EDITORIALS  SSMU Fall Referendum endorsements


Midnight Kitchen Existence Referendum Question – YES

Midnight Kitchen, a volunteer- and worker-run organization that provides pay-as-you-can vegan lunches five days a week in addition to providing educational workshops and resources in the form of a zine library, relies on student fees for their budget. A majority “yes” vote for this question would maintain their current funding structure and would ensure the continuation of these services. Given that Midnight Kitchen consistently serves up to 250 students a day, it fulfils an indispensable role on campus. The Daily strongly recommends a “yes” vote, as the loss of this organization would mean a loss of financially accessible and healthy food for students on campus, especially those with dietary restrictions.

Midnight Kitchen Fee Increase Referendum Question – YES/NO

1) The Daily encourages its readers to vote yes to the Midnight Kitchen fee increase from its current $2.25 a semester to $3.25, in effect from Winter 2014 to Fall 2016, inclusive. Given that Midnight Kitchen’s budget is almost entirely based on student fees, such an increase is important for the expansion of services and a guarantee of quality of materials and ingredients. Though criticism has suggested that Midnight Kitchen’s budget can be reallocated, by reducing workers’ pay to save money to put toward improvements in services, this criticism neglects the rights of workers to fair and reasonable compensation. The Daily recommends a “yes” vote to the fee increase of $1, on the basis that it will allow Midnight Kitchen to expand and improve the necessary services it provides.

2) Part 2 of this question asks that Midnight Kitchen’s student fee be indexed to inflation on a yearly basis. The Daily recommends a “no” vote to indexation, as it eliminates consultation with students with respect to increased fees, and would deny students in future years the autonomy to approve fee increases.

SSMU Daycare Fee Increase Referendum Question – YES/NO

1) The Daily advises its readers to vote “yes” to the proposed SSMU Daycare fee increase from $1.50 a semester to $2.50 a semester. The SSMU Daycare, as a student- and government-funded daycare centre, offers highly subsidized services at $7 a day, making it an important resource for student parents, who would otherwise have to seek out more costly alternatives. The SSMU Daycare gives priority to undergraduate students, but also serves the greater McGill community, including staff and graduate students. The last fee increase, to its current level of $1.50 a semester, was made in 2006. Since then, the SSMU Daycare has also opened a nursery with eight spots, and has faced a rent increase, making the increase in fees necessary for its continued operation at current levels.

2) This question seeks to index the SSMU Daycare fee to inflation. Though The Daily recognizes cost of operation can increase over time, we endorse a “no” vote to indexation, on the basis that it denies student consultation and autonomy with regard to increases to their student fees. Students in future years should have the ability to themselves decide if fee increases are in their interests.

—The McGill Daily Editorial Board

The referendum voting period runs from November 8 to 14.