This past week, many students at Concordia had the dubious pleasure of having their classes interrupted by candidates in the upcoming Arts and Science Federation of Associations executive elections. Thus far, the platforms espoused by most all of the candidates have been quite similar. They believe that ASFA can somehow offer more services and events, while at the same time lowering their costs, being more financially accountable. They also promise to fight tuition fee increases from the University, but don’t specify exactly how they will be doing this. The platforms which have been put forward indicate the candidates in the ASFA election are either deluded or lying.
The “parties” in the ASFA election have platforms that simply do not make sense. One party, A Stronger ASFA, intends to organize, and assumedly subsidize, regular trips to Canadiens games in Boston, Toronto and Ottawa. Other expensive ideas include holding career fairs and providing taxi vouchers to Loyola students who cannot be bothered to take the shuttle bus. At the same time, they claim that they will fight against the many “injustices” which they claim that Arts and Sciences students face on a daily basis. A Stronger ASFA will apparently fight against tuition and fee hikes, and will make university education more accessible. How they will implement all of their expensive ideas without costing students more money, is a problem with which most economists would have much trouble.
Another party, ASFA’s New Energy, has a platform that is equally contradictory. Its platform states that it will push for more academic and extra achievement awards, bring more speakers to Concordia, and provide free French-language training. As well, the party claims that it will host more parties at both the SGW and Loyola campuses. Like A Stronger ASFA, New Energy claims that it will fight tuition increases, referring once again to the amount we pay the university. Unfortunately, like A Stronger ASFA, this party is promising an array of attractive new services and parties that will probably require them to hike up ASFA’s cut of our student fees, most likely costing us all more money in the end.
Lastly, there is the Innovation for Your ASFA party. While this party differs from the others to a certain extent, it is still hardly worthy of holding the office to which it aspires. Their list of costly proposals includes a biannual career fair, more sports events at Loyola, and more party events such as karaoke at the Hive, an ASFA pub crawl, and midnight breakfasts. This group does not directly claim that it will fight tuition increases from the university, which is good because general fee increases will certainly result from the implementation of their costly platform.
Essentially, the ASFA election campaign has been characterized by the three major parties making expensive, unrealistic and often contradictory promises. This sort of political dysfunction is likely to carry over from the campaign into the actual running of ASFA, no matter which party wins. There seems to be a lack of understanding among all of the parties regarding what things actually cost, where their funds come from and the consequences of making such reckless and unrealistic promises. The few Concordia students who actually end up voting in this election need to send a message that they want a realistic and responsible ASFA leadership. Seeing as none of the main parties offer this, those who vote would be well advised to employ the time-honoured democratic tradition of the spoiled ballot. A vote for no one is a better vote than a vote for the irresponsible and unrealistic promises made by any of the main parties or no vote at all.