To get good insightful answers, how the question is framed matters. I missed an opportunity on Thursday
The following letter is in this week’s Manitoban:
**Interference by the CFS and everyone else
**It’s amazing how much attention politics at the University of Manitoba is garnering, especially from those who are no longer students here, and who deep down may have their own political motivations. Take Joey Coleman, author of last week’s “Democracy at UMSU is dead” (March 7) or “the election must not be fair because no other students ran.” Coleman used to be a student here (visiting I think), but he is no longer on campus, he’s not even in Manitoba! So why all this interference — err interest — in what is happening here?
The most hilarious part about his interference with UMSU is that he complains about “outside bodies,” like the CFS, doing exactly what he is doing — meddling.
Now on to Patrick Smith, whose piece I found equally as amusing. Particularly now with Patrick Smith’s new identity: assistant, Prime Minister’s Office, Office of the Chief of Staff; how professional! It seems that Canada’s new Conservative government has enough staff to let one of them write for student papers! And meddling seems to be what they do best.
And it’s not only that he has enough time to write for the student paper. It seems as though the federal Conservatives are now also expressing an interest in becoming involved with the UMSU elections. By the sounds of it, Patrick will be up to his neck in election organizing soon, hoping to save the underdog students (is that what he called us?), and get his engineering running-mate from the election he lost a nice job with UMSU.
The point here is that the only two “experts” that the Manitoban can rely on to support their agenda are both non-students who don’t even live in this province and were never actually involved in any significant way with UMSU. I mean come on, if you’re going to put forth some “informed” opinions, you should use people who are close enough to actually know what’s going on. Failing that, at least find a “has been” who could give some perspective. Two “never beens” with an axe to grind do not a news story make.
But why bother writing any of this. It seems that the only conspiracies or interference pieces that ever get run are those about UMSU anyway. I’m sure the editor I send this to, and myself will be the only two to ever lay eyes on these last however many words.
I will not disagree with the premise that I interfered in UMSU affairs by witting the opinion piece “Democracy at UMSU is dead” in last week’s Manitoban. I will, however, point out that it ran after the election and in no way interfered with the election itself. What it has called for is democratic reforms of UMSU to strengthen UMSU. I do agree with him that it is a form of interference and I consider it justified as it is open and transparent. It is also the extent of my goals. I could care less who is in the UMSU office, just as long as every student has a fair and equal chance of winning office.
Now, the Manitoban did find a “has been” to write; me. I sat on UMSU Council and I moved UMSU vastly forward on food services during my time on Council. Also, I am still a UManitoba student taking one course by correspondence (MATH1010) and attending McMaster full-time separate from that.
I cannot comment on Patrick Smith except to say that he did run for UMSU President and is in a place to comment from that experience. If he is working for the PMO, I think he was commenting from his own personal experience and interest. I think he did it on his own time. However, I do find it interesting if he works for the PMO, since (if I remember correctly) he was a first or second year student last year. It is no secret that Manitoba Conservatives, Liberals, and NDPers watch UMSU politics closely. Fletcher especially.
It is nice to see Edwardo take a stance and challenge me on this. It does point out the apparent contradiction in my actions from my statements. A contradiction that I admit exists. I do believe it to be a slight one however.
Lastly, I do not have an axe to grind. I frankly believe Garry Sran to be a good person, I just do not believe in two term Presidents unless there is an overwhelming reason for it. Rachel Gottiff has worked hard in her job at UMSU and done many great things over the years she has been involved in UMSU. Amanda Aziz did a great job in her first year as UMSU President in reviving and making UMSU democratic again, many of those changes are one I voted in favour of at UMSU Council.
I do disagree with them on many issues, on tactics and actions they have taken in office. I do not believe that this as caused me to have an axe to grind.
Frankly, I look forward to have a few laughs over drinks with them 10 or so years down the road when we all look back at our time in University.