When I first dreamt of my debut post to Punditry.ca, I envisioned an earth shattering, gripping, story laced with controversy and coated with witty, piercing insight. However, it is to mine (and probably your) despair that my maiden contribution is perhaps a testament to the relative lack of noteworthy events. Not that this election campaign has been particularly uninteresting, as there are numerous competitive races and a rather heated and politicized referendum to follow. It may seem enthralling to those of us here are glued to our online election sources, but apparently those within the voting wider community are slightly less tuned in.
In years previous, we have shrewdly observed this phase of the campaign week for last minute, game changing events that might sway voters one way or another. In particular, it is a period that usually consists of society endorsements, of which this years campaign has witnessed few of major significance. Some may recall last years notable endorsements of Glenn Blake by the Dalhousie Women’s Centre, SustainDal getting behind Leforte, Kurin, Bailey and Lovett (among others), DSEUS supported their fellow Sexton candidates Ben Wedge and Chris Saulnier, and most notable was the endorsement of Gregory Debogorski by one John Hillman.
So far this year we are yet to hear many official shout-outs from any major societies, or for many positions. Even the most political groups on campus are remaining relatively silent, despite those who may have the most to gain from a successful candidate. There may be a few reasons for this, which I will address in time. As of now, these are the most significant endorsements.
Jamie Arron, from I.D.E.A.S
“On that note, the I.D.E.A.S society is pleased to announce our official endorsement of Jamie Arron for the VP Student Life position. His race is going to be super close so its essential that you vote online at DSUelections.ca, and pass the word onto your friends.Jamie is taking up critical issues such as food services, engagement of international students, and transparency of the DSU as a whole (see http://punditry.ca/2011/03/vp-sl-word-clouds for an overview of the race). Jamie is a 4th year IDS Honours student and will certainly be a friend for advancing critical perspectives within the union”
Not terribly surprising, or much of a game changer if you ask me. Jamie has run his campaign very effectively, channeling plenty of his personal values, which are clearly shared by many groups on campus, and he has effectively communicated the ways in which he will incorporate them into his portfolio if elected. Members of the Loaded Ladle facebook group also listed Jamie as a strong preference, however these are highly unofficial. Not insignificantly, a message sent by Arron to the Muslim Students Association, in which he nicely articulated his unique ideas for engaging international students and Muslim students specifically, was then circulated to their mailing list along with instructions on how to vote, however without an explicit endorsement.
Also accompanying Arron in an unofficial list found on the Loaded Ladle facebook group were Saulnier, Bouchard, Mekhail, Ma and Scrimegeour. Former presidential candidate Neil Bailey has made public his support for Evan Price for VP Academic & External, and crafted a lengthy statement on the Loaded Ladle’s facebook, explaining the reasoning behind his support.
As I was typing this post, I also received the following message from one of the architects of the “No Loaded Levy” Campaign, Mr. Mike Kennedy:
“The No Loaded Levy campaign endorsed three candidates: Karl Dempsey, John Hillman and Andrew Mecke. They all say NO to the Loaded Levy!”
Hardly shocking, but I’m sure important nonetheless. I just can’t decide whether it’s more beneficial to the candidates or the “No” campaign.
A DSU Election would never be complete with the input of the our infamously beloved, treasured former candidate Mr. Gregory Deborski. The language of the most notable endorsement of this campaign is as follows:
“I, Gregory Debogorski, hereby endorse John Hillman for president of
the Dalhousie Student Union.
Don’t make me some back for a fifth election. Elect Hillman.”
I have known Mr. Hillman for four years. I give the following five
reasons for this endorsement:
1. John Hillman has closely witnessed student elections for five
years, and knows the students’ issues
2. He doesn’t bullshit unless he’s telling a joke
3. He’s a fair and honourable man
4. He has a fun-loving nature that would cure student apathy
5. He is the best candidate to represent students because he welcomes criticism
This heart warming reciprocation of last years affection from Hillman bring’s a smile to my face, and I await with great anticipation to see if the “Debogorski Bump” will render Hillman to topple Debo’s best election results.
As far as I am aware, this rookie pundit may be the first and only to publicize endorsements. They may not hold much weight for the majority of our voting community, but I’m sure they might raise a few questions. In case they have gone unnoticed, I will lay them on you here. For a few I was torn, for instance between English Tom Dobbyne and Jamie Arron for VPSL, and I’ll admit it was a last minute decision for me, on which I went with my gut. I was also extremely impressed by the absolute perseverance, dedication and passion of Evan Price this time around, and it kills me that I could not choose both he and Sarah for VP A&E, but I sincerely hope he gets deeply involved in another capacity. Anyway, here’s my pick of sweethearts, note how they differ from my predictions: Saulnier, Mekhail, Bouchard, Dobbyne, Ma, Magill and a “No” on the Loaded Levy. It was extremely difficult coming to a few of these decisions, but I thoroughly believe that these candidates have exhibited a plethora of qualities, skills, and incredible leadership that I hope will guide the DSU to new heights in the upcoming year.
As for the topic of endorsements, I have failed to see a significant correlation between electoral victory and the quantity of endorsements received or the weight that the endorsement may be perceived to hold. That being said, it is unlikely to be harmful to any candidate to publicly gain the support of any student group, small or large, when running for an executive position. It is also easy to imagine societies hesitancy to endorse candidates in order to avoid future alienation if their candidate is not elected. Perhaps only those with particularly vested interests in an election issue really stand to gain from the endorsement of a candidate, or conversely some may be uncertain of the benefits supporting a candidate may prove to be. Of course it will be interesting to see if any flow in over the course of the final voting day, at which time I think it is safe to assume their impact may be minimal.
That being said, it is not too late to weigh in! Societies wishing to make their preferences known should hurry online and email us, or send us your statements through the Submit News tab at the top of the page if you have made your decisions and would like to publicly announce them!
Of course everyone, don’t forget to vote, and I will see you all at the Grawood for the results!