Debate: Jan 25 Prez, VPAc, VPX

Posted by: | January 25, 2010 | 6 Comments

The following is a guest post by Bowinn Ma, EUS President 2007-2008; AMS Councilor 2006-2008; Former Hack, less so now.

We also took photos so don’t quit before the end of this post!


Couldn’t attend the debate?

The Ubyssey held a liveblog, as did The UBC Spectator.


Presidential Race

Natalie Swift
Bijan Ahmadian
Sean Kim
Pak Ho Leung

[Salt warning: I personally endorse Swift for President so please recognize that this may be an unfair assessment of the debate. I am familiar with Ahmadian through my work with the EUS. I do not know either Kim or Leung.]

The entire debate can be summarized in the following sentence: Ahmadian spent the half hour giving Swift a rash with his deliberately pointed responses and questions aimed at repeatedly sanding down his only real opponent while Kim tried his best to act informed, failing terribly, and Leung offered humorously appropriate quips and Bible quotations effectively breaking up the thick stench of rotting tension between Ahmadian and Swift, at least for the audience.

About Kim, I am unsure of whether his candidacy is based in courage or ignorance. Is he aware that he has not nearly the experience to even consider running for this position? Don’t get me wrong. I fully believe that you don’t need to have experience as an AMS Executive to run for AMS President, but surely some experience working within the AMS would be necessary. Throughout the entire debate, I don’t think managed to answer one question properly without turning it into a completely different question. When asked about whether he agreed with indexing AMS Fees to CPI, he was unable to identify the difference between “AMS Student Fees” and “Tuition”—two very different fees. He went on to talk about lowering tuition by encouraging electronic texts without recognizing that texts are currently charged separately from tuition (thus the Bookstore sucking your wallet dry) and also something that is completely out of the context of AMS Student Fees. Upon being asked how he measured success, he answered in the context of his own personal success in school as opposed to how he would measure success as AMS President, arguably the more appropriate perspective for this Presidential debate. Kim has potential, that’s for sure, but his learning curve would be steep for this position—ridiculously, preposterously, outrageously steep. I hope to see him develop himself in other more appropriate roles within the AMS and return to the elections in the future.

Leung is a joke candidate, plain and simple. His platform and debate tactics consist of quoting the Bible in a loud booming voice and occasionally asking a good question and making a decent point. His choice of quotes and list of prepared quotes is pretty impressive, actually—there seems to be one that fit every question asked of the candidates.

So then the real race is between Swift and Ahmadian. Ahmadian is practically a household name to students at UBC (well, “Bijan” is, not Ahmadian), not surprising considering his five years of experience in office as a student politician and eleven years of attending classes. He is undoubtedly the most experienced candidate at the table and bases his platform and campaign on that fact. Ahmadian has a strong base of supporters and much to offer from his rich pool of experiences in dealing with the University Administration, which is why it is disappointing that he focused more on nudging Swift out of the way by implying her deficits in comparison to him as opposed to focusing on his own successes.

Swift participated in the debate admirably. She focuses on every issue from the point of accountability and due diligence and has the guts to speak out when she feels due diligence is not followed, even on sensitive issues where any kind of opposition may result in being burned on a stake. It is easy to see that Swift holds extremely high moral standards and has all the boring characteristics that a President should have (big on accountability, due diligence, strong ethics) while being ridiculously beautiful. Her presence commands respect for her cause and elicits trust.


Vice-President Academic & University Affairs Race

Ben Cappellacci
Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes

Both candidates did much better during this debate than the last which is a good indication of their ability to grow into roles. While Ferrari-Nunes is the more experienced candidate at the table, Cappellacci has clearly managed to learn a lot about in a short amount of time.

Although I recognize that the way one carries himself has little to do with competence, Ferrari-Nunes would benefit from fixing his posture at the debates. He manages to come off as being uninterested and unfocused making Cappellacci seem very focused and alert in contrast.

