Candidates Kevin Maloney, Mark Scholz, Mike Bosch and Robbie Schuett had their chance on the mic at the Students' Union Vice-President External forum at Speaker's Corner Wed., Feb. 4.
Each candidate outlined their views on student issues, including how to deal with tuition increases, student loans and government lobbying. Outgoing VP External Lauren Batiuk asked candidates questions which was followed by an open- floor question period.
Mike Bosch, a member of Barski's Cabinet, was the only candidate to challenge the SU's current membership in the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. The SU pays CASA membership fees of approximately $29,000 per year to lobby the federal government on behalf of students.
Bosch pledged to instead concentrate his lobbying efforts on the prov- incial government.
"This will hopefully give some contributions to our tuition," said Bosch. "We're hoping the extra money can possibly bring us extra student services here as well."
Robbie Schuett, running independently, emphasized tuition issues need to be addressed at both the provincial and federal levels.
"I think it's important for us to attack both fronts," he said. "They both have an impact on our education. They both have an impact on how much money we're going to get. CASA is definitely an important lobby group that I think we should stay involved in."
Action Party candidate Mark Scholz stressed the importance of professionalism when dealing with administration and government officials and advocated the elimination of SU fees.
"We need to reform things in our own backyard before we start to criticize the provincial government and the Board of Governors," insisted Scholz. "SU dues are just as much tuition as anything else. That's $57 which comes out of your pocket."
Independent candidate Kevin Maloney stressed his experience as a member of the SU external commission has given him insight into the role of VP External.
"The primary issue is underfunding," stated Maloney. "Most students are spending their days working part-time jobs instead of studying their books. Govern- ment funding is not what it should be to a viable public institution."
A fifth independent candidate, Jim Bailey, was writing a midterm exam and was unable to attend the forum.
The SU General Election runs Feb. 10-13. Vote online on the InfoNet.