nassim explained, “The challenge next year is really not from the executive, but from the membership.”

“We’ve been put through a lot of tests this year, from the MUNACA strikes to the [James Administration building] occupations, to the demonstration that happened [on March 22], and I think we do have a divisive membership, and the challenge is to try to bring it back together. In order to do that, they need to make sure that they don’t create challenges on the inside.”

When asked about challenges involved with the election process this year, Nassim explained that “we had groups of people that, let’s just put it simply, were likeminded, on both sides of the campaigns.”

“Something we have to deal with next year is trying to put the elections back in a way that they reflect the reality of what’s going on in our membership. I think our members are becoming more politically active, and those are driving some of the elections and some of the candidates, and I think a healthy debate and more freedom to say things should be allowed,” he continued.

Nassim was critical of PGSS policy regarding ‘no’ campaigns, which included a vocal campaign opposing Mooney’s election.

“Unfortunately there are ‘no’ campaigns, and that’s fine, but if we’re going to run ‘no’ campaigns we should allow the [opposing] candidates to respond,” Nassim said. “I think that luxury was not provided to many of the candidates that were running this year. They heard there were ‘no’ campaigns running against them, but they couldn’t do anything about it.”

“Simply, our rules say you can’t talk during campaign period. So again, archaic rules in 21st century politics don’t work,” Nassim added.

When asked about the campaign period, Mooney explained, “I don’t like to see any negative campaigning.”

“I think that the candidates ran a very positive, very passionate campaign… Stuff that happens outside of that, I trust the judgement of the elections commissioner; I trust the process we have at PGSS to try to deal with that in the best way possible.”

When asked about his plans for next year, Mooney said “it’s going to be in large part following up on the foundation that [the current executive] laid.”

“I’ve been around for three years in the PGSS now, and I think we had a very capable, very competent executive team from last year,” he said.

Current VP External Mariève Isabel said she thinks next year’s executive “is going to be very different.”

Among challenges for next year’s executive, Isabel listed working with a new constitution, working with the structural changes that have been made in the Society staff, and continuing to mobilize against tuition increases.

The Health and Dental Plan Referendum question passed, meaning the Plan will be renewed for the 2012-13 year.