Not much else is revealed in this debate. I would suggest looking elsewhere for more insights.


Vice-President External Race

Aaron Palm
Jeremy McElroy
Stas Pavlov
Timothy Chu

Palm is by far the best joke candidate in the race. He his highly articulate and clever, which actually makes me a little disappointed that he’s just a joke candidate—if it weren’t for his highly right-winged conservative platform points and ability to parallel every issue with American politics. If you haven’t had a chance to see him in action, it’s not too late. The final debate will be one hosted by the Ubyssey and the Insiders on Tuesday, January 26 at 7pm at the Centre of Student Involvement (Main Floor of Brock Hall).

Pavlov is young and strikes me as young—but a youngster that is competent and ripe with potential. Potential is great and should be nourished and I would not be opposed to him getting the chance to prove himself if I didn’t believe that there were stronger candidates at the table. I disagree with his views on the AMS lobbying purely for its own students’ benefits and believe that it indicates a lack of understanding of effective lobbying strategies. UBC is but one school affected by provincial education policies and it makes little sense for them to attempt to stand on their own and ask for some kind of special treatment, which is effectively what it would appear to be doing if it attempted lobby for its own students alone.

McElroy is no doubt one of the favourites for the race. Known best for his involvement with the Radical Beer Faction, McElroy actually comes across as surprisingly level headed and appropriate for the role. He is well educated in the current issues and up to date on his information. His lobbying policy opposes Pavlov’s by insisting that the AMS must lobby with and on behalf of all the post-secondary student societies in BC in order to make stronger and more unified demands that can be justified by claiming the power of representation.

I still stand that Chu is a legitimate candidate for this race despite his past indiscretions. For arguments against this, please join the conversation on the highly opinion-based editorial I contributed regarding throwing Chu and Frederick to the wolves. The fact of the matter is, Chu still represents a particular belief that many students will agree with. Sure, his opinion may be considered unreasonably idealist and his methods extreme, but if that’s what you want, then he’s your man.


View the entire album of photos!

Isabel Ferreras has the lulz. She must be watching Tim Chu’s refrigerator lovin’ on AMS Confidential.

Sean Heisler: now available in both 2D and 3D.

The ladies of the Ubyssey. News Editor Sam Jung (l) and Associate News Editor Sarah Chung (r).

Geoff Costeloe, paying very close attention to the candidates.

How would you like to have Aaron Palm tea bag you?


6 Comments so far

  1. Julie Winston on January 25, 2010 9:35 pm

    I wonder why you are reluctant to post any quotes from candidates in the races, especially the academic one. I thought that rodrigo did say a lot, and he was uninterested at some points because capelaci’s answers had no depth

  2. Bowinn Ma on January 25, 2010 10:18 pm

    Reluctance isn’t really the issue. I just didn’t bother to take quotations down. I write purely opinion and impression based coverages. For quotations or paraphrasing, I point you towards the Ubyssey’s Liveblogs.

  3. Peter on January 25, 2010 10:19 pm

    Aaron, you forgot the shiny leather vest and bolo tie. Otherwise, spot on.

  4. Sexy~Brunette~ on January 26, 2010 2:16 am

    you SUCK
    take that photo down.

  5. Not Rodrigo!!! on January 26, 2010 6:48 am

    “rodrigo did say a lot, and he was uninterested:” so says JW.

    Well, that’s the problem isn’t it. Mr. R says a lot and leaves most of us uninterested.

    Practically all of the news sources have either said this is a wasted vote for VP Ac or they have endorsed Ben C as a ‘lesser evil’ candidate.

    Thank you Bowinn for not subjecting us actual quotes – they may have led to your readers becoming disinterested . . .

  6. Jonathan Swift on January 26, 2010 11:17 am

    The Ubyssey has not posted any videos of the VP Academic race, why? You could at least do a job that does not look like an “F” against Costeloe’s “A+” post:

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