SU byelection ends in a whimper

By Bonnie Leung

Students who enjoyed the Students’ Union byelection posters will have to find something new to gawk at. Tyler Brekko was elected the new SU Operations and Finance commissioner last week on the strength of 163 votes.

Brekko was relieved with the overall outcome.

"You never know how or what direction they’ll go," he said. "This is the position I want and I think this is the position I really excel at as well, so I’m very happy."

Brekko has two immediate plans.

"One is to involve and consult more with the students, specifically the stuff that concerns them such as the redevelopment of MacEwan Students’ Centre," he said. "The clubs need to have a chance to speak about what they want. We just need to become a bit more accountable for the students."

Brekko is excited to work with the SU.

"I’ve worked with nearly everyone in the SU," he said. "I’m pretty relaxed around them. It’ll be a new environment but I’ll have friends around me, so that helps."

There was a lot of comment on Brekko’s campaign posters.

"My ‘Practising Safe Finance’ ones?" he asked. "Lack of sleep will count for that. But I will tell you this: I had to go get a digital camera with ComMedia because I’m so unphotogenic that I had to take so many shots to get one that looked good."

According to Chief Returning Officer Patti Teeuwen, voter turnout for this byelection was three per cent of eligible voters.

"Five hundred and forty-eight people voted, so it wasn’t very big," she said.

Brekko agrees with Teeuwen.

"Well, we certainly wish it could be higher, but I’m a student myself and the first reason we’re here is to get an education," said Brekko. "So the SU is a secondary concern."

Teeuwen feels the low turnout was caused by an uninformed student population.

"I don’t think people knew really that there was an election," she said. "And they didn’t know what they [the candidates] were running for, what position and they just didn’t know about it."

The response from students regarding the byelections was mixed.
"I think who we elect makes a difference in the way the university is run, so I think it’s important," said fourth-year English and Management student Isabel Strumick.

Other students were less enthusiastic.

"I don’t know any candidates, so that’s why I don’t vote," said third-year Social Science and Management student Sing Yue Yap. "Usually I don’t pay too much attention to the politics of the university so I’m not very sure."

Teeuwen believes byelections are hard to promote.

"This is the first one we’ve had in a long, long, long time," she said. "I think there’s only so much we can do like put posters up and telling people."

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