VP External: Julie Labonte

In her platform, Julie Labonte promotes a more affordable, genuinely accessible university education, looking to capitalize on lobbying efforts with the minority federal government and the provincial government. She sincerely wants to use the VP external position to be an effective lobbyist and advocate for undergraduate students.

Intolerant of infighting, Labonte sets herself apart with her willingness to work with others, not only within her portfolio, but across various levels of the SU. This isn’t to say that she’s all hugs and kind words. When education minister Dave Hancock made his way to campus last year, Labonte put him in the hot seat during question period. She’ll have to do a lot more of that if she claims the external portfolio.

Labonte’s ambitious platform includes plans for supporting student advocacy, using volunteer services to mobilize students and integrating fair-trade and organic products in MacEwan Hall, in addition to lobbying external groups for the students’ cause. While these are applaudable goals it will be difficult to pull them all off in a one-year term.

At any rate, Labonte presents herself as confident, ambitious and eager to move forward in a leadership role. If she can bury her nice side and find the daggers to get the job done, there is no doubt she will make a positive impression on stakeholders as VP external.

What do you see as the distinction between the roles of VP external and president?

“President doesn’t just deal with advocacy and lobbying, they also deal with leadership as well as dealing with the other portfolios. I think the primary job for the VP external is as an advocator and lobbyist, especially for tuition and student finance issues.”

What is the SU’s role in CASA and CAUS?

“Developing viable policy recommendations, uniting to provide a voice to government and stakeholders as well as organizational, keeping everyone together so we are all working together.”

What is your current relationship with external stakeholders and how do you plan to build upon it?

“I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with Harvey Weingarten and Roman Cooney and hack out some of my ideas and put it on the table and debate the pros and cons of these. All of my relations are positive.”


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