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Presidential candidates Bloomer, Simon, West, Barski, Ng and Soron speak.

There can be only one

Presidential forum lasted three hours

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[ed: Originally posted 2004-02-10]

The three-hour presidential forum was the most interesting election debate in quite some time. Six candidates fielded questions and responded to comments from an impressively large turnout of students. With current Vice-President Events Richard "Krafty" Bergen moderating, presidential hopefuls promoted themselves and their platforms in front of roughly 150 students, the largest turnout in recent years.

"I'm really scared about something," confessed presidential candidate Michael Soron. "I'm scared someone who isn't equipped to be leading a students' union might end up winning because there is so much momentum behind them. I'm up here with some competent people, but I'm also up here with some incompetent people. I think this scares a lot of us."

And so began nearly three hours of mudslinging, finger-pointing and deprecating comments from the candidates and audience members alike. Though all candidates faced scrutiny from the crowd, Phil Barski, leader of Barski's Cabinet, took most of the heat throughout the forum.

"Apparently people like to ask me questions," he said, after several gallery questions were directed solely at him. "I've been taking a pounding from everybody, and I keep standing here."

Still, the candidates had a chance to express criticisms of their fellow competitors.

"I would like to point out oscillating between the soggy center and the mushy middle is not a policy," declared Action Party member Andrew Simon, following Bryan West's outline of his platform.

The various approaches of each candidate in responding to the questions offered a chance for the audience to get a glimpse of the person behind the platform.

Though the audience attempted to feed the fire with impromptu cheers and jeers, Bergen reminded everyone to keep their responses to "clapping, cheering or silence."

When the smoke cleared, however, all candidates were able to express their goals and objectives if they are elected.

Sonja Bloomer promised to achieve her aspirations of a strong and united SU, with executive solidarity.

"I think it's really important for the Students' Union to be unified, and I think that the president should be working with the vice-presidents to ensure the overall goal of the Students' Union is being moved forward," said bloomer. "If you do not have an effective Students' Union that cooperates with each other, that can set reasonable goals and attain these reasonable goals, and gain respect by that, the students will not have a voice and we cannot make change."

Current Academic Commissioner Chris Ng emphasized the president's need to guide the four VPs.

"There definitely needs to be goal setting with the vice presidents to make sure they're on track and to make sure that their agendas are not personal agendas--[we're] keeping in mind the students always come first," said Ng. "If we can formulate together and bond as an elected officials group in a united way, I think we can succeed."

Simon articulated his ideas for recognizing the great students at U of C.

"I believe we should be using every means possible--NUTV, partnering with the Gauntlet--whatever it takes to celebrate outstanding and inspiring students," said Simon. "If we start to promote our diversity, start to promote our strengths of the individuals within this campus, we'll do great things."

Despite the excessive length of the forum and the air of hostility surrounding the engaged and assertive crowed, candidates remained energized.

"I've surrounded myself with the best and brightest people to help you with your interests," said Barski. "You can learn so much more from your peers than you can from any textbook. We need to bring people together. I am that person that can bring people together. If you can make those contacts- that how you're going to better your lives."

Soron often focused on his growing debt, the result of funding his education.

"I'm running as a leader, I'm running as someone who is passionate, I'm running as someone who is going to work with people," said Soron. "We need to represent the students in an accountable way. Financially and politically being very strong at a collective level, and then as individuals we need to be financially and politically strong."

West, the other internal SU candidate, pointed to his experience.

"I have a realistic, pragmatic platform that is really going to outline a clear vision and a purpose for the Students' Union, and that's something that has really been missing in the last couple of years," said West. "I'm keeping my message clear, I'm keeping it simple. I think that all of my platform is very achievable."

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Comments

too bad the article failed to mention how barksi was talking down to the crowd and had to leave the stage because he has an anger management problem.

So you completely ignored Barski's racial slurs and the negative reaction from the crowd?

Way to prop up such a political-flake of a candidate.

Sure he was politically incorrect in referring to asian-canadians as "orientals", everyone makes mistakes. In regards to having to leave stage, he had to go to the washroom, not everyone can stand up there for 3 hours without having to empty their bladders. Good for you and pointing out he said "province of Calgary"-can't you see an honest slip on words as being just that, a slip. I'm sorry Barski didn't have enough coffee up there, like Michael Soron.

Hey! I can't wait to see how much my one share of Barski SupremeÆ U of C SU Inc.© is worth! I think that it would be fantastic if my ìinvestmentî as a ìshareholderî ended up paying off. I really canít wait until every institution we have is based on the market. Want to know why? Because the market cares. It really does.

Old fogies may want to tell you stories about how the university was once a place that advanced critical thought and creativity, but they are just trying to fill your minds with socialist gobbledygook. We all know that there is no such thing as critical thought; itís like believing in the tooth fairy or Easter bunny. We know that as sure as Margaret Thatcher knows There Is No Alternative!

What we really need is a University that embraces the market by its warm, caring, invisible hand and joins it skipping merrily along the path of ërealityí. We already have a wonderful start thanks to the paternalism of our merciful and beneficent lord Ralph Klein. Indeed, we are well on our way to getting rid of all of the valueless departments here: Social Sciences, Humanities and the Fine Arts! I donít see any items manufactured by sociology corporations at the supermarket or the Gap, so they are obviously useless! Who ever heard of a University with those departments anyway?

Indeed, the University is about getting you a job! After all, you were diligent enough to get here (many of you thanks to the good graces of your parents, others, due to knowing how to ëplay the gameí in high school, and others, thanks to your fantastic ability to acquire enormous debts), so doesnít society now owe you an awesome job? Unfortunately, there are still naysayers, who will argue that even if you get a degree in Engineering (for example), it is still insufficient to know how to engineer. They might even say that you will still require on-job training to know what to do. In that case, what did you learn here? If you listen to the old fogies, they will say that you learned critical analysis skills and creative thinking. Donít listen to them! They are all commies and anarchist fruitcakes!

No, the University should be kind of like SAIT or MRC, except without the substance or the hassle of low-income people! I mean, those institutions are almost affordable! The Universityís real strength shines through though. Like a beacon, it drew you here ñ the glorious degree. Thatís right, you will leave here with a paper that will differentiate you from all of those dogs and peasants! The best part about the Alberta University (next to the snobbery and elitism, of course), is that we can have our institution subsidized by working people who could never afford to have their children go here! Fantastic idea! Get the riff-raff to pay for training the bureaucrats that will one day demand repossession of their houses or represent them in court when they are caught stealing food! Ha ha. Now thatís value!

Ooops, did I say that? How silly of me. We all know that the only value that exists is as determined by the market. Forget all of the work that ma and pa did raising you! It was the hours spent in the missile factory or telling people how to downsize that has real value. Forget mom! Lawyers and insurance agents: now thatís a real example of productive labour.

Viva the market and vote Barski!

I did not vote barski, but knowing the guy by far off he seems like a good guy whose campaign angle was really skewed. He came off as overbearing and too aggressive that turned people off and against him, plus the name of his slate didn't help him either but backfired. so i sort of feel sorry for Barski spending aroung $10,000 and still losing. Its alright Barsk maybe next time you will know how to run a campaign better. its all in the subliminal perception.

its pretty funny the whole forum was about Barski and the gauntlet cut him so small u can hardly see him...shows what good reporters we have workign there...oh well the gauntlet is not gonna be around much longer neways so who cares