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Concordia doesn’t need another Ralph Nader

by Archives March 24, 2009

In addition to Change and Vision, the two main parties running in the current CSU elections this year, there are also three minor parties trying to play spoiler. In any other year I would applaud the engagement and dedication of the students running as Fresh, Decentralization and New Union.
But not this year.
Change is the party of the CSU establishment. I don’t need to remind anyone that this year has seen one scandal after another as our student union violated every rule or law that got in their way, covered up missing money and even defied a legally binding recall petition.
This year’s election isn’t about platform or policy, ideology or ideas; it’s about the integrity of the system itself. It’s about whether we will get a CSU that respects the rule of law, or one which displays contempt – not only for the rules which govern them, but also for the students they govern.
More to the point, this year is also the first year in quite some time when we will have a genuinely fair two-party race – despite the objections from the Unity executive, this year’s council passed new rules to make sure this election remains honest. For the first time we may have an election free from allegations of fraud.
Under normal circumstances, the three fringe parties should be applauded for bringing new ideas and unique perspectives to the election, even though they do so without any real hope of winning. This year is not a normal year though, and their presence on the ballot is little more than de facto (although unintentional) support for Change. Between them, New Union, Decentralization and Fresh could grab as many as 1,000 votes; in 2007 Unity beat out its opponent by exactly 1,000 votes – with fringe parties pulling that many away from the honest slate.
To the supporters of these parties I would say this: If you want a genuinely open system, vote for the party that has a realistic chance of beating Change, and then lobby a newly-honest CSU to change the election rules so that third parties have a realistic chance of competing in future elections.
To the candidates for these slates I would say: Don’t be fooled into thinking there is no difference between the two main slates. Because there is as much difference between them as there was between Gore and Bush when Ralph Nader famously played the role of spoiler.
Before we worry about who has the best ideas, we have to make sure that ideas, and not backroom influence, are what determine the winner.
In this year, of all years, every student who cares about a law-abiding CSU, fair elections and an end to the hegemony of Unity/Change has to unite behind the only credible alternative. To do anything less is to stand by passively while our union is stolen out from under us.

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