Please note that this post was a collaborative effort by all editors.


1 Natalie Swift
2 Bijan Ahmadian
3 Sean Kim
4 Pak Ho Leung

Do we want Haack to be the next hack? What about the wide-open race for Senate? The full list of endorsements after the jump.

Effectively, this is a race between Natalie and Bijan. We enjoy the other candidates’ contributions to the debates, but their lack of understanding of the issues, lack of broader campus support and the lack of vote-splitting in the Condorcet method means they’re not in this race.

The best AMS president is someone who can bring people together. We view Natalie as a character campus either views positively, or is oblivious of, while Bijan is a divisive figure in the student leadership community.

Natalie’s endorsement roll, as well as platform makes her sound like the AMS Executive of 2007/2008–when the AMS put childcare and housing on the agenda of the University, when the AMS came up with a crazy idea to renew the SUB, and when the AMS had a visible presence in Victoria. A return to these days is a good thing. Natalie was around back then, and there’s a reason she has almost every AMS executive in recently memory behind her.

Natalie’s first priority seems to be the creation of a province-wide advocacy body, and as a past student society president, having her in the driving seat of the largest student society in the province would help her achieve this goal spectacularly. We think she will be able to work extremely well with the expected incoming executives, as she has a very diplomatic approach to conflict.

Bijan’s platform consists of three issues, one of which students won two years ago. He hasn’t responded to our questionnaire, and on the radio debate he seemed to shift to attacking Natalie instead of building himself up. Beyond that, Bijan has a reputation of thinking that the UBC administration/Board is always right–even when those who follow these issues closely disagree.

This is made plenty clear when he stated “we have very smart people at UBC that make sure that it is legitimate,” in response to the Board’s highly-suspect e-mail voting procedure. He further states that he and the Board “already had a good sense on what the public wanted,” with a hastily-passed, highly-controversial policy the public had not known about until two months after the fact.

Beyond this, Bijan’s entire campaign seems to be about a person instead of a goal, and is misrepresenting facts to achieve these ends. For example, he quickly jumped to blaming Michael Duncan for a failure has was just as responsible for. In the CiTR debate, he claimed he exclusively moved a proposed hospice, despite the fact that no student had raised this as an issue prior to this blog. He also claimed he helped “bring a substantially larger number of students to the [Campus Plan] consultation this year than we’ve ever seen,” despite the fact Phase 5 had the lowest feedback numbers of any of the consultation phases.

This divisive attitude exists for a reason, and that is his divisive personality. He is a well polished campaigner (due to a lot of support from his fraternity and Campbell Bryson), and is great at marketing himself, no one can deny that, we just wish he had more substance.

The one problem we have with Natalie is her love for abstaining on issues that need leadership (such as CASA and impeachment). That said, in our belief, a good President is one who is the least objectionable. We lend Natalie our full support.

VP Academic and University Affairs

1 Ben Cappellacci
2 Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes

We ultimately wish there were more candidates in the running for this position. We cannot endorse Rodrigo because he has displayed a lack of prudence while he was GSS VP Services. His rhetoric is seemingly becoming more and more based in reality, but because of his history, and because his writings have become an in-joke for those who follow campus politics regularly (they’re seemingly not based in a realty), we cannot support him.

Ben, however, has not impressed us much. We would like a VP University Affairs that has the time, patience and strategy to learn in depth the issue of governance. It’s that big of a deal. Ben has yet to convince us that he has put in much effort regarding the intricacies of that politic. We hope he hunkers down and spends a good week brushing up on that issue. We’re a good place to start.

VP Finance

1 Elin Tayyar
2 The Invisible Man

While Elin does not have the transparency or the same air of mystery as The Invisible Man, he’s competent, eager, and has already started transitioning with Tom Dvorak. We wish him all the best.

VP Admin

1 Ekaterina Dovjenko
2 Michael Haack

This race required quite a lot of deliberation to come to a conclusion, as the candidates are very, very similar. We had trouble deciding whether they were both equally well-qualified or equally under-qualified.

We were extremely impressed by Michael’s campaign and his ability to quickly learn the issues and make himself a visible presence on campus. This ability to mobilize and immerse himself is highly admirable, and would translate well into running consultations. We also love the chalking. Unfortunately, the one thing that saw us tip towards Ekaterina was Michael’s lack of outright opposition regarding the Access UBC question. As chief negotiator over the new SUB, we need someone who is critical, even of those things which on the surface seem like great ideas.

We also have concerns about Ekaterina and her platform’s large focus on clubs. During the campaign she came off as overly-rehearsed, and overly eager. However, she is knowledgeable about the AMS, and has been talking to the right people about the New SUB project. Her platform came off as flat and dull, but in conversations with her, she comes off as more knowledgable of what’s ahead.

