External forum: hopeful VPs debate experience

By Christian Louden

Political mud was slung during the external forum, Tue., Feb. 5 as two vice-president hopefuls debated each others’ platforms and defended themselves.

Current academic commissioner Alastair MacKinnon stressed the importance of experience while Tierney FitzGerald–who has no prior Students’ Union experience–argued SU experience counts for very little, citing conversations he had with SU members before throwing his hat into the VP external ring.

“Experience is definitely beneficial, but certainly not necessary,” asserted FitzGerald. “I definitely feel I’ll be a step behind, but I’ll quickly adapt.”

However, MacKinnon believes his experience in student politics dating back to junior high school makes him more qualified, who draws his qualifications from work experience and research on student issues.

“I’m going on seven or eight years of experience,” he said.

But experience wasn’t the only thing FitzGerald was called on. A controversial part of his platform aims to add a strike plebiscite to all future SU ballots.

“Just so you all know, if anyone’s wondering, I’m against striking,” said MacKinnon. “We all pay way too much money to be here to waste it all on a strike.”

However, FitzGerald felt this was a deliberate attempt to misconstrue the purpose of the plebiscite, as he explained after the forum. The rationale behind the plebiscite was to spark higher voter turnout.

“Even if you’re saying 40 per cent of the student population vote, that completely changes the game, completely changes your relationship with the university,” said FitzGerald.

After the forum, MacKinnon stressed his experience .

“The external commissioners are all acclaimed and they’re all new,” said MacKinnon. “None of them have any experience in the organization. I hope with the experience I’ve had, we can hit the ground running.”

In their closing statements, candidates attempted one last time to drive their message home.

“I realize you’re being asked to take a leap of faith to put a vote behind me and say ‘I know that guy hasn’t been on the SU, but I like what he has to say and I like what his ideas are’,” said FitzGerald.

MacKinnon offered a contrasted response.

“When you vote for me, you’re not taking a leap of faith,” he said. “You have proven results.”

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