This is part 3 of my ELECTION SELECTIONS. And don’t forget, it’s Condorcet so it’s not just the top pick that matters.
#1: Mitch Wright
Wright and Tyson both have similar platforms in terms of policy, so experience will play a more significant role for this race. Wright is the current Associate VP External. Having been hired by VP External Jeremy McElroy, one can infer that it’s 1) an implied endorsement by McElroy (not that he would be able to explicitly endorse any candidate per slate rules), and 2) that there would be exceptional continuity and foundation for their working relationship. (Of course, the harsh slating rules make it impossible to know.) Wright is very familiar with the office (in every sense of the phrase) and knows the figures. The biggest differences between Wright and Tyson on policy are Wright’s focuses of raising minimum wage, mitigating increases in tuition (especially for international students), and simplifying the BC StudentAid program. Both repeatedly mention reducing student loan interest rates, working on the UBC SkyTrain line, and increasing child care on campus.
#2: Katherine Tyson
Certainly, having Tyson as a number 2 does not do her justice in how closely she compares to Wright, and a vote for Tyson would not be a foolish vote by any means. I think there are two important experiences to consider. First, she chairs the AMS University and External Committee which does a lot of important work evaluating the priorities of the AMS’ lobbying efforts, and a number of councilors have endorsed her for it. Secondly, she’s president of the UBC Young Liberals. Given the current political climate (one which may have a NDP government sooner rather than later), I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of someone with a clear political affiliation being in a position that should ideally be non-partisan. Moreover, she hasn’t addressed (or acknowledged) this position on her website or any major campus media outlet (not that we’ve asked her, to be fair.) Tyson’s biggest policy differences from Wright are streamlining visa applications for international students, extending the grace period of student loan repayments, and increasing federal & provincial grants for graduate research. As a grad student, this last point particularly I feel is out of touch with the actual needs of graduate students which are much more internal than external.
#3: Rory Breasail
Though Tyson may be much closer to Wright than #2 to #1 suggests, Breasail is much farther from either than #3 to #2 suggests. Lobbying for an outright tuition freeze and lowering will be a waste of time. Moreover, his “Suits suck” manifesto suggests that Bresail is not interested in negotiation and working with local, provincial, and federal governments. Past experience in the position demonstrates that is not an effective position. Lastly, he has a much smaller profile in the media (such as his website) which does not make me confident that he will communicate his efforts to the public as effectively as Wright or Tyson. A vote for Breasail is a vote for a radical agenda.
Don’t forget to vote for UBC Vanguard in this elections’ Voter Funded Media competition at the end of your ballot!