Because we still really like Michael, we’d love for him to stick around. He would serve as a great asset to the AMS, and has some neat ideas for the clubs which he could implement as a stellar SAC Vice-Chair.

VP External

1 Jeremy McElroy
2 Stas Pavlov
3 Aaron Palm
4 Timothy Chu

Aaron is actually very smart and knows the issues very well; you have to in order to successfully skewer them. While we adore Aaron for his hilarity, ultimately we prefer having the U-Pass to freeways. Stas’s platform is unfortunately empty compared to Jeremy’s, and in a position where your job is lobbying you need to know the talking points, and you need to know the statistics to back them up. Jeremy McElroy’s platform is thorough and based on research and insight. It reads like a policy paper from a lobbying organization. Exactly what’s needed in this office. We look forward to seeing the direction he takes the External Office. We cannot support Tim.

Board of Governors

Azim Wazeer
Sean Heisler

Azim is well-spoken, has played the UBC game before, and know what Board does and how it works. In an interview with us, he anticipated what we had to criticise him on. That degree of self-awareness is admiriable. His experience as one of the more active Senators, and his depth of knowledge on the issues of the day will serve him well on the Board.

Sean’s platform comes off as awkward. While at least one of our editors loves rhetoric involving words like “metric” and “tangibles”, he offers no clear path as to how to implement these ideas. We’re worried that he’s unaware of how the Board operationally and culuturally functions, but believe he’s smart enough to figure it out quickly. We hope he loves to read, and reads more than is in the docket.

We appreciate that Guillaume is running, but cannot support him over Sean as his campaign has been lackluster, and the AUS remains as effective as a fish-out-of-water. We fear he would overcommit himself, and we fear he will come off as flustered before the Board, while a calm-headed approach is needed first.

Do not listen to anything Blake has said. He has been very disingenuous during the impeachment hearings and has shown himself to be generally untrustworthy, embodying only the negative aspects of the label “politician”. His credibility within UBC’s student movement is effectively non-existent, and the only way he could win this election is if the other candidates split the reasonable voice.


Joël Mertens
Johannes Rebane
Ryan Bredin
Spencer Rasmussen
Alyssa Koehn
Honourable Mention: Gary Tse

Joël and Johannes are the only two candidates in this election with the benefit of experience and have shown themselves capable of the job. Ryan Bredin has impressed with his knowledge of the issues, particularly as a newcomer to this game. His unique perspective as a Medical Lab student will lend a new perspective on the caucus. Spencer Rasmussen seems like a single-issue candidate, but is well-spoken, and in our experience, is someone who can achieve tangible results. As one of 18 student seats on Senate, he can pursue his issues without worrying that other responsibilities are getting shirked. Alyssa Koehn has shown the most genuine personality of any candidate in any race. We were very impressed by her involved in the blogosphere, livechatting at a debate she could not attend due to sickness.

We think this upcoming year’s caucus will be strong, and are glad to see increased involvement in the Senate again.

Student Legal Fund Society

No endorsement

International Student Representative

No endorsement

Ubyssey Publications Society Board of Directors

No endorsement, but it might be fun to watch Blake Frederick and the paper try and work together.


Please note that all referenda with ** beside them require 75% approval to pass. All others require a simple majority.

** 1) Student Court – Yes

Many of the referendum questions being put forward this year demonstrate the need for the proactive validation of referendum questions that is proposed in these bylaw changes. The changes might not be perfect, but the existence of a body external to council where things can be appealed is necessary, and this is a good step towards an efficient body of that type. Regarding final appeals on elections, our editorial is split (and not in the way you’d expect), but holistically, we support this question.

** 2 and 3) Impeach Blake and Tim – Yes

The only reason to vote ‘yes’ is to send a message to those who follow the AMS. The reason to vote ‘no’ is to not want to stir the pot with executive turnover. Regardless as to the way you vote though, your vote will be interpreted as a moral statement. Be mindful of that before selecting “no”, because these resolutions are of little effect. This is a bit of a unique endorsement in that we are endorsing ‘yes’ but do not want to referendum to pass. Ideally these two referenda will get approximately 70% in favour, to send a strong message, and still ensure a smooth transition process.

4) Engagement Levy – No

Despite the fact that we stand to benefit from increased funding for VFM, we cannot support this sad little idea. We have seen no plans on how the fee will directly engage more students, and on a philosophical level, view the onus is on the AMS to prove its relevance to students/motivate the vote, instead of assuming the AMS is a good before the fact.

5) CPI Indexing of AMS Fees – No

We support the concept of CPI indexing, but in this case the AMS is asking for fee modifications without having done any due diligence. There was no consultation with their financial staff, or the organizations receiving the fees, in assessing the necessity and appropriateness of these modifications. The AMS should be showing more respect to students and the fees they pay.

