After an election fraught with allegations of campaign violations flying left and right, president-elect Lex Gill plans on instituting major reforms to clean up the process. “By the June council meeting, we’d like to have a series of reforms presented,” she said. “We want to do this while it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds that this election was a really difficult process. There were a lot of problems with it and we want to move forward and change these [regulations].”
Since Action candidates were seen roaming around polling stations and allegations surfaced that they were telling students to vote for them, Gill said that they were looking at making the standing regulations “way tighter and way more explicit about what can and can’t be done during the polling period, [and] what can and can’t be done during the campaign period.”
Gill said the new executive also wants to look at “empowering electoral officers and deputy electoral officers to enforce sanctions that have meaning.” She asserted that because electoral officers want to remain unbiased, they sometimes hesitate to dole out sanctions.
She also singled out the slate system as in need of reform. “The relationship between the executive and council slates […] might be problematic and it might be something that we want to separate just for broader principles of democracy at the union,” she said.
Despite having won two thirds of the council seats in last week’s elections, Gill doesn’t foresee councillors hiding behind the party line. “We worked really hard to choose councillors who wouldn’t let us get away with much, as part of that process of shifting over to a council that’s more autonomous and independent of the executive,” she said.“There is an organizational culture that needs to be shifted too so that people get used to the idea that if the executive and council are working together, that’s not necessarily a sign of unanimity, […] but [rather] that things are functioning.”
Finally, Gill wants to put power back into the hands of the committees. She said that for this year’s executive, committees were seen as the places “where ideas go to die,” when they should really be the union’s working groups.