** 6) Bylaws 2010 – Yes

Currently AMS council cannot hold executives accountable. Without the power of removal, there is no incentive for the executive to ever listen to the resolutions of council. These changes will fix this hole which was recently discovered, and restore the spine to the bylaws of the AMS. In addition, it gives voting representation to the fee-paying members of the theological colleges which is long overdue.

7) Access UBC – No

Do not give your money to an organization that has given students no information about themselves. It’s revolting to ask for students’ money and expect it by exploiting their naivete.

8) Tuition Policy – No

If passed, it will accomplish nothing and is essentially just a friendly suggestion. However, it holds the potential for lots of wasted resources on ineffective lobbying rather than actual progress on lobbying.

** 9) Voting Disability Seat – No

Creating a voting disability seat does not address or solve the problem of barriers faced by students with disabilities. The efforts of advocates for students with disabilities should be redirected towards other avenues within the AMS that will have a greater chance of directly effecting change.


12 Comments so far

  1. Paul on January 24, 2010 9:03 pm

    Nice work on these endorsements, Insiders. The Access UBC referendum is frightening because it sounds pretty good if you just read the question… which many voters will undoubtedly do. :/

  2. Aaron Palm on January 24, 2010 11:37 pm

    When I am elected the first thing I will do is cut off your socialist funding.


  3. Gamma Ray on January 25, 2010 2:33 am

    i find this strange: no real detail on the platforms. Ben x Rodrigo, for example, the bias here is clear, and they engage in an ad-hominem attack. Expect no actual analysis.

  4. Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes on January 25, 2010 8:32 am

    Dear writer,
    It is disappointing to see that I am willing to forgive you for voting for yourself several times, but you are not willing to look past nor even understand what you think was ‘lack of prudence’ when I was a GSS VP. I will remind you that I brought back the Graduate Magazine (now defunct again) and completely reformed the GSS website system, which was exactly what I had promised to do as VP. If I can forgive you, you should be able to actually read my platform and portfolio and refer to that to make a decision rather than your personal bias. My opponent clearly does not have the understanding of graduate student life necessary for this position.

  5. Bowinn Ma on January 25, 2010 12:45 pm

    RE: Gamma Ray

    Analysis and platform are riddled throughout the blog. The Insiders team has been thorough, but you gotta dig a bit as a result.

  6. Nicholas FitzGerald on January 25, 2010 1:15 pm

    Just got off the phone with The Invisible Man, and he’s quite upset that you have endorsed his opponent over him. Yet another example of political discrimination against invisible minorities.

  7. Geoff Costeloe on January 25, 2010 3:41 pm

    Just wanted to point out that Insiders only beat me out by 24 hours on the Hospice news here. And no VFM in sight! That’s why you should support Geoff’s Place in the VFM contest!

  8. Alex Lougheed on January 25, 2010 3:45 pm

    Funny thing about ad hominems: the personal accusations must be unrelated to the conclusions drawn. The conclusion in this case is intrinsic to the person, and hence personal accusations/evaluations of character are perfectly valid, and necessary.

    Imagine a world where we don’t consider an individual’s traits when discriminating on who we pick. Pretty loopy.

    We don’t have the space to cover every piece of an individual’s platform. We have read them all, and when we balance that with what we know of the candidate’s history and personality, we reach a conclusion. We tried to focus on the races which we view as more contentious: the Presidential race and the VP Admin race.

  9. Alex Lougheed on January 25, 2010 3:47 pm


    P(Geoffs Place covering | no Insiders coverage) << P(Geoffs Place covering)

  10. Sonja on January 25, 2010 5:39 pm

    Has anyone even read Ben Cappellacci’s platform?

    “Lastly, I would like to investigate the possibility of incresing [sic] exam hardship as this is popular issue amongst many students.”

    That’s not what I want to hear from my VP Academic! Then again, if the other option is Rodrigo….

  11. John on January 26, 2010 9:00 am

    Even though I don’t agree with everything you said, I can’t argue that this is about the best laid out article with thought out opinions on candidates. If we could just get people to read something like this beforehand, we may actually get a somewhat informed vote, and then maybe more than 6000 voters out of near 40,000 students.

  12. David Foster on January 28, 2010 3:48 pm

    I am a student at UVic, not UBC, so I shouldn’t really be commenting.

    However, I would like to express that many of us here see the AMS as the greatest stronghold in BC of a student movement independent from the Canadian Federation of Students, an organization many student unions are currently trying to leave.

    Why do you want a pro-CFS president? Natalie Swift may be careful not to explicitly support the CFS, but frankly to someone with a reasonable amount of experience with that organization, it’s obvious. Like Blake Frederick before her, I expect to see Natalie engaging in pointless political posturing and trying to bring the AMS closer to the CFS, if she is elected.

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